Rumors about Amtrak move to the MIC at Miami International Airport

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glensfallsse

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If this move is made, would MIA be their only stop in Miami? I assume if you live there and want to park overnight, you just use the airport parking?
From the standpoint of using Metrorail, this isn't as good a move as it might seem. At night it can take forever to get a train out of the airport station. I sat there waiting for 40 minutes in this past spring. I'd rather hoof it 3 blocks from the Amshack.
 

bonzoesc

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If this move is made, would MIA be their only stop in Miami? I assume if you live there and want to park overnight, you just use the airport parking?
From the standpoint of using Metrorail, this isn't as good a move as it might seem. At night it can take forever to get a train out of the airport station. I sat there waiting for 40 minutes in this past spring. I'd rather hoof it 3 blocks from the Amshack.
Yeah; either on-airport (wad of cash with wings emoji) or one of the cheaper options (and just get them to drop you off at the MIC and save them a trip through the terminal hell).

For the train it's probably a wash. When Metrorail's running a normal service, both the green and orange lines seem to alternate, which means that the three blocks from the Amshack to the Metrorail station may get you a 40 minute wait anyways. When they're doing the shuttle between the airport and Earlington Heights, it might not be a huge difference?
 

AFriendly

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Presumably. South end of the MIC is at NW 21st Street, south end of the Hialeah yard (where it looks like there's a crossover to the Tri-Rail tracks) is just south of NW 92nd Terrace, those streets are on the 10/mi Miami grid, so about 7 miles.

It's substantially longer than backing from the wye they use into Tampa. I assume they can't do what I do when I play Derail Valley and just take the remote on top of the back of the train and hang out, and they probably also aren't set up for an engine on each end like Brightline.

When I took the Silver Star out of the existing Amshack back in May they only pulled the train to the station right at boarding time (an hour late, heh).
With all due respect, speaking as a native Miamian who railfanned and traveled into and out of this station for decades, the station at 8303 NW 37th Avenue is no Amshack. It may not be a historic depot and it is built in Amtrak's 1970s brutalist poured-concrete corporate style which isn't everyone's taste, but it is a relatively modern air-conditioned facility with a proper waiting area. Amshack refers to stations that are basically sheds or shipping containers on concrete platforms usually adjacent to the local railroad yard- that is not what Miami got. Ironically, the old Seaboard Station, which Amtrak called at briefly before the real estate was liquidated, would have been slightly closer to downtown but not really much more convenient to anything going on in Miami in modern times. The neighborhood of the Amtrak station which is basically right between Northside and Hialeah got a bad rap but the area where Seaboard Station used to be is no picnic either. In fact, when I was growing up in the '80s and '90s that was a nasty part of town where nobody would be caught dead after sunset. Those parts of Miami have and will continue to gentrify as the parts of town close to the coast become increasingly vulnerable to flooding, but it wasn't always that way. The land where the Hialeah station is also due for a significant increase in value.
 

railiner

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The current Maimi Amtrak Station is an AmStation in my opinion.
I am not very familiar with that station. The few times I have used it, was just long enough to pass thru it from the train, and on to the bus over to Miami Beach.
One thing about it is, at least Amtrak owns it (maybe?), and has complete control over what services or amenities it provides, as opposed to being a "tenant" in the intermodal station. And its close proximity to the maintenance base means mechanical forces are nearby, for any last minute repairs as necessary.

On balance though, I think the move is the right choice.
 

MARC Rider

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The topic of "Amshcks" was discussed on this site about 13 years ago:


My understanding of the term is that a bus-stop shelter station isn't really an "Amshack," it's just a bus-stop shelter station. An Amshack may be a fully functioning station with indoor seating, heating and A/C, lighting, a ticket agent, baggage service, etc., but it is architecturally undistinguished, usually built in the 1970s or 1980s. It may also be too small for the number of passengers, and it definitely doesn't have any ancillary services available, such as a newsstand, snack bar/restaurant, car rental and so forth.

Some examples I've been in are Greenville SC and BWI, MD, although I might call the BWI station design an "Ambunker," and it does have a snack bar, electronic train information board, and overhead passageways with elevations to access the tracks. (A lot of Amshacks only allow boarding at one of multiple tracks.)

I've only been in the Miami station once, and while I would think it's a little bigger than an Amshack, and that it's possible that the designers had put a little more effort into the architecture, it's still pretty much like a Amshack. It's seemed pretty much just a waiting room with some restrooms, a ticket office and baggage office, and I'm not really a fan of most 1970's architecture, anyway.
 

zephyr17

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I kind of use Amshack for the 1970s era standard stations, and Miami is one of those, though one of only two of the biggest standard stations, a "type 300a", the other being the now abandoned Midway Station of Minneapolis/St. Paul. A more common one was "type 75c" like the recently abandoned Tacoma Station on Puyallup Ave, or Anaheim's now demolished one that was in the Angel Stadium parking lot. Buffalo/Depew is a 75c still in service.

To me Miami's just a really big Amshack, same as Midway.

Those "Amtrak standard stations" (aka "Amshacks" in my use of the term) do appear a bit endangered. A lot of them are now gone. Perhaps they'll accrue a bit more love now that they appear to be going, but I harbor no affection for them.
 
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My memory of an Amshack was the original station at Worcester MA where I caught the Inland Route train to Philadelphia in 2001. A squat rectangular building with a ticket counter, a couple dozen plastic chairs, and restrooms. Shortly thereafter they moved to the renovated historic Union Station which is much nicer although admittedly facilities are still somewhat lacking there.

Going back on topic 🙂 what sort of facilities will there be at MIC? Is it close enough to the airport terminals that one can take advantage of restaurants etc. there?
 

jis

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My memory of an Amshack was the original station at Worcester MA where I caught the Inland Route train to Philadelphia in 2001. A squat rectangular building with a ticket counter, a couple dozen plastic chairs, and restrooms. Shortly thereafter they moved to the renovated historic Union Station which is much nicer although admittedly facilities are still somewhat lacking there.

Going back on topic 🙂 what sort of facilities will there be at MIC? Is it close enough to the airport terminals that one can take advantage of restaurants etc. there?
Facilities for Amtrak at MIC will be pretty minimalist since the headhouse is of inadequate size. The airport terminals are accessed via the airport people mover, and one can then access whatever is land side in the terminal.
 
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So Amtrak is going to a 6 or 8 mile backup move everyday, and four times a day from MIC to the yard? Ok then.
It's 3.6 mi. from MIC to the yard turnout. The train will be empty. It would be a deadhead move; they could take as long as they need. Someone suggested they might attach a switcher to the back of the train to pull it down to MIC or back to the yard.
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zephyr17

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It's 3.6 mi. from MIC to the yard turnout. The train will be empty. It would be a deadhead move; they could take as long as they need. Someone suggested they might attach a switcher to the back of the train to pull it down to MIC or back to the yard.
View attachment 29810
3.6 miles is roughly equivalent to the distance between LA Union Station and 8th St Yard, which has been a routine move for Santa Fe from 1939 to 1971 and for Amtrak since 1971.
 

frequentflyer

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3.6 instead of 6 miles, thanks for the correction. At least the pax will have easy access to rental cars at the end of their trip.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Easy access to rental cars is very important to me and can make or break an entire trip. If I were in charge of Amtrak I would try to bring car rental agencies back to train station counters by offering to share labor costs and staffing overhead. Such a proposal may not be very appealing right now but maybe in another year or two things will start getting back to normal again (if we can avoid WW3).
 
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railiner

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3.6 miles is roughly equivalent to the distance between LA Union Station and 8th St Yard, which has been a routine move for Santa Fe from 1939 to 1971 and for Amtrak since 1971.
How do the number of grade crossings compare?
 
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Easy access to rental cars is very important to me and can make or break an entire trip. If I were in charge of Amtrak I would try to bring car rental agencies back to train station counters by offering to share labor costs and staffing overhead. Such a proposal may not be very appealing right now but maybe in another year or two things will start getting back to normal again (if we can avoid WW3).
Not just rental cars but lots of hotels around the airport too. Many offer free shuttles to the cruiseports the next morning. Very convenient for cruise passengers.
 

jis

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How do the number of grade crossings compare?
About 5 or 6 grade crossing. Compare that to over ten in the backup move in Tampa even though the distance is shorter. The Tampa backup even includes crossing the TECO Trolley line which is protected by interlocked signals.
 
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