News & Reviews News Wire Letter from Brightline CEO says car modifications are easiest solution to clearance issues at station

Letter from Brightline CEO says car modifications are easiest solution to clearance issues at station

By | December 16, 2021

Company, which owns MiamiCentral, also says Tri-Rail car weight is not an issue

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A Brightline train decends a viaduct to reach ground level after departing from MiamiCentral station. Brightline’s engineers say the viaduct can handle the weight of Tri-Rail cars. (Trains: David Lassen)

MIAMI — Tri-Rail and Brightline are each suggesting the other party is at fault after Tri-Rail management told the agency’s board last week that the commuter agency’s trains would not clear the platform at Brightline’s MiamiCentral station [see “Tri-Rail service to Brightline’s Miami station faces clearance issues …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 13, 2021].

The website Florida Politics reports Tri-Rail Executive Director Steve Abrams told the Miami Herald his agency “did have an oversight role” in platform construction at MiamiCentral, “but we’re not pouring the concrete.” But in a letter to Abrams released Wednesday, Brightline President Patrick Goddard said his company believes “the most significant impediments” to Tri-Rail service “are issues related to the rolling stock, not the physical plant of the station.” It notes that both sides have been aware of the problem since April and that changes to the cars would be the easier solution.

“We understand and acknowledge that, as constructed, there are clearance envelope intrusions that we must resolve,” the letter reads. It further says Brightline believes, “and you and your engineering team concurred, that the most logical, expeditious, and non-destructive solution to remedy this conflict would be … slight modifications to the step structure in order to accommodate the variance within the Station.

“Brightline acknowledges our obligation to remedy the imperfection and the Brightline engineering team continues to stand ready to work with [the Tri-Rail agency] to develop and implement a solution to the clearance issue.”

The letter also suggested questions over the weight of Tri-Rail’s cars, and the ability of the viaduct leading to MiamiCentral, misconstrue the situation by analyzing whether the structure is capable of holding heavier freight equipment, and says its engineering team “has confirmed … the structures are acceptable for use with both Brightline’s and [Tri-Rail’s] intended loads.

Tri-Rail’s planned launch of service from the station has been delayed since 2017, first by positive train control issues and now by the clearance issues.

5 thoughts on “Letter from Brightline CEO says car modifications are easiest solution to clearance issues at station

  1. Amtrak could bring the southern terminus of its trains from Hileah [I consider to be the “Emeryville of the east”] to MiamiCentral with Brightline’s good grace. Amtrak passengers would be closer to major hotels and tourist attractions. All of Miami’s commuter and intercity passenger trains would originate and terminate at one station.

    1. Considering Amtrak won’t even move to their new station by the airport, which opened six years ago, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. Also, are all Tri-Rail trains supposed to move to MiamiCentral, or just some trains?

  2. Did Tri-Rail buy their current coaches before the Brightline station was built (and before they ever though or using Brightline’s station)? If so, bite the bullet, and modify the coaches? If not, did a Tri-Rail engineer overlook a specification? And by extension is all this rhetoric just political cover for their mistake? Either way the public and Brightline will both benefit by having both railroads using the same terminal.

  3. I find it interesting that Tri-Rail’s press release was essentially a panic button on incorrect data and Brightline just sits back and says, “we are ready to assist when you are”.

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