News & Reviews News Wire Miami exploring effort to expand commuter rail service

Miami exploring effort to expand commuter rail service

By | April 24, 2023

Revival of long-dormant proposal would use CSX tracks for service to west and south

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Map of rail lines in Miami area
A map from a 2004 report on rail corridors in the Miami area shows CSX lines (in dark blue) to Doral, center, and Homestead, bottom left. Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization

MIAMI — Miami-Dade County officials are attempting to revive a long-dormant proposal for commuter rail service west and south of downtown using existing CSX Transportation tracks, the Miami Herald reports.

The western line would run from Miami International Airport — the current terminus of Tri-Rail service north to West Palm Beach — to the Doral area, paralleling State Route 826, a toll road also known as the Dolphin Expressway. Another line would use CSX tracks roughly parallel to U.S. Route 1 from the airport to Homestead, Fla., about 25 miles to the southwest.

No agreements or price estimates exist for either plan, the Herald reports. CSX executives are slated to hold their first meeting with county officials next month.

The Doral-area service would replace a proposed Bus Rapid Transit line that was identified as the preferred transit alternative in 2020, but is now all but dead because of logistical challenges in getting passengers from ground-level parking to the elevated expressway.

Previous explorations of commuter rail use of the lines have been shot down because of the price CSX sought for the tracks. But the railroad is now willing to consider the same sort of use fee that Brightline is seeking for commuter service on its route between downtown Miami and Aventura [see “Digest: Miami-Dade seeks federal funding …,” Trains News Wire, April 7, 2021], according to Miami-Dade Commissioner Kionne McGhee.

Brightline also has a connection to the new proposal. Jose Gonzales, senior vice president, corporate development, of parent company Florida East Coast Industries, is working with CSX to try to negotiate a deal with Miami-Dade. He told a meeting of the county’s Transportation Planning Organization that an agreement could bring more profit from increased use of its tracks, while Brightline would be involved in developing real estate around the new commuter rail stations.

2 thoughts on “Miami exploring effort to expand commuter rail service

  1. Lets face it, Miami metro is already at or near its growth limits going north so that leaves the only “development ready” land to do something like this in the south.

    A previous poster in another article had hoped Brightline would make it to Homestead, maybe that isn’t so far fetched now.

    That CSX line south of Miami is mostly a dumping ground or drops off oversized materials at or near the end of the line. Would be interesting to see if Brightline can get some development going down there. It is pretty depressed in some of the areas around there.

  2. Holy crack! Jose Gonzalez 2007 from Team Fortress 2 is now the Brightline senior VP! Man, I feel old.

You must login to submit a comment