Here in South Florida there is a commuter train that runs between Miami and West Palm Beach. I live in Deerfield Beach about 1/2 way with a Tri-Rail station next to the entrance to I95 that i would normally take to go north or south.

Today I need to go to a customer in downtown West Palm ~30 miles but always a pain in the ass due to traffic and construction on I95. I don't make this trip very often but today I'm trying Tri-Rail (http://www.tri-rail.com/)

I planned to take the 11:57 am train so picked up a ham and swiss sub at Jersey Show Subs (my favorite sub place) and headed to the station.

I arrived at the station early enough to finish my sandwitch, "validate" my ticket and wander around a bit. There is also an AmTrack (http://www.amtrak.com/ ) station  I poked my head into and realize i could travel to Gainseville to visit my daughter at UF or even to Boston which takes 1 1/2 days...

There is also train museum (http://www.sfrm.org/ ) there but it has limited hours, another thing on my list of todos!

I keep hearing horror stories about the tri-rail service. Sometime in the past couple of years they built a second track which is shared (and currently dispatched out of Jacsonville by CSX) with CSX. My train was late but only by 7 or 8 minutes, no big deal and we were rolling north before 12:07 pm.

I went to the upper deck where there are pairs of facing seats with a small table between them. I've setup my laptop and getting verizon broadband service no problem...

One of the reasons I'm particularly interested in Tri-Rail at this point is a "TOD" (Transportation Oriented Development) proposed next to the Tri-Rail station. Deerfield Station (http://www.deerfieldstation.com/home.html ) looks like a very good replacement for what is already there but it is very dense and will add a lot of cars to the area. On the positive side they will re-engineer the  entire area to distribute traffic flow and provide for turn lanes where there are none now. I did speak in favor of the project at a recent planning and zoning committee meeting (it was approved) but the developer still has quite a way to go, they are already a few years into it.

 Although we left a few minutes late, we pulled into the West Palm Beach station 4 minutes early. I could use the Tri-Rail ticket to get a "Palm Tran" bus to where I'm going downtown but it is a nice day and I'm walking the six blocks. There were dozens of cab's waiting, hustling fares as I got off the train.

On the way I stopped at my new favorite place in West Palm, the Paris Creperie & Cafe at 212 S Olive. Nice little cafe, good coffee and you get your eggs wrapped in a freshly made crepe for breakfast (not today)....

And I never took the return trip as my customer who lives in Boca insisted on giving me a ride back to my car in Deerfield so we could talk.

In any case it was a great experience and I'll try it again.