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Brightline (FEC) Update


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#1801 cirdan

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 11:34 AM

Is the security in-sourced?

 

It can make big difference whether the securty people are trained to be courteous and helpful, or whether the job has been outsourced to the lowest cost rent-a-cop outfit with bad attitudes and who believe that the customer is their enemy..



#1802 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 12:58 PM

I think it's in house. The security at the bag check were extremely friendly. The security on the platforms were a bit strict... Others wanted to take photos of the locomotive and were not allowed to go past the last door of the consist that was open. They were just doing their job....

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#1803 Steve4031

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 02:52 PM

What's the delay with Miami Central. I thought it was supposed to be done by the end of March.


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#1804 VentureForth

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 03:10 PM

That there have been three fatalities in about as many weeks. I cringed when the train bisected an entertainment district at Delray Beach at track speed. Someone with a bit too much firewater is going to have things go bad - and that is going to cost AAF some whopper bucks.

There is a CARE meeting in Stuart, FL tonight at the Lyric Theater in Stuart. CARE is hell-bent on stopping Brightline. Here's my rub with the politics of this nonsense. From Miami to West Palm, there is a parallel track about a mile west offering nearly the same speeds by Amtrak and Tri-Rail. In fact, between CSX, FEC, Brightline (pre-revenue), Amtrak and Tri-Rail, there were 23 fatalities south of West Palm. Only 2 of those were Brightline. The rest were scattered amongst the others.

There will be bad PR. There will be Nimby's crying in their latte's. There will be deaths, which as unfortunate as they are, may help people realize that trains are big, fast, and very very lethal.

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#1805 cirdan

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 08:27 AM

It baffles me that anybody would treat a railroad crossing so lightly.

 

There is a crossing near where I live, It's been abandoned for years. But I look left and right every time I cross. I can't always keep up with all the news, so maybe some usage might have come back, Or seeing there are still some abandoned freight cars out there, maybe one day an engine will venture out to recover them.

 

And even if not, it's just a good reflex to have.


Edited by cirdan, 30 January 2018 - 08:27 AM.


#1806 jis

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 08:31 AM

This is Florida. It is almost like you have to go through an intelligence test and if you score higher than a low threshold you are not admitted.


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#1807 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 09:38 AM

This is Florida. It is almost like you have to go through an intelligence test and if you score higher than a low threshold you are not admitted.


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Is that how you got in? :P


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#1808 cirdan

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 09:41 AM

 

This is Florida. It is almost like you have to go through an intelligence test and if you score higher than a low threshold you are not admitted.


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Is that how you got in? :P


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Our jls is so smart that he can fake any IQ test to get whatever score he needs   :).



#1809 GBNorman

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 12:10 PM

On my joyride, I did not find the AAF security to be intrusive. At FTL, I walked through waist high metal detector, overseen by a guard who I cannot recall if he was armed.

The return from WPB, there was a very courteous armed security guard. All she said was "may I have a peek in that handbag?". "Sure" says I. When she saw all there in there was a parka in case it rained and my New York Times, a smile and wave.

Not intrusive at all.

Even at Arsht Performing Arts Center, there are guards dressed in Tuxedos and metal detectors in place. They wanted your pockets emptied.

At Salzburg Fespialhaus last Summer, courteous English speaking "Polizei" wanted a peek in anything carried before entering.

Why Orchestra Hall in Chicago does not have more direct security surprises me.

To me it seemed that MIA TSA was "Keystone Kops" compared to the efficiency at ORD. I'm surprised after the Naperville incident last June that stronger direct security is not part of boarding any Amtrak train at any station.

Volks, get used to it.

#1810 VentureForth

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 02:14 PM

You know, I was doing some Google Maps surfing, and I can really begin to see where the public criticism lies.  There is no comparison with the number of at-grade crossings along the FEC as compared the the CSX routing.  Most major roads on the CSX mainline are overpasses.  The FEC is literally littered with crossings - through RV parks, golf courses, and neighborhoods.  I'm sure many have been closed or rerouted since the Google Images were made, but the sheer number is mind boggling for a Class 4 track.


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#1811 jis

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 04:44 PM

Our jls is so smart that he can fake any IQ test to get whatever score he needs    :).

Exactly! You just produce a score that meets the requirements for the current goal. :P

I rode it for the first time yesterday. The ride of those Siemens cars is rock solid, and they are remarkably quiet, as are the engines. You can hardly hear anything in the car adjacent to the engine.

 

Snacks and beverages including adult ones are complementary in Select (First) Class and can be purchased from trolley service in Smart (Coach) Class. Since there is no ticket collection or checking on board,the OBS is dedicated to serving snacks and beverages.

 

There was a Brightline Manager riding with an FRA observer on the northbound run. I chatted with them for a while. The FRA guy was apparently observing the operation of the service in mixed traffic with freight. We did overtake a freight in each direction, and also crossed a Brightline going in the opposite direction in each run. The FRA guy, like me, though that maintaining an almost 75mph start to stop average speed with a maximum speed of 79mph is very impressive. The sheer power assigned to the train allows it to perform almost like a distributed power electric train, and yet its acceleration and deceleration is imperceptible and smooth. Many people were walking around holding onto nothing even though each row of seats has hand hold on both sides of the aisle for anyone to grab, should a need arise.

 

Before boarding there are some complementary snacks and beverages available in the Select lounge which one enters by opening the entrance gate using ones ticket. In addition there is a more elaborate set of snacks and beverages available for purchase at a central kiosk.

 

On the whole I was very impressed with the operation and the ride and so were apparently all my co-travelers. All are eager for it to take them to Miami, though even with this limited service the trains were pretty full, and even at the low traffic time mid-afternoon, the trains was half full. Rumor has it that service will get extended to Miami in about two months, give or take a week.



#1812 cirdan

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 05:26 AM

Do you get a seat number allocated with your ticket? Or can you sit where you want?

 

It makes sense that right now  the OBS doesn't need to check tickets seeing platform access is only possible through ticket barriers, and there is only one destination.

 

But I guess once they start serving multiple destinations, some level of ticket checking would be needed, to prevent people over-staying. 

 

Or do you also need to scan your ticket to leave the platform on arrival? That would be the only way to get by completely without on-train checking.



#1813 jis

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 07:57 AM

All seats are assigned when you purchase the ticket. You get to choose your seat at the point of purchase. Subsequently you can change your seat assignment through the internet or at a kiosk before checking in. Platform access will always be possible only through ticket barriers. No station will have open access.

No you cannot sit where you want. You sit at your assigned seat and people seem to love the fact that you don’t have to run around trying to get a seat while boarding.


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#1814 cirdan

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 08:32 AM

Thanks for that info.

 

is it known whether Brightline will be offering season tickets? I guess for people communiting for work, this would be an attractive option.

 

I guess season ticket holders would still have to select a seat using the kiosk (or app?). I wonder if there would be a way to authomate that and save some time?

 

For example you could tell Brightline your preferences and the seat would be allocated automatically on passing the barriers.

 

I understand SNCF has a "right to travel" option on some TGV lines. So if you have a season ticket plus this right to travel card, you can walk up to any TGV on that line and you are guaranteed a right to travel, even if you don't have a seat reservation. You can look for an empty seat or if push comes to shove sit on the floor (actually, they have foliding jumper seats in the vestibules). Of course a normal mortal would never be allowed to do that on a TGV so it can be touted as being a massive priveledge that people willingly pay for.

 

I guess the next step up on that would be an app that automatically allocates you a seat at the last minute so you don't have to look for one.


Edited by cirdan, 05 February 2018 - 08:33 AM.


#1815 jis

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 09:48 AM

I have seen many normal mortals use the vestibule jump seats on TGVs though.

 

BTW, I discovered that at the Brightline checkin gate actually gets the latest update from the central computer if needed, when you scan the boarding pass. So even a very last minute seat change will be detected and if different from what is on the boarding pass one is asked to go to a kiosk and get an updated boarding pass, so that the latest seat assignment appears correctly on it. It is important to have the right seat info on the boarding pass, since a human has to read it and match it with the numbers on the platform and on doors and seats in order to actually find ones seat. Until we have eprfected the update to the brain patch to be able to feed it directly to ones brain, we are stuck with printed paper or Smartphone App documents.

 

As for what Brightline's plans are, I have no idea and they are not willing to talk about much of it at present. their canned response is, first we get to Orlando. Then we can talk about enhancements. So my guess is that not much will change until late 2020 at the earliest.



#1816 jis

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 12:24 PM

https://www.thenextm...onville-beyond/

#1817 Caesar La Rock

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 02:06 PM

Glad Miami Central will be completed soon. I need to check the station in Orlando, I think that station is almost finished or close too. They just need to lay track up there. I'm not too far from the airport.


Edited by Caesar La Rock, 05 February 2018 - 02:07 PM.


#1818 Anderson

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 03:37 AM

The interest in the bond issue is a bit of a surprise given the earlier hurdles, but I also suspect that as it's become clear that this is actually happening in some form (and the legal issues have been knocked down bit-by-bit) interest has risen...so I probably shouldn't be shocked.


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...;-)


#1819 bretton88

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 05:56 PM

The interest in the bond issue is a bit of a surprise given the earlier hurdles, but I also suspect that as it's become clear that this is actually happening in some form (and the legal issues have been knocked down bit-by-bit) interest has risen...so I probably shouldn't be shocked.

Rising interest rates have helped pick up the bond market a bit too, though that does mean a little more cost to AAF.


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#1820 Anderson

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:28 AM

The overpriced stock market (in my opinion, at least) probably has something to do with it as well...there just aren't many good values to be had elsewhere.

 

I will say, with those tickets, that given where the printers are (e.g. downstairs), if Brightline is going to force you to get a new ticket they should have a printer at the checkpoint (not unlike airports have at the gates).  It shouldn't matter, but I can easily imagine where someone having to go downstairs, wait in line to mess with the touchscreens (they're good technology but they can take a few moments to deal with) and then come back upstairs turns a tight "make the train" run into a narrow miss.  2-3 minutes shouldn't matter, but it easily can.

That minor kvetch (which is all it really is unless/until traffic loads hit a certain level...if we get down the line to where they're running lots and lots of trains I could see lines in the station being an issue at peak hours) aside, it was fun trying to explain Brightline to some west coast-based foamers on the last PPC trip:

Me: "They're between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and going to extend to downtown Miami in a few months."
Them: "Well, they're going to have to find a way to get their trains from there to the airport station."
Me: "No, it's privately run."
Them: "So, it's Amtrak?  Why is Amtrak on another line down there?"
Me: "No, it's being run by a private company. FEC is behind the effort." [1]
Them: "Oh, so it's a state-supported train?  I didn't know Florida did that.  But won't they have to get over to the airport station."
Me: "No, it's being privately financed.  The state isn't involved.  It's on the other tracks in South Florida."
Them: "Ahhh...so, why is Amtrak running two separate lines down there?"
Me: *facepalms and more or less gives up, realizing that a lot of folks don't have the context for this*

This is not verbatim for the conversation, but it is scarily representative of it.


[1] Oversimplification and inaccurate, I know, but it was the easiest way to explain it.


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...;-)





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