The train station has two platforms, one exclusively for Tri-Rail and another to be shared by Amtrak and the commuter line. Both were originally designed to be 1,030 feet long, enough to accommodate Amtraks trains based on information provided by that agency, as well as the much shorter Tri-Rail trains, FDOT and its design and project-management consultants at AECOM said in an interview and in emails released by the state. There is also space at the station for a third platform if needed in the future.
FDOT and AECOM officials say Amtrak vetted and approved the station plans.
The first inkling FDOT officials got of a possible issue, they say, came during the 2011 groundbreaking, when an Amtrak official remarked casually that 25th Street seemed too close to where the platforms would end. Filer said he subsequently emailed the official to elaborate on his concern, but got no answer over several months. He later learned the official had left Amtrak.
Even then, Filer insisted, FDOT had no idea that some of Amtraks Silver Meteor trains would be too long for the platform as originally designed. Amtrak says train lengths can vary by season and equipment configuration, although the Miami station would see the longer trains only infrequently.
Only after he again emailed Amtrak in February 2012, Filer said, did he receive a response from the Amtrak officials replacement, Jay McArthur. In the response, McArthur notes that the station platform could not accommodate some of its longer trains without possibly encroaching onto 25th Street and suggests in strong terms that FDOT reconsider its decision to leave 25th Street open and in the existing alignment.
The emails indicate AECOM consultants checked their records in March, and confirmed that Amtrak had approved the platform length. AECOM also recontacted the Amtrak officials who approved it, who confirmed having done so.
Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said she could not immediately respond in detail to FDOTs assertions. But, she added, we are confident that we have consistently informed officials connected with this project of our concerns.