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http://www.allaboardflorida.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SFBJ_June-29-2012.pdf

 

Mainly a discussion on station locations, but an interesting line: "The goal is for trains to average 100 MPH".

Someone is smoking something. A train that runs with MSP of 90 or less upto WPB and then 110 or less to Cocoa and the balance 40 miles at 125mph, is not going to average 100mph. And there are no trains in the world that average 200mph over any significant distance, since generally their MSP is around 200mph.

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I have a spreadsheet that given mileage, top speed, acceleration, and number of stations, computes the best-case times and average speeds along the line.

 

For this specific route, I used the following mileages from Miami: Fort Lauderdale: 30; West Palm Beach: 64.03; Cocoa: 193.34; Orlando Airport: 229.7. (note, I do not know the actual mileage to Fort Lauderdale, but as long as the number isn't too close to West Palm or Miami, it won't affect the end to end numbers).

And the following speeds: Miami-Fort Lauderdale: 79; Fort Lauderdale-West Palm: 79; West Palm-Cocoa: 110; Cocoa-Orlando Airport: 125.

And assuming an acceleration and braking of 1 mile per hour per second, and 2 minute dwell time per station, and once reaching top speed, the train maintains the speed until slowing for the next station.

With these numbers, the spreadsheet calculates the average end-to--end speed of 92.393 miles per hour with a 2:29:10 run time.

 

Increasing the West Palm Beach to Cocoa speed to 125mph, brings the average speed to 97.778mph and drops the run time to 2:20:57.

That plus increasing the Cocoa to Orlando Airport speed to 150mph brings the average speed to 99.538mph and a run time of 2:18:28.

 

Increasing the Miami to West Palm Beach segments to 90mph, and leaving the West Palm Beach to Cocoa segment at 110mph gives an average speed of 95.982mph and a run time of 2:23:35

That plus increasing the West Palm Beach to Cocoa segments to 125mph gives an average speed of 101.806mph and a run time 2:15:22

 

To achieve an end to end speed of 100mph would require an end to end time of 2:17:49.2

 

So I have to agree with Jis, there's no way that at those speeds, the FEC can achieve 100mph run time, and given that it is unlikely the FEC will ever run trains at 125mph+ on their existing right of way, I highly doubt this plan will ever see trains averaging 100mph from Miami to Orlando.

Edited by MattW

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Matt: What if we kick out the dwell times? Assume that the FEC is using some fuzzy math and only counting "train in motion" time (which would give you about an 8-10 minute buffer), what would that offer?

 

By the way, while we're on the topic, could someone remind me of the Acela's average speed WAS-NYP?

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With the parameters that Matt is using, and I will add that if I was doing the computation I'd start with something similar too, one must keep in mind that he is already over-estimating the speed and under-estimating the running times. This is so because no train is actually going to run every bit of WPB to Cocoa at 110mph. There are moving bridges with Miter Rails to contend with (70mph), numerous grade crossings and curves around Melbourne and other RoW geometry matters to contend with etc. You can get some idea of the track geometry issues by paging through the detailed EIS for the FEC service. So I suspect the actual avg will be at least a good 5mph below what the rough calculation suggests.

 

On NEC NYP - WAS best schedule is for something like 83 or 84mph average. The commercial schedule contains 10 to `15 mins worth of contingency time, i.e. if the train had the railroad to itself with no TSRs and no interference and perfect 1 min passenger stops, it could do the run in 10 to 15 less. But that is mostly of theoretical interest since specially on NEC South there is horrendous traffic density and nothing is ever even close to perfect. Current immediate goal is to incerementally get it to 90 or so I believe.

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One of the major questions for the prospects for the FEC service is what might they get for annual passenger numbers? Some numbers I found to provide some idea on the size of the potential market. I knew there were a lot of people taking cruise ships from southern FL, but would not have guessed that many.

 

4.3 million cruise ship passengers at the Port of Miami in 2010

3.6 million cruise ship passengers at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale

 

Miami Airport = 38.3 million passengers in 2011 (12th busiest airport in the US)

Orlando Airport = 34.9 million passengers in 2010 (13th busiest airport in the US)

 

Miami Metropolitan area population = 5.5 million

Orlando metropolitan area population = 2.1 million

 

According to the Orlando government, they claim 51 million tourists or visitors in 2010. Yikes.

 

If the FEC can capture even a small percentage of the cruise ship market taking people between Orlando and the ports of Miami and Everglades, some of the Miami <-> Orlando tourists, some of the resident population trips for business and personal travel, the FEC should get respectable ridership numbers.

Edited by afigg

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If those stats are true, then the FEC could prove very popular, simply because so many people are traveling.

 

But one statistic in particular seems odd. Not to go OT, but how does Orlando have more tourists than NYC?

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If those stats are true, then the FEC could prove very popular, simply because so many people are traveling.

 

But one statistic in particular seems odd. Not to go OT, but how does Orlando have more tourists than NYC?

 

Because a certain mouse ate Florida?

 

Joking aside, my suspicion is that Orlando's "tourist count" is slightly inflated by Disney/Universal visitor multi-counting (i.e. someone goes to EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, and Universal Studios...and gets counted 3 times as a visitor to all three). However, if one counts out-of-area visitors, Orlando might well still win.

 

As to the business available, I'm wondering what the baggage situation is likely to be on the FEC. I raise this because it seems that you might be able to get at least some airlines to start working flights "just" into Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami and then having you connect to a train for the balance of the trip rather than running a shuttle between Miami and Orlando and/or running flights into both Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

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If those stats are true, then the FEC could prove very popular, simply because so many people are traveling.

 

But one statistic in particular seems odd. Not to go OT, but how does Orlando have more tourists than NYC?

When I go into NYC from Central Jersey I am typically not counted as a tourist. But when my friends in Melbourne FL go to Orlando they typically get counted as a tourist and they happen to do so dozens of times a year. It all depends on how one counts things.

 

Unless the highway situation gets much much worse, it is unlikely that my friends in Melbourne would give up on driving to Orlando and opt for the train, except occasionally to just ride the trains. What will they do once they get to Orlando with the minimal local public transport options available?

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What will they do once they get to Orlando with the minimal local public transport options available?

 

They could stand around lobbying for more local public transit options of course! :)

 

I'm surprised you haven't suggested that yet to them! :lol:

 

Of course, they can't yet take the FEC to Orlando. So you'll have to start pressuring & training them now. :)

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If those stats are true, then the FEC could prove very popular, simply because so many people are traveling.

 

But one statistic in particular seems odd. Not to go OT, but how does Orlando have more tourists than NYC?

Because a certain mouse ate Florida?

 

Joking aside, my suspicion is that Orlando's "tourist count" is slightly inflated by Disney/Universal visitor multi-counting (i.e. someone goes to EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, and Universal Studios...and gets counted 3 times as a visitor to all three). However, if one counts out-of-area visitors, Orlando might well still win.

Well, the mouse did take a big bite out of central Florida. Found this Orlando Sentinel news article from May, 2011 where the Mayor of Orlando announced 51.5 million visitors in 2010. NYC & Mayor Bloomberg claimed 48.7 million in 2010. Article is amusing because of the discussion on the sniping between NYC and Orlando contesting who is getting the most visitors. Orlando includes a very large area in central FL, NYC counts day-trippers for example. The visitor count is nothing more than an educated guess estimate anyway based on whatever criteria they want to use and I would expect polling the hotel chains, resorts, airports, businesses who may double or triple count some visitors.

 

The takeaway is that Orlando and NYC are the two top tourist destinations in the USA, running roughly neck and neck in visitor counts. Which is why both of the cities - along with Las Vegas - are prime markets in the US for high or higher speed rail service.

 

As to the business available, I'm wondering what the baggage situation is likely to be on the FEC. I raise this because it seems that you might be able to get at least some airlines to start working flights "just" into Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami and then having you connect to a train for the balance of the trip rather than running a shuttle between Miami and Orlando and/or running flights into both Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

If the FEC serves Orlando Airport, they would probably set up a baggage handling service to transfer bags directly between the airport and the trains in Orlando. Fly to Orlando, take the train to Ft. Lauderdale or downtown Miami and get your checked bags at the station. If the FEC is planning to serve the cruise ship business and the resorts in Orlando, yea, baggage cars or secured baggage storage areas on their trains and baggage handlers will have to be part of their operation.

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If those stats are true, then the FEC could prove very popular, simply because so many people are traveling.

 

But one statistic in particular seems odd. Not to go OT, but how does Orlando have more tourists than NYC?

When I go into NYC from Central Jersey I am typically not counted as a tourist. But when my friends in Melbourne FL go to Orlando they typically get counted as a tourist and they happen to do so dozens of times a year. It all depends on how one counts things.

 

Unless the highway situation gets much much worse, it is unlikely that my friends in Melbourne would give up on driving to Orlando and opt for the train, except occasionally to just ride the trains. What will they do once they get to Orlando with the minimal local public transport options available?

 

I'm actually wondering if the FEC folks have talked with Disney/Universal about making their shuttles available to train passengers in some fashion. Failing that, I'm wondering if the FEC might end up doing some sort of analysis on helping out with local funding for this and/or the North/South Light Rail line so as to boost ridership. If they do eventually head west, it might also be possible to get them to consider some sort of transfer station in the Orlando area that would link them to SunRail.

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I'm actually wondering if the FEC folks have talked with Disney/Universal about making their shuttles available to train passengers in some fashion. Failing that, I'm wondering if the FEC might end up doing some sort of analysis on helping out with local funding for this and/or the North/South Light Rail line so as to boost ridership. If they do eventually head west, it might also be possible to get them to consider some sort of transfer station in the Orlando area that would link them to SunRail.

If the FEC people haven't talked to Disney, Universal, and other resorts in the Orlando area, I would think they would have to before getting the funding committed for building the 40 mile extension to Orlando. I assume all of the resorts run shuttle services to the airport, so if the FEC builds a station at the Orlando airport, having the shuttles stop at the FEC station should not be a big deal. Or people walk from the train station to where the shuttles are.

 

Lots of question remain in all this. Will the new FEC line terminate right at the airport; have a loop at the airport so they don't have to turn their trains around; would they extend it to connect to SunRail (and CSX) in the first phase of a longer range plan to extend to Tampa? Or wait for Orlando to come through with some sweet land and tax deals to entice the FEC to extend to downtown?

 

If there is a loop at Orlando airport and a Wye connection off of the FEC tracks at the start, allowing connections from the north, would Amtrak run the split Silver Star (or a rerouted Meteor or new Silver service train) down and back on the extension to the Orlando airport and then to Miami? If the FEC is going to build a line to the airport and is willing to allow LD trains on their line, why not also stop at the Orlando Airport?

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What will they do once they get to Orlando with the minimal local public transport options available?

 

They could stand around lobbying for more local public transit options of course! :)

 

I'm surprised you haven't suggested that yet to them! :lol:

 

Of course, they can't yet take the FEC to Orlando. So you'll have to start pressuring & training them now. :)

Well, I am working towards moving to Florida myself, to the Melbourne area. :D

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In reading some of the above posts here are some thoughts:

 

It is my understanding that the Orlando airport is the planned location of the FEC terminal, and that on paper anyway, the airport has a train station capable of accomodating up to five different rail systems. Sounds like MCO has plans to be a multimodal transportation hub. (It already is when you consider the number of Disney buses and rental cars that flow through it.)

 

A very large percentage of visitors to Florida are from countries that have good pax rail systems, so these visitors are almost ready customers.

 

I agree with jis that the 'locals' won't use the system. (Except for the fun of it! :cool: ) I spent a few days on the Treasure Coast recently and the mood there was that it was of no benefit to them.

 

And along this 'train of thought':ohboy:: There are a huge number of grade crossings along the existing FEC. I think there is going to be pushback from local communities about running trains at the speeds the FEC seems to imply in their literature.

 

Speaking of which, I got an update from the FEC with the heading:

All Aboard Florida Means Jobs & Opportunities

 

I thought this paragraph was particularly interesting: (emphasis added}

Equally exciting is the boost for Florida's workforce and economy that the country's first privately owned, operated and maintained intercity passenger rail system will bring.

 

Umm... :unsure: Really? :blink: What was Amtrak formed from?:giggle:

Edited by The Davy Crockett

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Another update

 

It looks like AAF is trickling out the news releases, but my gut says that engaging architects means that the go/no-go report came back positive, or at least isn't leaning towards a negative response.

 

I'm wondering if there are any thoughts on the two firms. I've never heard of either of them, so I don't know if the selections are an indication of cringe-worthy designs or decent ones.

 

Finally...I think there will be a decent amount of "local" (i.e. Floridian) business on the line. It won't be leisure trips, necessarily, but I think there's a leg up to be had on the business side (since you can spend the whole three hours working rather than having blobs of time taken up at security or sitting on the tarmac...not to mention the unreliable nature of south Florida driving). In this vein, I would point out that you have four options with this for a Miami-Orlando business trip:

-Drive. Roughly 4:00 each way, 230-240 miles if you use the Turnpike (plus toll costs). Cost to business: $250-ish in mileage expenses plus tolls (assuming $.56/mile).

-Drive. Roughly 4:20-4:30 each way, 245 miles if you shunpike. Cost to business: $275-ish in mileage expenses plus tolls.

-Fly. Assume 1:00-1:15 en route, 45 minutes for security/check-in/boarding, 15-20 minutes for getting out of the airport/getting a rental car, and about 25 minutes on each end getting to/from the airport. Roughly 3:00 total. Cost: At least $152 (AA's lowest advertised rate) plus car rental.

-Train. 3:00-ish en route, about 10 minutes less travel time to/from the airports. Cost: $100-120 plus car rental based on the estimates I've seen tossed about.

 

So...from what I can tell, the train has a narrow edge on cost over flying and a major one on driving versus billable mileage. I believe that the train is expected to cost around $50-60ish each way.

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It looks like AAF is trickling out the news releases, but my gut says that engaging architects means that the go/no-go report came back positive, or at least isn't leaning towards a negative response.

 

I'm wondering if there are any thoughts on the two firms. I've never heard of either of them, so I don't know if the selections are an indication of cringe-worthy designs or decent ones.

SOM is, as the press release says, a well-established, solid firm. They should do a fine job with a touch of class, though perhaps not with the panache of a starchitect like Calatrava.

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It looks like AAF is trickling out the news releases, but my gut says that engaging architects means that the go/no-go report came back positive, or at least isn't leaning towards a negative response.

 

I'm wondering if there are any thoughts on the two firms. I've never heard of either of them, so I don't know if the selections are an indication of cringe-worthy designs or decent ones.

SOM is, as the press release says, a well-established, solid firm. They should do a fine job with a touch of class, though perhaps not with the panache of a starchitect like Calatrava.

 

That's good to hear. My main concern is always that you get "well established kooks", so to speak...firms that have been around for a while but that throw out some strange designs (such as some of the World Trade Center replacement proposals, including several versions of what was ultimately chosen).

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Finally...I think there will be a decent amount of "local" (i.e. Floridian) business on the line. It won't be leisure trips, necessarily, but I think there's a leg up to be had on the business side (since you can spend the whole three hours working rather than having blobs of time taken up at security or sitting on the tarmac...not to mention the unreliable nature of south Florida driving). In this vein, I would point out that you have four options with this for a Miami-Orlando business trip:

-Drive. Roughly 4:00 each way, 230-240 miles if you use the Turnpike (plus toll costs). Cost to business: $250-ish in mileage expenses plus tolls (assuming $.56/mile).

-Drive. Roughly 4:20-4:30 each way, 245 miles if you shunpike. Cost to business: $275-ish in mileage expenses plus tolls.

-Fly. Assume 1:00-1:15 en route, 45 minutes for security/check-in/boarding, 15-20 minutes for getting out of the airport/getting a rental car, and about 25 minutes on each end getting to/from the airport. Roughly 3:00 total. Cost: At least $152 (AA's lowest advertised rate) plus car rental.

-Train. 3:00-ish en route, about 10 minutes less travel time to/from the airports. Cost: $100-120 plus car rental based on the estimates I've seen tossed about.

 

So...from what I can tell, the train has a narrow edge on cost over flying and a major one on driving versus billable mileage. I believe that the train is expected to cost around $50-60ish each way.

 

If they were really after the 'local' business north of West Palm, they would sacrifice total run time for at least a couple of intermediate stations. Are there 'locals' in South Florida who will use it to get to Orlando and vise-versa? Sure, but having NO stations between West Palm and Orlando is a long stretch of track. It certainly doesn't fill the need for better non-automotive transportation options up and down the east coast of Florida.

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If they were really after the 'local' business north of West Palm, they would sacrifice total run time for at least a couple of intermediate stations. Are there 'locals' in South Florida who will use it to get to Orlando and vise-versa? Sure, but having NO stations between West Palm and Orlando is a long stretch of track. It certainly doesn't fill the need for better non-automotive transportation options up and down the east coast of Florida.

The service is designed to be for travel only from MIA/FLL area to Orlando. It is not designed for local use and it will hardly be used as such for that reason. It is sort of like the Amtrak plan for the Super Express service on the NEC serving only Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Not meant for local travel. Fortunately NEC has lots of other options, and will have even more options going forward. Unfortunately, apparently Florida will have no other options. So people will just continue to use cars.

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If they were really after the 'local' business north of West Palm, they would sacrifice total run time for at least a couple of intermediate stations. Are there 'locals' in South Florida who will use it to get to Orlando and vise-versa? Sure, but having NO stations between West Palm and Orlando is a long stretch of track. It certainly doesn't fill the need for better non-automotive transportation options up and down the east coast of Florida.

The service is designed to be for travel only from MIA/FLL area to Orlando. It is not designed for local use and it will hardly be used as such for that reason. It is sort of like the Amtrak plan for the Super Express service on the NEC serving only Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Not meant for local travel. Fortunately NEC has lots of other options, and will have even more options going forward. Unfortunately, apparently Florida will have no other options. So people will just continue to use cars.

 

Yes and no. It depends on what happens with the Amtrak FEC plans in particular. I know there's also substantial speculation on a Cocoa station (either now or once the project starts moving along...it is probably going to be necessary if they extend the plans to Jacksonville). A distinct possibility is that FEC does the longer-distance travel while Amtrak handles the local stuff on both Silvers running down the corridor and/or an added corridor train or two. I'm willing to speculate that FEC doing service to Orlando might actually help Amtrak in this regard. Of course, God help everyone involved if Amtrak's operations on the line are substantially profitable...if I had to guess, Silvers aside that will trigger a real food fight since FEC is going to want those profits for themselves and you'll at least get a war over access fees.

 

The other thing: If business is brisk enough (always a big "if"), once Amtrak fires up their service at FEC-owned stations (presuming they do) it seems possible that FEC might add one or two stops along there into a few schedules (not unlike the Acelas that add, for example, Metropark or Trenton). This is probably going to require the operation to be profitable and them to be willing to swap about 10-12 minutes on runtime (for two added stops, for example), but it seems quite possible as a trick for "off hour" trains. This strikes me as more of a possibility if they go for the Jacksonville extension, however.

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If they were really after the 'local' business north of West Palm, they would sacrifice total run time for at least a couple of intermediate stations. Are there 'locals' in South Florida who will use it to get to Orlando and vise-versa? Sure, but having NO stations between West Palm and Orlando is a long stretch of track. It certainly doesn't fill the need for better non-automotive transportation options up and down the east coast of Florida.

The service is designed to be for travel only from MIA/FLL area to Orlando. It is not designed for local use and it will hardly be used as such for that reason. It is sort of like the Amtrak plan for the Super Express service on the NEC serving only Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Not meant for local travel. Fortunately NEC has lots of other options, and will have even more options going forward. Unfortunately, apparently Florida will have no other options. So people will just continue to use cars.

It is not necessary or even desirable that all trains make all stops. If you look at the Taiwan high speed railway as an example, 210 miles end to end: Every hour there is a one-stop train, an all stops north of Taichung, no intermedate stops south, an express to Taichung, then all all stops south, then an all stops train. The fastest, 1:35, the slowest 2 hours flat.

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It is not necessary or even desirable that all trains make all stops. If you look at the Taiwan high speed railway as an example, 210 miles end to end: Every hour there is a one-stop train, an all stops north of Taichung, no intermedate stops south, an express to Taichung, then all all stops south, then an all stops train. The fastest, 1:35, the slowest 2 hours flat.

I agree. However, FEC plans at present do not call for such. They mention only three stops for whatever service. That is what I was commenting on.

 

As for Amtrak may or may not do etc. I have no clue. But my point was that the currently planned FEC service is not designed to serve areas like Brevard or Indian River County at all. No stops between WPB and Orlando planned as of this moment. Of course all that could change, but I don't have a clear enough Crystal Ball to comment on that at present.

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It is not necessary or even desirable that all trains make all stops. If you look at the Taiwan high speed railway as an example, 210 miles end to end: Every hour there is a one-stop train, an all stops north of Taichung, no intermedate stops south, an express to Taichung, then all all stops south, then an all stops train. The fastest, 1:35, the slowest 2 hours flat.

I agree. However, FEC plans at present do not call for such. They mention only three stops for whatever service. That is what I was commenting on.

 

As for Amtrak may or may not do etc. I have no clue. But my point was that the currently planned FEC service is not designed to serve areas like Brevard or Indian River County at all. No stops between WPB and Orlando planned as of this moment. Of course all that could change, but I don't have a clear enough Crystal Ball to comment on that at present.

 

My understanding with the FEC's plans is that they have been looking into Cocoa as an additional stop. This may or may not happen in the short term; if they are serious about the Jacksonville extension (which is suggested in the plans), I think it will be inevitable so as to allow transfers between ORL-MIA trains and MIA-JAX trains (especially since I suspect that running lots of ORL-JAX trains in addition to the other two sets might be inefficient...not that there won't be any, but I don't think there would be the business for a dedicated hourly service on both lines at the moment).

 

I suspect that the best argument against lots of stops, at least on the first batches of trains, is avoiding short-distance traffic crowding out long-distance traffic. Density and traffic are likely such that at least on the "first go", traffic from Miami to various locations along the coast could block out MIA-ORL traffic.

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I suspect that the best argument against lots of stops, at least on the first batches of trains, is avoiding short-distance traffic crowding out long-distance traffic. Density and traffic are likely such that at least on the "first go", traffic from Miami to various locations along the coast could block out MIA-ORL traffic.

A capable outfit manages such things by managing inventory. Not by simply not stopping at all.

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