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Brightline (FEC) Update


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#2041 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:36 PM

Nice update--thanks, jis.

 

I realize it is smart to get tickets online ahead of time. But if someone wanted to go for a ride on impulse, can you buy a ticket at the station from an agent that day? Or is it all online?



#2042 jis

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 02:00 PM

Nice update--thanks, jis.

 

I realize it is smart to get tickets online ahead of time. But if someone wanted to go for a ride on impulse, can you buy a ticket at the station from an agent that day? Or is it all online?

Yes. All stations are staffed and also have ticket kiosks, so you can get them either from a person or from a machine. It is kind of different selecting your seat as you buy the ticket. You even know before hand how much of a real window your seat will have.

 

If you happen to have a Smartphone, you can also buy and display your e-ticket on the phone.


Edited by jis, 21 May 2018 - 02:00 PM.


#2043 Anderson

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 12:58 AM

I made many comments about their service back in January.  Those remarks more-or-less all hold true.  The Miami station is quite a sight inside (I didn't get outside as the weather went bad while I was there); the Select lounge is about twice the size of the relevant lounges in FLL and WPB, but it also seems to be about the right size for handling the future Orlando traffic.  I wish I had been able to spare some more time at Miami, both to poke around the station and for a chance to step outside the station.

There was obvious slow-running in a few cases:
-There were some inexplicable holds on approach to Miami.  My best guess is that they held so as to time the arrival for everyone in the station to be in position.
-There was also a lot of slower running FLL-WPB than in the opposite direction.  Basically, we were doing about 60 on the way north where we had been doing 79 on the way south.  The fact that there's an extra 5 minutes on the timecard NB than SB suggests that /something/ is up here.  What it is, I don't know.

We also ran 39 MPH for the first few miles out of Miami heading back; I think the tracks there aren't done.

The food options on the train are rather limited, but the Good to Go operation in the station provides some solid choices.  I had a beef empanada at Miami and found it quite satisfying.  The coffee was solid as well.

I do think they whiffed it with the F&B coupons.  While you could use those more flexibly than the straight "complementary on board" options, both OBS personnel and passengers alike were confused (there was particularly intense confusion as to whether it was "one item per one-way ticket" or "one item per round trip").

I still find the claim that they sold out the late-night Saturday trains (particularly the FLL-WPB leg that boards just before midnight) to be nigh-on incredible, and the claims involving the first train into Miami (let alone its FLL leg) being 100% sold out do not line up with what my friend saw in Smart.


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#2044 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 08:13 AM

Is there anything to do near the West Palm Beach station? I am thinking that, if I visit my friend in Fort Lauderdale next winter, I will probably have a day to myself and could do a round trip. I would be a bit afraid to go to Miami by myself so would go to West Palm Beach. I would be happy to just go up and come back, but if there was something near there to go look at, that would be nice. Also not sure how safe West Palm Beach is?


Edited by Mystic River Dragon, 22 May 2018 - 08:14 AM.


#2045 chrsjrcj

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 08:40 AM

I think West Palm Beach is very safe. The neighborhood north of Clematis Street (the north end of the station) is low income and has all the issues associated with a low income neighborhood, but I always feel safe on Clematis Street which has restaurants and bars. CityPlace is just to the south which has some high end shopping and more restaurants. If youre coming at night, Clematis Street is typically pretty active until 1 or 2 am during the weekend, so that shouldnt be an issue either.

Both areas are within easy walking distance to the train station. There is also a free trolley route that runs along Clematis Street to CityPlace.

#2046 jis

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 08:57 AM

You can also take a short three block walk to the lagoon, and a slightly longer walk to the South Cove Natural Area, if you like that sort of thing. From the station take Evernia make a left on Rosemary and then a left on Fern and follow it to the end.

 

As mentioned by chrsjrcj most of the food places are either on Clementis to the north or Rosemary south of Fern.

 

All quite safe in my experience.



#2047 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:12 AM

When I transfereed from Brightline to the former Seaboard / Amtrak station in west Palm I felt like I was in a safe area the whole time. I stopped in at the Jamba Juice on my way.

The Brightline stations themselves are really nice and have very comfortable waiting rooms with outlets, wi-fi, coffee shop etc all within the security gates. So if you wanted to just ride to Miami and stay in the station, it's a nice place to hang out for a bit.
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#2048 jis

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:16 AM

And you can even get reasonable food and drinks from the self serve cafe in the station.



#2049 Bob Dylan

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:52 AM

Good advice from those in the know Patty! Go for it!😉

BTW- Miami and South Beach are highly Overated,Expensive and Overhyped IMO.Youre not missing much!

Edited by Bob Dylan, 22 May 2018 - 09:54 AM.

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#2050 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 10:17 AM

Thank you all for the excellent suggestions :). I have a feeling I will probably plan a nice energetic walk to the lagoon, persuade myself it is too hot, and go to City Place instead :P. (I see there is a Panera and a Cheesecake Factory there, so I will feel right at home :)).

 

Jim--

 

My friend who lives in Fort Lauderdale loves Miami, so I have been there with him, but I agree with you--I did not care for it and only went there because my friend likes it. However, I might take the suggestion of crescent-zephyr, and just go down there for the ride, stay in the lounge for a while, and come back.

 

The only reason to go to Miami otherwise would be to see the ships in the port, but the hotel I stay at in Fort Lauderdale is within walking distance of the port there, so I can easily see ships there.



#2051 jis

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 10:23 AM

If you are into riding as much trains as possible then do a circle trip. Go to Miami from Fort Lauderdale by Brightline. At Miami take the Metro from the adjacent Metro Station to the Airport Metro Station. Then take Tri Rail from there to West Palm Beach. Walk over to the Brightline Station and take it back to Fort Lauderdale. :)


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#2052 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 11:08 AM

That sounds like a lovely circle trip, jis. I think I'd like to do something like that with my train-riding friends, though, instead of by myself. I mean, if I turn to some random commuter on Tri Rail and say "Isn't this fun?" they will look at me funny. :P  (Perhaps a nice Gathering idea if Miami is somewhere in the future? :))


Edited by Mystic River Dragon, 22 May 2018 - 11:10 AM.


#2053 chrsjrcj

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 03:06 PM

Did another RT today (I have two RT vouchers that expire June 1st), and I'd say there were about 80 people heading south and maybe a little less going north. Going south our travel time was 75 minutes and north was 70 minutes. As far as I could tell, there were no additional delays (other than going north, when we slowed to 40 mph to switch tracks). 

 

It is my understanding that the track speed from Little River (79th Street) south on the FEC Port Lead is 40 mph. Also, the east main between Fort Lauderdale and Deerfield was not upgraded until recently. The west main between Deerfield and Fort Lauderdale was the only one upgraded to 79 mph, originally. 



#2054 Anderson

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:02 PM

@Chrsjrcj: That's about where I noticed us going 39-40 instead of 79-80.  The Fort Lauderdale-Deerfield track situation would also line up with what I noticed (a lot of running at 59-60 north from Fort Lauderdale).  Both sections would seem to qualify as Class 3...no idea why the section south from 79th Street is 39 instead of 59.

One other thing; They had a ton of flagmen on the streets making sure traffic didn't get in the way (and/or that we didn't have a crash).  I applaud the effort, but I doubt that such is economical in the longer term.


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#2055 Anderson

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 12:37 PM

Another thought, on top of all of the above: I took a friend with me on the Brightline trip.  He dropped me off at ORL last night (where there's a 45-minute baggage policy (I was unable to check a bag because we got stuck in traffic...even though we got to the station about 20-25 minutes before departure [1]) and hand-wringing about "If your baggage wasn't delivered to the station by an hour before departure it may be delayed" versus Brightline's 10-minute requirement).  HIs reaction was basically "Wow, this is night and day..."

I'm beginning to think that Brightline may do some very serious damage to Amtrak simply by making Amtrak look bad.

 

[1] Funny, the Conductor had no problem checking it...


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Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#2056 chrsjrcj

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 12:27 PM

Apparently Brightline has been testing 79 mph operations on the east main between Fort Lauderdale and Deerfield. I believe they updated the signal systems last week.

Starting Monday: northbound trains are scheduled 5 minutes faster between FTL and WPB and southbound trains are scheduled 3 minutes faster between FTL and Miami.
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#2057 Anderson

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 04:15 PM

They also seem to be adding two round-trips (11 M-R, 12 F).


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#2058 jis

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 05:55 PM

https://www.bizjourn...leadership.html

#2059 cirdan

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 04:49 AM

Any idea how the service is developing in terms of OTP and ridership?



#2060 neroden

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:36 AM

I'm beginning to think that Brightline may do some very serious damage to Amtrak simply by making Amtrak look bad.


Arguably Amtrak has been making itself look bad all along, at least to those who've been to Europe or China. Brightline is simply exposing Americans who've never travelled overseas to what "normal trains" are like. But yes, I'm agreeing with you.

Edited by neroden, 08 June 2018 - 08:37 AM.

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