The Sun Sentinel: Officials: Causes of 3 train slowdowns fixed

Posted on January 29, 2015

By Michael Turnbell


No more slowdowns expected after problems with drawbridge, rail equipment fixed

Officials expect delays from slow trains will be reduced when the entire FEC line gets a second track

Problems with the New River drawbridge and equipment at the Broward Boulevard railroad crossing led to three separate train slowdowns that snarled traffic downtown in the last week.


Officials say the problems have been fixed and that no more slowdowns are expected.


On Tuesday, the bridge that carries the Florida East Coast Railway tracks over the New River, just south of Broward Boulevard, would not lock properly.


That forced trains to stop on two separate occasions, blocking many downtown intersections including Broward. Some drivers reported being stuck for about an hour.


“Railroad protocol requires the train crew to stop and visually inspect the bridge, ensuring it is down, and then proceed at slow speed across,” said FEC vice president Robert Ledoux.


Replacement parts were installed Tuesday afternoon.


Several days ago, problems with maintenance equipment at the Broward Boulevard crossing also led to delays. That problem also has been repaired, Ledoux said.


Last year, a new train yard opened at Port Everglades, allowing long-distance trains to be uncoupled and loaded at the port instead of the FEC’s Andrews Avenue yard south of State Road 84. Prior to the new yard’s opening, crossings were frequently blocked on the city’s south side, especially at S.R. 84, by slow or stopped trains being assembled at the Andrews yard.


Officials expect delays from slow trains will further be reduced when the entire FEC line gets a second track as part of All Aboard Florida’s planned passenger service in late 2016. The two tracks will increase capacity and enable trains to travel faster as well as allow those traveling in opposite directions to pass each other.


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