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Brightline (FEC) Update


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#1621 jis

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 01:21 PM

For the initial service there is no cafe car. Any food or drink service will be at seat - possibly cart service.


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#1622 Caesar La Rock

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 03:06 PM

A few days old, but another victory.

 

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#1623 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 07:11 AM

What precisely is the objection of all these Alta kockers?
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#1624 Brian_tampa

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:42 PM

Very good news to report, it appears that work on phase 2 is about to begin. A permit has been applied for just yesterday to construct storm water structures along the Beachline Expressway SR528 at the Dallas Blvd. Toll plaza.

https://www.bizjourn...siness Journal)

"Coral Gables-based All Aboard Florida on Oct. 11 applied for permit that would allow work to begin on Phase 2 of the Miami-to-Orlando passenger train. Construction already is under way on the Miami-to-West Palm Beach portion of the train system."

"All Aboard is seeking the permit so it can begin construction of stormwater treatment swales along the rail corridor and modify existing stormwater ponds at the Dallas Boulevard toll plaza. The project also will involve installation of new fiber optic cable."

#1625 Brian_tampa

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 12:18 PM

https://www.bizjourn...nstruction.html

 

More work on phase 2 scheduled to begin soon, but this time at the Orlando airport. Beginning by end of 2017, AAF construction crews will be working on the new station at the airport as well as related track work starting in January. This work is dependent on AAF obtaining a construction permit. From the OBJ news article:

 

It looks like the $3.5 billion Miami-to-Orlando rail system soon will start creating its new station at the Orlando International Airport.

Brightline operator, Coral Gables-based All Aboard Florida, will begin moving construction crews into the airport's new Intermodal Terminal Facility in December, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority COO Stan Thornton told Orlando Business Journal on Oct. 19.

Then in January, workers will begin interior train station buildout and building a new rail that will connect into the terminal, Thornton said. The project is scheduled for an midyear 2020 completion, he said.


Edited by Brian_tampa, 19 October 2017 - 01:09 PM.


#1626 Scott Orlando

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 05:06 PM

The news I have been dreaming about...

A long while back on this thread there were links to architectural diagrams of the SR528 segment. Those links are dead. Does anyone know links for the architectural schematics for this segment are? Its fascinating and I cant wait to see real progress

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#1627 me_little_me

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 05:31 PM

This topic aught to be broken up into three - one until Miami to WPB construction is finished (at which point it will die), one on Brightline operating issues and one on development of the Orlando segment.



#1628 DSS&A

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 06:32 PM

Hi,
Here's a current seven page magazine article with news and October dated progress photos of the project.

http://www.moderncit...rs-finish/page/

#1629 VentureForth

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 03:34 PM

Been over a month without a post in this thread.  Any updates?


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#1630 chrsjrcj

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 05:36 PM

Their Facebook post last week said limited service between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale is planned (with an emphasis on planned) to start by the end of December. Should start simulated testing next week for two weeks, and if the stars allign the FRA will give the okay.

#1631 GBNorman

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:17 AM

Along with many another at railroad discussion forums, I have followed this saga of All Aboard Florida/Brightline.

 

I'm not "per se" opposed to this initiative, and even though there are tangible things - shops, rolling stock, and tracks - in place to suggest this initiative will move forth, I remain skeptical.

 

At first, I held the initiative was a ploy to "fatten the steer" for a sale of the railroad to the State.  With the "heap big wampum" the State has invested in maritime ports, particularly the Port of Miami, the State would be a party in interest to assure the FEC would remain an open "gateway" handling the Port's traffic for interchange at JAX to either NS or CSX. I based this assumption knowing that the FEC was "taken private" by FEC Industries with a leveraged buyout.  As with any leveraged transaction, if the "going is good" the return on investment is magnified, but if "not so good";  look out!

 

Public disclosure of FEC Financial Statements is spotty, but 2010 Statements showed the railroad with Operating Income but a Loss after debt service. As the recovery has moved forth subsequent years have surely shown an improvement.

 

I now readily concede that I was mistaken regarding sale of the FEC to the State.  However, both FEC Industries, of which AAF is a subsidiary, and the Railway have been sold to separate foreign interests - Industries to Japanese; Railway to Mexican.

 

By now, all parties know that substantial outside financing - as in the B's - will be needed to complete the project.  Such financing is hardly a "done deal".  While the municipalities to the North along the so-called Treasure and Space Coasts, have had little success in the Judiciary blocking the project, thirty two additional trains moving through at 100mph will represent a public nuisance - someone, regardless of how negligent, will get "taken out" at an X-ing.  That is a given. There are no plans to provide service to any of these municipalities - the cry "public nuisance without public benefit" will be heard.

 

The inauguration date continues to be pushed back.  True, they were talking about "this year" for their trial Ft Lauderdale-West Palm service, there are only now 28 days left to meet that target.  Bet's anyone?

 

But the biggest new hurdle to me is the sale of Industries/AAF to Japanese and Railway to Mexican.  Industries has other things "on the plate" namely how to invest the proceeds from the sale of the railroad.  The railroad is in one set of hands and AAF is in another. This becomes analogous to the Amtrak/Class I  clash of interests - and AAF has no Federal mandate in a lawful requirement to provide access on which to hang its hat.

 

No question whatever, the redevelopment of the FEC property at "First and First" is moving ahead with Miami Central complete with rail access.  The inaugural service of a Miami-West Palm "Super Shuttle"  could well start next year, but really volks, anybody give that a prayer of financial success?

 

I hold that the full Miami-McCoy (MCO; Orlando Airport) chance of completion is quite nil.



#1632 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:39 AM

Depends on how you define financial success. If you are talking about a net profit over a reasonable recovery time including all capital and operating expenses, but no ancillary income relating to real estate development or such, you right, damned skippy.

If you are talking direct operating the trains profit, I am unsure.

But include the rest of the venture? The real estate development, and that stuff. Its been nearly a hundred years since Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo lampooned the land swindle that is Florida. And guess what? Plenty of people, even some that are otherwise very intelligent, keep moving to that god forsaken uninhabitable sand spit.

I think all things added up, they are going to do just fine.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#1633 GBNorman

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 12:01 PM

Mr. Lion, Miami Central WILL do just fine - with or without AAF.

Should AAF be limited to a sure-to-fail Miami-West Palm "Super Shuttle", the rail access remains and could easily handle Tri-Rail (also Amtrak; but don't bet on that one) by building a connecting track through the NE quadrant of Iris X-ing, and that's in a low rent industrial neighborhood. I can't think of anything that would be more of a "shot in the arm to their ridership.

#1634 chrsjrcj

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:18 PM

The NE connection at Iris is a done deal, and was recently completed. The only thing holding up Tri-Rail is installing compliant PTC on their equipment and (of course) completion of MiamiCentral. I do also agree that we'll likely never see Amtrak on the FEC (at least south of West Palm).

 

I was walking around downtown West Palm Beach last night, and of course walked by the Brightline station (you can walk right up to the glass now, but of course can't go inside). It really struck me how convenient the station is to the heart of the city. While the WPB to Miami "super shuttle" might not be a smashing success (and WPB to Fort Lauderdale even less so), I do eagerly await Orlando as I think it will be a huge draw for both Brightline (or whatever service takes its place) and the city. 



#1635 GBNorman

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:52 PM

Thanks Mr. Crs, for the update on the Iris X-ing. To me it appears Tri Rail has simply limped along through its 28 year life - not a loser like the Nashville train, but simply not a "breakthrough".

Serving Downtown Miami could be the game changer.

There is one thing that concerns me; and that is having to answer why was the station at the Airport built if the intent was to serve Downtown Miami and a bus transfer from Metro Transfer would have worked just as well?

To offer off peak hourly service to BOTH the Airport and Downtown would simply be "overservice"; for that matter, so would to offer service along the FEC/Brightline. While the decision made over thirty years ago to route Tri Rail over the SAL (Amtrak) could well have been faulty, it was the decision from which there is "no turning back".

#1636 cirdan

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:49 AM

Thanks Mr. Crs, for the update on the Iris X-ing. To me it appears Tri Rail has simply limped along through its 28 year life - not a loser like the Nashville train, but simply not a "breakthrough".

Serving Downtown Miami could be the game changer.

There is one thing that concerns me; and that is having to answer why was the station at the Airport built if the intent was to serve Downtown Miami and a bus transfer from Metro Transfer would have worked just as well?

To offer off peak hourly service to BOTH the Airport and Downtown would simply be "overservice"; for that matter, so would to offer service along the FEC/Brightline. While the decision made over thirty years ago to route Tri Rail over the SAL (Amtrak) could well have been faulty, it was the decision from which there is "no turning back".

 

 I don't know why, but maybe part of the problem was that FEC owned the ROW and wouldn't let Tri Rail run into downtown.

 

On the other hand, seeing the site of the downtown station was retained intact over all these years and never parcelled out or built on, does suggest that there was some plan in the background that allowed for at least the possibility of passenger trains of some description returning to the site.

 

Does anybody know?



#1637 jis

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:35 AM

But the biggest new hurdle to me is the sale of Industries/AAF to Japanese and Railway to Mexican.  Industries has other things "on the plate" namely how to invest the proceeds from the sale of the railroad.  The railroad is in one set of hands and AAF is in another. This becomes analogous to the Amtrak/Class I  clash of interests - and AAF has no Federal mandate in a lawful requirement to provide access on which to hang its hat.

For what it is worth, I had a chat with the CEO of AAF about this matter. According to what he explained, AAF's rights are substantially protected in the contract that exists between FECR and AAF.

Unlike the situation between Amtrak and the Class Is, FECR does not dispatch the railroad in question any more. There is an AAF/FECR 50/50 jointly owned subsidiary - Florida Dispatching Company, which is in charge of all dispatching on both FECR property and on the new AAF property under construction in Phase II. I was shown extensive plans with full simulation of path diagrams for mixed freight and passenger operation and contingency plans for those times when things break down. I have never seen anything like that even from Amtrak for their owned properties on the NEC.
 
However, the proof of the pudding as always in eating it, so we will see. But I just wanted to point out that certain assumptions being made here are at variance with reality.
 
Also the only County that constitutes the "Space Coast" - Brevard County, is in active negotiation with AAF for construction of a station at a site that has been selected in Cocoa/Rockledge, with construction to begin soon after introduction of service to Orlando. So to claim that the County is opposed to AAF is at variance with known facts. Are there a few NIMBYs? Of course there are, specially in the sticks in the deep south part of the county adjacent to Indian River County, where there is significant opposition from even some county officials. The main State level opposer is in the State Senate in the form of Debbie Maynard of Vero Beach, part of whose district includes southern Brevard County too.
 
Those who are really interested in learning more should join the FECR Society. Their meetings and newsletters provide a treasure trove of quite reliable information both on FECR and AAF. All that one sees in the press is marketing fluff and NIMBY posturing mostly with next to zero technical content by which to judge the viability or lack thereof.
 

I don't know why, but maybe part of the problem was that FEC owned the ROW and wouldn't let Tri Rail run into downtown.

On the other hand, seeing the site of the downtown station was retained intact over all these years and never parcelled out or built on, does suggest that there was some plan in the background that allowed for at least the possibility of passenger trains of some description returning to the site.

Does anybody know?

There was no station and no one willing to fund construction of it at that site until the Fortress Group decided that they needed to boost returns from all the downtown property that they own.

 

Running a service from the FECR to anywhere in Miami would have required much greater amount of public funding and access to a lot of property owned by the FEC even to construct other stations on the route. FECR or its then owners were unwilling to make such available at any reasonable rate. Hence what was built was long the CSX route which eventually CSX was willing to sell off.

 

It should be noted that AAF and FECR have stated to the County Transportation Planners in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties that if a local service is developed on the FECR property in those two counties, AAF intends to do so before they will let anyone else in. So I doubt that any TriRail will run south of West Palm Beach and north of Miami Central, on FECR property for quite a while yet. Apparently the contract between FECR and AAF gives AAF the first right of refusal for running passenger service on FECR.

 

The various FEC related outfits, Fortress Group as its latest umbrella incarnation, is about real estate and transportation following the Flagler tradition. I don't think they necessarily knew what they were going to do with the downtown site until they decided to use it for a joint real estate/transportation development. Part of it would have continued to host the link to the Harbor, irrespective of what real estate development they chose for it. I am not sure anyone has systematically recorded what their internal decision making process was. But when they hired Gene Skorpowski it became obvious they were quite serious about rail passenger service.

 

Incidentally, I had a long chat will Gene at the RPA meeting in Chicago. He had several interesting insights to share, which would probably not be appropriate to discuss in a public forum.


Edited by jis, 05 December 2017 - 07:26 AM.


#1638 jis

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 01:37 PM

https://www.facebook...&type=3

 

December 6th it is for starting simulated test running of the schedule. If FRA gives clearance, revenue passenger service can be expected to start in two weeks.


Edited by jis, 04 December 2017 - 01:40 PM.


#1639 cirdan

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 05:11 AM

https://www.facebook...&type=3

 

December 6th it is for starting simulated test running of the schedule. If FRA gives clearance, revenue passenger service can be expected to start in two weeks.

 

Best piece of news in a long time.

 

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this performs.



#1640 jis

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:22 PM

Some more from Brightline:
 
https://www.facebook...?type=3
 
A small fair quote from Jim Kovalsky of FECRS:
 
 
 

ABOUT BRIGHTLINE SERVICE:
PLEASE READ BELOW.

You've been seeing posts that say Brightline is "starting service". This does NOT MEAN they are carrying passengers yet. At the same time this all part of the process of getting the service running. ALL of these steps must be completed, and they must be completed in order. Every single step is a milestone towards the goal.
As we've seen over the last couple of years, starting a brand new express passenger service is a complicated endeavor, especially when your opponents resort to fear tactics and outright lies in an attempt stop you.
What I understand is that over the next couple of weeks you will see Brightline trains running a regular schedule between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale -- but they are not yet open for business. The system has to be proven -- everyone needs practice integrating all of the final pieces together BEFORE passengers are onboard.
 
. . . . .

 
You can see his entire post on the FECRS page on Facebook at https://www.facebook...ups/fecrailway/

Edited by jis, 05 December 2017 - 12:22 PM.





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