Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Miami Day 6...

It's hard to believe that it will be one month tomorrow since I got back from Miami and I am just getting around to posting about Day6 of my Miami journey but then again we have had a lot to talk about.

This day in Miami will be short. Basically taking MetroMover, MetroRail, and Tri-Rail from my hotel to the Fort Lauderdale Airport to catch my flight to Atlanta and transfer to my Salt Lake flight.

I started out by taking my last ride on the MetroMover. The train was very crowded with construction workers heading to their various construction sites plus their were many others on the crowded car.

Once I got off at the Government Station I went up to the third level which serves no purpose at this time or probably forever. From the TransitMiami blog I learned there is a ghost platform that was supposed to be used by the east-west line that never was built. It is on this third level and as you can see has sat unused for 20+ years.

Right in front of this platform was this sign talking about the expansion plans for MetroRail. If you look closely you can see ride and green lines which are extensions now in the planning stages. What is ironic is the placement of this sign in front of this unused platform. The expansion plans no longer include the Government Center so this platform will still be unused. In addition the sign is in an area that gets virtually no foot traffic so it's placement is kind of a waste.

Next I took MetroRail to the Tri-Rail Station. This station is in Hialeah which is not the best of neighborhoods but the station seems to be OK. I went to purchase my tri-rail ticket but the ticket machine was out but there was a person in the Tri-Rail office selling tickets. Not only did I have to come down the stairs you see but then I had to go up an elevator, cross over the tracks, then back down to get to the northbound platform.

Several trains were canceled due to mechanical failure but our train was running only 20-minutes late. Even though they had mechanical problems that canceled trains, they did not add any cars to the trains so they were still only 2 or 3 cars long and running standing room only.
When our train started approaching a Florida East Coast freight train blocked it's path for another 5 minutes. You can see the freight train in the background and our commuter train is on the other side.
But finally the train pulls in and as you can see I was not the only one taking the train to the airport (Tri-Rail serves all three of the major airports in the area).
I got off the commuter train and transferred to the free Tri-Rail shuttle to the airport. It was a tiny cutaway van bus which was not large enough to handle the people transferring plus their luggage. They should be using a larger bus for this service, however the bus did get me to the airport with plenty of time to have breakfast before boarding my flight.

My flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta was on a 767-400ER. Now I can understand the 767 part since this flight gets a lot of cruise ship passengers (as a matter of fact everyone on the plane seemed to have come off a cruise ship) but why an Extended Range model on a captive plane going back and forth on a short route?
My flight was on time into Atlanta were I had a 3 hour layover before heading to Salt Lake. One thing I do like about the Atlanta airport is the variety of restaurants. I was able to get Chinese food and eat it while taking pictures of the many planes taxing by.

My plane would end up being one of the planes still painted in the colors of the ill-fated Song Airlines which was Delta's short lived attempt at a low fair subsidiary like United's Ted. Here I encountered the most unusually delay in all my millions of miles flying. A water drain plugged up and flooded some of the carpeting in the front of the plane. So the pilot had the mechanics come on board and replace the carpet in that side of the plane.

We ended up leaving Atlanta 45-minutes late but made up almost 30-minutes of it by the time we landed in Salt Lake City.

So how did Miami-Dade County Transit and Tri-Rail compare to UTA? Keep your eyes out as I will be posting that soon and also will be going to detail about some aspects of the MetroMover system especially when compared to streetcars.

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