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Downtown Miami On Track For Expanded Commuter Rail Service By 2014

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A half-century after the last passenger trains pulled into Downtown Miami, plans to return rail transport to South Florida's urban corridors are moving at breakneck pace.

At least 24,000 riders would use a proposed new commuter rail line between Jupiter and Downtown Miami, reports Miami Today.

The line lies along Florida East Coast Railway's US 1 corridor tracks, which the company plans to use for its upcoming Miami-to-Orlando All Aboard Florida rail service.

Longtime South Florida commuter service Tri-Rail, which currently makes its southernmost stop near Hialeah, is hoping to utilize FEC's Downtown track for a new eastern "Blue Line," pending municipal cooperation toward station development.

Both companies have expressed mutual willingness to share the FEC tracks. All Aboard Florida would service significantly fewer stations along the corridor than Tri-Rail, which plans to add 12 new stops between Fort Lauderdale and Miami for Blue Line service:

sfrta trirail blue line

"Transit along the FEC route has the potential of servicing shorter trips as well, within walking distance of future transit stations, municipal downtowns along the corridor and major activity centers such as hospitals and universities," according to the SFECC project website.

Tri-Rail's proposed Blue Line would utilize existing rolling stock to operate between West Palm Beach's Mangonia Park station and downtown Miami's Stephen P. Clark Government Center as soon as 2015, officials say.

Meanwhile, FEC is moving steadily toward their All Aboard Florida service, slated to provide three-hour train travel between Orlando and downtown Miami by 2014.

An estimated 200 miles of track is already prepped for All Aboard service, with FEC hiring respected Chicago-based architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to construct stations including a new hub in Downtown Miami.

"SOM is renowned for its inspiring, award‐winning design, strong track record of fostering public consensus, and ability to translate infrastructure investment into regional benefits," remarked FEC president Vincent Signorello at the announcement.

Preliminary plans include a cross-platform terminus adjoining Miami's Government Center on FEC-owned parking lots east of Metrorail trackage on Northwest First Avenue.

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