No. 10646 Electro-Motive F-40 PH Diesel Locomotive, heading up a South Florida Tri-Rail Commuter Train
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (An Agency of the State of Florida)
Tri-Rail was authorized in 1989 by the Florida Legislature. Service was started by the Florida Department of Transportation at a cost of $75 million, as an alternative to Interstate I-95 Expressway during a five-year construction phase in the three highest-populated counties in the state. Tri-Rail is operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, an agency of the State of Florida, based in Pompano Beach.
Tri-Rail carries more than 10,000 riders daily over its 72-mile, 18-station route. The former Seaboard Air Line Railroad right-of-way through Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties nearly parallels Interstate I-95 and is shared with Amtrak passenger trains and CSX freight trains. It is the southern end of the original Seaboard route, which was laid with single track. Double-tracking of the entire route and rehabilitation of the signal system have been accomplished (2006) so that Tri-Rail service can be increased to 40 from 30 trains a day, with no more than one hour between weekday trains. Trip time between the route's end points is one hour and fifty minutes, with an on-time performance average of just over 90%. The double-tracking operation has taken four years to finish and has cost $334 million.
Tri-Rail's federally-defined "Service Area" serves approximately 5,300,000 residents, including roughly 2 1/2 million in Dade, 1 3/4 million in Broward, and 1 million in Palm Beach counties.
Each trainset normally consists of three bi-level passenger cars and a diesel-electric locomotive. The trains operate in "Pull South/Push North" mode with the locomotive at the south end of the consist facing Miami. The bi-level car at the north end of the train is a cab car, having controls for the engineer when the train is "pushed" northbound.
Tri-Rail's maintenance base uses four tracks in the former Seaboard Airline Railroad locomotive shop. The facility is located immediately north of the Miami Amtrak station and approximately 12 blocks north of the Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station.
The commuter trains are headed up by streamlined "cowl design" 16-cylinder F-40 PH diesel-electric locomotives by General Motors Electro-Motive Division, developing 3000 horsepower. This handsome engine was manufactured for American passenger and freight service 1976-1985 and is in use today (2006), mostly for commuter passenger service. The 8- wheeled locomotive has two 4-wheel power trucks.
The Bombardier-built bi-level passenger cars are designed to carry 70% more commuters than a standard single-level car. In service since 1977, there are more than 650 of these distinctive cars in operation throughout North America on such commuter lines as CalTrain (San Francisco), Sound Transit (Seattle), and Virginia Railway Express (Northern Virginia to Washington).
As of 1997, South Florida's Tri-Rail operated twelve F-40 PH diesel-electric locomotives and twenty-six bi-level coaches. Each bi-level car features full headroom on each level, air conditioning, drinking fountain, restroom, and two sets of double-wide doors.
No. 10646 represents an accurate scale model of the Tri-Rail's Electro-Motive F-40 PH diesel-electric locomotive, heading up a 4-car commuter train (see No. 10647), as seen in the 1990s to today (2006) in operation through Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties in South Florida. The model train is in "0"gauge by MTH.