The train is late out of the station. That’s because the station and the train have a size problem.
Plans to open the new Amtrak station near Miami International Airport are behind schedule, Florida transportation officials say. Source of the problem: an engineering error in the construction of the train platform , according to the state Department of Transportation.
The station won’t be ready to open until the end of the year at the Miami Intermodal Center, said Ivette Ruiz-Paz, an FDOT spokeswoman in Miami.
“FDOT is in the process of finalizing an operations and maintenance agreement with Amtrak to provide their passenger service at the MIC Central Station,” Ruiz-Paz said in an email. “The department anticipates to open Amtrak service by the winter of 2017.”
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Until then, Ruiz-Paz said, Amtrak will continue to provide service at its Hialeah station.
Some people who use popular Amtrak trains such as the Silver Star and Silver Meteor have complained.
“No one can give me a new date,” Jon Ullman said in an email.
Though FDOT had not previously given a date for the opening, officials hinted it would happen soon after transportation officials acknowledged in 2013 that a mistake had been made in the construction of the platform.
The platform that passengers would use to board or descend from the train was built too short, by about 200 feet, an error that would force some trains to jut into busy Northwest 25th Street.
The error happened because of confusion between FDOT and Amtrak. Some Amtrak trains fit well on the platform, but others are longer than engineers expected.
The fix did not include the option of rebuilding or lengthening the platform, but rather allowing long trains to block 25th Street momentarily while passengers board or exit. To make that happen, FDOT had to reconfigure some nearby streets to accommodate traffic detours.
“A crossing has been developed and constructed from NW 28th St. connecting to NW 37th Ave.,” Ruiz-Paz said in an email. “Other roadway elements have also been added to improve connectivity to the infrastructure.”
The Amtrak station is one of four that involve trains at the Miami Intermodal Center, or MIC.
The others are Metrorail, Tri-Rail and the elevated train that connects the MIC to MIA terminals.
The MIC also includes platforms for buses, and a car rental center.