After riding Tri-Rail and taking pictures of the trains from the Metrorail Transfer station high up in the air, the two of us waited for our train to take us west to Palmetto. We bought two Easy cards, the tap on-tap off cards that Metrorail uses and loaded them with the correct fare.Miami Metro Rail History
Metrorail is the heavy rail rapid transit system of Miami and Miami-Dade County. Metrorail is operated by Miami-Dade Transit. Opened in 1984, it is Florida's only rapid transit metro system, and is currently composed of two lines of 23 stations on 24.4 miles of standard gauge track. Metrorail serves the urban core of Miami, connecting the urban centers of Miami International Airport, the Civic Center, Downtown Miami, and Brickell with the northern developed neighborhoods of Hialeah and Medley to the northwest, and to suburban The Roads, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and South Miami, ending at urban Dadeland in Kendall. Metrorail connects to the Metromover in Downtown, which provides metro service to the entirety of Downtown and Brickell. Additionally, it connects to South Florida's commuter rail system at Tri-Rail station, as well as Metrobus routes at all stations. Together with Metromover, the system saw steady ridership growth per annum, with an average of 105,500 daily passengers in 2013.
In 2012, Metrorail opened its 23rd station, Miami International Airport station, at Miami International Airport, opening a newly created 16-station Orange Line between the MIA and Dadeland South stations. The new line is expected to increase ridership significantly, adding millions of riders per year and allowing residents and visitors alike direct access from the MIA to Downtown Miami, as well as greater connectivity between various modes of transit throughout Miami-Dade County. The station provides direct service to Tri-Rail commuter rail, Greyhound Lines intercity bus, and the Rental Car Center.Rolling stock
Metrorail currently uses 136 heavy-rail cars built by the Hitachi Rail Italy, the first of which started running in December 2017. They were constructed in a custom rail-car building facility in Medley, Florida. The cars are semi-permanently attached in married pairs, and joined up to form 4-car trains, which is the normal train length. Included amenities are free Wi-Fi, interior bicycle racks, improved announcement systems, digital signs and high-efficiency air conditioning units.Replacement
The Miami-Dade County Government was working with the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust to receive money from the half-penny sur-tax approved by voters in 2002 in order to purchase new Metrorail cars. MDT later planned to refurbish the existing Metrorail cars with the money instead of replacing them as promised. However, it was found that the fleet had never been maintained properly, and in 2008, a cost-benefit analysis found that, based on the current fleet's condition, a refurbishment would cost just as much as it would to buy new cars, if not more so. There were discussions with Washington, D.C.'s Metro system about combining car orders with their 6000-series cars to achieve lower costs through economies of scale, but the talks failed to work anything out.
The following year, Miami-Dade issued an RFP for new cars to replace their existing fleet, at a cost no greater than $2.419 million per car. Proposals from three railcar manufacturers were reviewed, with only two of which meeting the price requirements, these being from Italy-based AnsaldoBreda and Elmira Heights, New York-based CAF USA, an American branch of the Spain-based Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles. CAF's bid was slightly higher than that of AnsaldoBreda, and thus Miami-Dade was prepared to award the contract to the former. However, the contract was stalled when CAF filed a lawsuit against the transit authority, claiming that their selection of AnsladoBreda was due to the fact that the builder was willing to open a local factory in Miami-Dade County to assemble the vehicles. This violation could render the deal ineligible for federal funding.
After re-evaluating the bids from the builders, without taking local geographic preference into account, Miami-Dade reaffirmed its selection of AnsaldoBreda, and in November 2012, approved a $313 million purchase of 136 new Metrorail cars from the company.Miami-Dade issued the notice to proceed the following month, with the cars expected to be delivered over the course of several years until 2017. By the time the custom rail-car building facility in Medley was completed in early 2016, AnsaldoBreda had been purchased by Hitachi Rail and the full rollout was pushed back to 2019, beginning gradually from 2017. The first trainset entered service in early December 2017. The delivery of the cars fell behind schedule once again due to flooding at the Hitachi Rail factory in West Plains, Missouri, and in February 2018 it was announced that the final replacement cars would not arrive before 2020. The shortage of replacement cars resulted in some Metrorail runs being operated as two-car trains.Our Trips
While we waited we looked around the station.
A map of the Miami Metrorail System.
The line to the Miami International Airport.
An eastbound train came into the Miami Metrorail Transfer station.
Here came the westbound Miami Metrorail that will take us to Palmetto station. We boarded the first car and off we went, stopping at Hialeah and Okeechobee before the final stop of Palmetto.
The Miami Canal.
Florida East Coast Yard in Hialeah.
The Miami Metrorail Yard in Hialeah. We detrained at Palmetto and tried to find a tap-on/tap-off machine on the platform but could not, so we asked a security guard who told us not to worry about it and enjoy your ride.
Our train for Dadeland South.
These trains are equipped with Internet through free wi-fi. We boarded the front car of the train and off we went east. This train took us back to Metrorail Transfer then stopped at Northside, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Brownsville, Earlington Heights connection with the airport line, Allapattah, Santa Clara, Civic Center, Culmer, Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater, Government Center, Brickell, Vizcaya, Coconut Grove, Douglas Road, University, South Miami and Dadeland North to our final stop at Dadeland South.
Passing the Florida East Coast Yard in Hialeah.
The inside of one of the cars.
The skyline of downtown Miami loomed ahead.
The Dadeland water tower as we neared Miami.
FTX Arena, home of the NBA team Miami Heat.
Metromover in downtown Miami.
Miami Canal again in Downtown Miami. We rode to Dadeland South and detrained. After the train was given a COVID-19 cleaning, we reboarded the first car and took it back to Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater for our trip on Brightline, but alas that is in the next story.
After a excellent ride on Brightline, we returned to Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater station to wait for an Airport train.
First a train for Palmetto arrived.
A few minutes later, a train for Miami International Airport came into view and we boarded the first car of the train.
After stopping at the Earlington Heights station, we took the flyover to start our trip to the airport.
The skyline of downtown Miami.
Another view of the Miami Canal.
Closing in on the Miami International Airport station where we detrained.
Our airport train at rest. We went downstairs to ride Tri-Rail.
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