Videos & Photos Photos Photo Galleries Florida passenger diesels include rarities

Florida passenger diesels include rarities

By David Lassen | March 1, 2023

Tri-Rail, SunRail, each operate unique locomotives

Email Newsletter

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

Passenger diesels

View from bridge of commuter train at station
Ex-Amtrak F50PH-2C No. 811 brings a southbound Tri-Rail train into the Boynton Beach, Fla., station on Jan. 4, 2023. David Lassen

Florida may not leap to mind as a center of passenger railroading — or a hotbed of railroading oddities, for that matter — but the locomotives of the state’s passenger rail operations do include some rarities. And in the winter, you could do worse than spending time trackside at any of these operations. Here’s a quick look.

Light blue locomotive with images of clouds and palm trees on its side at grade crossing
Brookville’s BL36PH is the primary locomotive for Tri-Rail, the Miami-West Palm Beach commuter service overseen by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, with Herzog Transportation Services as the contract operator. Tri-Rail’s 12 BL36PHs are the only such models built; No. 827 is pulling away from the Pompano Beach station on Jan. 7, 2023. David Lassen
Commuter train crossing low bridge
For fans of the F40PH, Tri-Rail now has five ex-Amtrak F40PH-2C locomotives rebuilt by Progress Rail in Patterson, Ga. The five, numbered 807-811, wear this attractive variant of an earlier paint scheme with dark blue where other locomotives had white paint. No. 811, formerly Amtrak No. 379 is shown southbound in Delray Beach, Fla., on Jan. 8, 2023, in a view from Depot Avenue, a short distance north of the Delray Beach Tri-Rail station. David Lassen
Road-switcher locomotive with commuter train
And here’s that earlier Tri-Rail scheme, as worn by GP49PH-3 No. 812, arriving at Deerfield Beach on Jan. 4. These were former Norfolk Southern (originally Southern Railway) units, rebuilt with head-end power. Tri-Rail acquired six from NS; four are believed to be still in service. David Lassen
Locomotive with two bilevel passenger cars rounding curve
Much of the locomotive fleet for SunRail, the Orlando-area commuter operator, is comprised of former MARC GP40s, but you’d never know it. They were rebuilt by Motive Power Industries in Boise, Idaho, and are designated as an MP32PH-Q. From a nose-on view, you could easily mistake it for a more common MPI unit, such as one of the MP36 variants, but the side walkways hint at the road-switcher heritage of the donor units, and make these diesels unique. SunRail owns the only MP32s. No. 106 leads a northbound shortly after leaving the Lake Mary station on Jan. 9, 2023. David Lassen
Yellow and white streamlined locomotive at station
And finally, no consideration of Florida passenger operations is complete without a mention of Brightline, which introduced the Siemens Charger locomotive — with the streamlined-nose variant known as the SCB40 — as well as the passenger cars now known as the Venture series. Any visit to South Florida should include a ride on Brightline. Here’s a look at SCB40 No. 109 leading a Miami-bound train at the new Boca Raton station. David Lassen

Like these passenger diesels? Check out more photo galleries here.

You must login to submit a comment