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Brightline (FEC) Update


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#1701 Anderson

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:24 PM

 

 

 

Finally, I thought that Brightline was going to incorporate shopping centers as part of their station scheme, marrying retail with rail travel.  This may be the case in Miami, but there doesn't seem to be evidence of that from what I can see at either of the other two stations.  I guess Fort Lauderdale is only a few blocks from the Tarpon River and the park/shopping area there.  But I don't see much at West Palm.

 

Me too. I thought the train was just an enabler for the real estate. So I was expecting them to develop all real estate to the maximum.

 

But maybe they will do so in a future phase.

 

Although all the station sites have some potential, Miami is obviously the jewel in the crown in terms of value and potential rental income, so maybe they want to pool their efforts there for now, and come back to the other locations later. If they are smart they will have been queitly buying real estate around the sttaions before the hype sends land value through the roof.

 

Well, bear in mind that we're looking at what they're doing now.  It's entirely possible that once things get rolling they'll expand some further development around the non-Miami stations (particularly if they add 2-3 more over time...Cocoa is already on their radar, and it seems quite probable that at least one more will get added on, particularly if they go to Jacksonville as well).  Keep in mind that the Miami station, with its skyscrapers, was not cheap to build and there's only so much capital to deploy.

(Also, the proposal was 60 minutes MIA-WPB and 30 MIA-FLL, and 30 FLL-WPB, not 30 MIA-FLL and 90 FLL-WPB).


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...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#1702 jis

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:11 PM

As far as Tri-Rail on the rest of the FEC, there is definitely a desire to run on the FEC from WPB north to Palm Beach Gardens (PBG supports this) and from downtown Miami to Aventura in north Dade County, but Brightline has put a moratorium on any further discussions until Brightline to Miami is running.

Right. AAF has asserted first right of access for all passenger service on FECR. It is part of the contract between FECR and AAF

Yes, the structure above the platform is the main waiting room. Will be quite the railfan spot while waiting for your train.

Each station has several great railfan spots.

 

BTW, AFAICT the plan is for a one hour schedule from WPB to Miami Central. Of that the run between WPB and FLL will be something like 35-38 mins with a minute or two stop at FLL

 

I talked to Jim Kovalsky of FECRS who has been on several scheduled runs, and he has timed the run from WPB to FLL consistently at below 34 mins, so say roughly 75mph start to stop. So it seems that they should have no problem doing WPB to Miami Central in an hour including the stop at FLL. BTW averaging 75 mph with a 79mph top speed is pretty commendable. I wish Amtrak could pull off something even close to that ratio on the middle section of CHI - STL or Porter K'zoo.



#1703 AGM.12

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 09:53 PM

Looking at the plans for the Miami complex, there seems to be a hotel incorporated in it. I would wonder if they could offer vacation packages of hotel room, ticket on Brightline and admission to Disney world or some such special around concerts or sporting events. I'm sure travelers from abroad would find this option attractive.



#1704 Anderson

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 01:29 AM

Looking at the plans for the Miami complex, there seems to be a hotel incorporated in it. I would wonder if they could offer vacation packages of hotel room, ticket on Brightline and admission to Disney world or some such special around concerts or sporting events. I'm sure travelers from abroad would find this option attractive.

Something like that seems to be implied in the "Business Case" figures that Brightline rolled out.  I would expect them to, for example, probably contract with someone to offer tourist packages that would allow you to take the train from Miami/Fort Lauderdale up to Orlando and then catch a bus to one of the parks (WDW, Universal, etc.) for a day trip (or even for a weekend/several days), just as I expect there to be packages that deal with you catching Brightline down to Fort Lauderdale to catch a cruise ship (or to do an "Orlando add-on" to a cruise).  Brightline will probably work with third parties for a lot of this (think Amtrak Vacations versus Amtrak) and stick to running their trains for the most part, but I think they're planning to do as much as they can in this respect.


Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#1705 VentureForth

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 06:28 AM

"No transit system is profitable" is the mantra we keep hearing, right? So who is going to offset the operating costs of Brightline? FECS? Through real estate leases? Since the sale to Softbank, I am really confused who is going to be responsible for Brightline's losses. Didn't the sale essentially separate the real estate from the railroad businesses?

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#1706 jis

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:26 AM

"No transit system is profitable" is the mantra we keep hearing, right? So who is going to offset the operating costs of Brightline? FECS? Through real estate leases? Since the sale to Softbank, I am really confused who is going to be responsible for Brightline's losses. Didn't the sale essentially separate the real estate from the railroad businesses?

Brightline (AAF) is on the Real State side, and falls under FECI. It is not part of the railroad business. It is part of the hospitality business. FECR is the railroad and logistics business and is now owned by Grupo Mexico.

There nothing called FECS.

AAF and FECR jointly own FDC (Florida Dispatching Company) which dispatches the joint operation of the railroad.

Incidentally, if London Underground Deep Tube Lines were viewed as a separate business within TfL, it is quite profitable. So “No transit system is profitable” is just a convenient slogan in support of a political fight in the US and not necessarily supported by facts anyway.


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Edited by jis, 10 January 2018 - 10:11 AM.


#1707 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:10 AM

Its no transit SYSTEM is profitable, not no transit LINE. Complete functional systems have sections that are profitable on their own, sections that provide a net boost to profit but are not profitable on their own, and sections that arent profitable but are part of an overall socially useful system.
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#1708 VentureForth

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:14 AM

Incidentally, if London Underground Deep Tube Lines were viewed as a separate business within TfL, it is quite profitable. So “No transit system is profitable” is just a convenient slogan in support of a political fight in the US and not necessarily supported by facts anyway.

Yeah - I've been citing JR in Japan as examples for years. But their business model includes other transport (busses, ferries), real estate, and retail. Your explanation of binding Brightline with FECI makes sense, so long as their relationship with FECR remains strong. Will FECR build and maintain the track from Cocoa to Orlando? If there won't be a freight component, will it be built for FECI?

Onto a new topic - here are some nice photos posted: https://www.wptv.com...line-trains#id0

There was one interviewee who talked about how fast 79 MPH was. Amtrak hits that every day and another 50%+ in the NEC. Does Tri Rail not hit 79?

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#1709 jis

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:53 AM

Tr-Rail hits 79 momentarily here and there like Amtrak hits 150 for bragging rights.

 

The special thing about Brightline that people are finding remarkable is that it averages 75mph start to stop between WPB and FLL. that is close to what Amtrak manages on the NE with a few exceptional segments. WPB to Miami Central will average around 72-73mph including a stop. And this is the lower speed segment in the overall Miami - Orlando plan.

 

Bottom line is no one except railfans care what maximum speed a train hits. What they care about is end to end running times and timetable reliability, which is a known issue even on the NEC and is a serious issue in most other routes that claim to hit all sorts of speeds for a few miles here and there. The TGV or ICE style sustained running at even 79mph, let alone something north of 100 is not very common on the corridors. There are a few segments in the LD network where such happens freight railroads willing.


Edited by jis, 10 January 2018 - 09:35 AM.


#1710 Brian_tampa

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:20 AM

I would make the case that along with competitive travel times, on time performance means just as much to the general public. They will decide with their money whether or not Brightline succeeds. No matter how excited we as railfans get over maximum speed, or other technical facts, if they can't provide clean, competitive, and on time operations they won't make it.

#1711 chrsjrcj

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:43 AM

In my non-expert opinion, the Miami to MCO will come close to an operating profit (if not break even).

In 2006, FDOT prepared a passenger rail plan- www.fdot.gov/rail/Publications/Plans/06VisionPlan/ExecReportFinal.pdf that AAF seems to be following (at least the coastal route proposal). Phase 1 showed an operating ratio of 1.07, albeit with more stops including Jacksonville and the Orlando Convention Center/I-Drive area.

#1712 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 01:43 PM

Why is the newswoman in the video wearing a winter coat and hat when she is in South Florida and it says 53 degrees down in the corner of the screen? :P

 

Sorry, just couldn't resist. :giggle:

 

Now back to serious technical stuff....


Edited by Mystic River Dragon, 10 January 2018 - 01:44 PM.


#1713 Bob Dylan

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 02:13 PM

Why is the newswoman in the video wearing a winter coat and hat when she is in South Florida and it says 53 degrees down in the corner of the screen? :P
 
Sorry, just couldn't resist. :giggle:
 
Now back to serious technical stuff....

53 is COLD in Florida Patty! Penny layers up in Orlando when it gets below 70!!!😄😄😄
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#1714 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:40 PM

Ha! It got to 40 degrees here yesterday, and some people were wearing shorts! :) 

 

Back to the real topic--any news on when the first passenger run will be? (Their website still says this week, but there's a news article about some mayor down there still discussing a quiet zone with them, so maybe that's the holdup?) Seems odd that they were (or seemed) so organized for so long and are not at this stage.



#1715 jis

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:56 PM

The trains are running a full schedules with invited guests and families this week. Departure apparently is at 55 mins past the hour from both ends. I saw the schedule in the invite I got late last week. One needs to RSVP to a specific telephone number to get an invitation ticket.


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#1716 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:03 PM

Oh, good--that is promising. Thanks, jis, for being the messenger for those of us not high up enough in the world to have been invited! :)



#1717 jis

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:06 PM

Almost every rail enthusiast in Florida got an invite, since you just had to be a member in good standing of either FECRS or FRPC.


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#1718 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:07 PM

Another excellent reason to move down there! :)



#1719 chrsjrcj

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:13 AM

Brightline ticket and schedule information is now available on their website. Service starts Saturday.

gobrightline.com


Edited by chrsjrcj, 11 January 2018 - 07:19 AM.


#1720 cirdan

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:50 AM

Brightline ticket and schedule information is now available on their website. Service starts Saturday.

gobrightline.com

 

That website still needs some work. I tried to make a trial booking but ran into a bug and crashed my browser.


Edited by cirdan, 11 January 2018 - 07:50 AM.





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