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Have not read all 107 pages, but why do Brightline cars need a sliding plank to bridge the gap to the platform? The Amfleet and VL cars on the NEC do not have this problem.

Are the platforms set further back to allow freight trains to pass through the stations?

 

Not really. Even at level boarding stations generally Amtrak trains require a bridge plate for wheelchairs. Brightline's gap filler eliminates that need. You can literally just roll on or roll off a wheelchair as soon as the door opens. People who can walk normally can walk across the gap, if the filler were absent as easily as they do all the time at say Newark Penn Station.

 

All Brightline stations have a freight bypass track for unusual loads that do not fit the standard loading gauge. The platforms are designed to accommodate all standard loading gauges. According to the guys planning all extensions all stations will be designed with a freight bypass track wherever there is the possibility of a freight train passing through the station.

Edited by jis

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Have not read all 107 pages, but why do Brightline cars need a sliding plank to bridge the gap to the platform? The Amfleet and VL cars on the NEC do not have this problem.

Are the platforms set further back to allow freight trains to pass through the stations?

 

Not really. Even at level boarding stations generally Amtrak trains require a bridge plate for wheelchairs. Brightline's gap filler eliminates that need. You can literally just roll on or roll off a wheelchair as soon as the door opens. People who can walk normally can walk across the gap, if the filler were absent as easily as they do all the time at say Newark Penn Station.

 

All Brightline stations have a freight bypass track for unusual loads that do not fit the standard loading gauge. The platforms are designed to accommodate all standard loading gauges. According to the guys planning all extensions all stations will be designed with a freight bypass track wherever there is the possibility of a freight train passing through the station.

 

 

This sounds as if it's only the unusual loads that are the problem, in other words, most "normal" freight cars don't conflict with Brightline platforms.

 

Have I understood this correctly?

 

Any idea, roughly, what percentage of freight trains would be considered to have unusual loads?

 

Unfortnately I cannot find the link now. But I once read a web page about a railroad tunnel in Germany (I think?) that was normally a double track tunnel. But for the purpose of moving exceptional loads a third track had been added down the middle later. Of course that track could only be used when the other two tracks were out of use. I guess it was only rarely required. i think they use it to bring large transformers and other gear to a power plant..

Edited by cirdan

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FEC does not use Gauntlet tracks at the Brightline stations. They have a track that bypasses the station. Typically there are three tracks at each run through station with an island platform between two tracks and no platform on the third track.

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Given that you are starting brand new service with brand new trains and brand new stations, it makes sense to spend a few bucks to eliminate gaps not only for wheelchairs but for others with canes or walkers (this IS Florida, you know) and those that just aren't paying close attention or who have hungry lawyers.

Edited by me_little_me

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I just saw this: https://www.thenextmiami.com/to-meet-demand-brightline-is-adding-a-lot-more-trains/

 

If they are only earning $670k every three months, that's only $2.6M/yr. That needs to increase by a factor of 30 to meet their $77M/yr plan. :o

 

Do they have that much excess capacity and/or ticket price demand availability?

Edited by VentureForth

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That was before the price increase and service to Miami. Let's see how the rest of the year plays out.

I get that it was the introductory quarter. One not expecting immediate profit. I know I'll see growth. But the question is, 30x?

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Amtrak doesn't have this problem on the NEC, but NJ Transit certainly does. When I get on at Princeton Junction, for example, I have to climb up into the train over a gap, with no handrail close to the door to hang on to. So it seems to me that Brightline is taking care of a problem like that at stations with a similar gap before an accident can happen.

 

A typical problem with legacy systems. Every piece of equipment needs to be compatible to the oldest piece of infrastructure still in use at the time that that piece of equipment was being designed, and with equipment types being produced over many years, and lasting many more years, there are loads of legacy compromises being carried forward.

 

Brightline had the opportunity of designing everything from scratch and could so achieve uniform dimensions for platforms and taylor the doors to that.

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The FEC has said that it would re-route its through freights over to the Tri rail ex Seaboard line as far as West Palm Beach. Have they done this yet?

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The FEC has said that it would re-route its through freights over to the Tri rail ex Seaboard line as far as West Palm Beach. Have they done this yet?

No. They have not rerouted anything yet and have not mentioned any timeline for such either. The only Tri-Rail to FEC/AAF transfer that has a timeline (early to mid 2019) is Tri-Rail serving Miami Central station in the downtown.

 

At present it is impossible to get from Tr-Rail to FECR northbound at West Palm Beach. Only Tr-Rail/CSX/Amtrak can get to FECR southbound just south of Mangonia Park. So any FECR freight rerouting is at best several years away, even if the could get FECR freights from their Hialeah Yard somehow onto Tri-Rail in Hialeah.

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The FEC has said that it would re-route its through freights over to the Tri rail ex Seaboard line as far as West Palm Beach. Have they done this yet?

 

Doesn't that mean all freights?

 

Or are there any local freight spurs stll being served along that section?

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There are a number of local industries on the FEC in South Florida. In addition, a couple of freights either originate/terminate in Fort Lauderdale, or at least set off. There is also a train that sets off at the Port of Palm Beach, but that is north of the refurbished crossover.

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So, a few points:
(1) The $77m is EBITDA, not revenue. Overall revenue is pegged to be at $142m. However, 24% of that is supposed to come from "external" sources (station revenue, parking, advertising, etc.). I suspect this includes access fees for Tri-Rail. That leaves $108m to come from ticket sales.
(2) $108m/yr in ticket revenue over 2.94m tickets comes to an average ticket price of $36.73 (versus the "starting" $9.04 in March). This feels a bit high, but not entirely unreasonable. My guess, based on existing fares, is an average price of somewhere around $18-20 for Smart and $50 for Select. Compare this to the current revenue numbers (a bit under $10/passenger), which were burdened by both the short run (WPB-FLL only) and introductory fare rates.

So, moving back to "Where we are now", 2.94m pax/yr equals 245k pax/month (on average). Let's call it 250k/month. We are presently at 32,900 pax for March (about 13% of the intended amount), albeit in something a bit above a "half schedule". That, in particular, should improve things.

In theory, the plan would be to quadruple per-passenger revenue...but bear in mind that there is a good chance that simply adding Miami and nudging fares up to start with will roughly double this for June (May will be a little wonky for obvious reasons...there will be something like 10,000 tickets averaging about $4 apiece in the mix from the MIA opening weekend, so PPR will be sandbagged by a few dollars as a result).

By the way, my guess is that we'll wind up somewhere in the ballpark of 100-120k pax/month from August forward (with a full hourly schedule in place WPB-MIA). I don't think this is too out-of-sorts compared with the March numbers.

As to pricing, my guess is that Brightline is going to use a slow shift to "actual" dynamic pricing (raising prices on close-to-last-minute tickets on near-sold-out trains and then adjusting from there). My read is also that the end-to-end coach rate won't be 75% of the business class rate...it's more likely to be 50-65% of it (so, at $65 for business you'd be looking at coach between $30 and $45).

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Thanks for the link, Jis. I think that's just a reference to the expansion the hourly service that's been circulating for a few weeks, but I'm glad they feel comfortable charging for parking now... That does speak to a strengthening bottom line with this.

 

By the way, does anybody know when we should expect second-quarter ridership results?

Edited by Anderson

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http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/High-speed-rail-firm-scouting-land-for-station-and-development-around-proposed-Rays-ballpark-site_170561134

 

It seems Brightline has been busy behind the scenes here in Tampa. They are already looking at various properties around downtown Tampa and near Ybor City for their station. Two of the properties are close to the old train station and more importantly, close to Channelside and Ybor City. There is a lot of planned development near these locations. I wonder how they will get to this area from I-4? That last mile will be interesting to see where there come off of I-4. In the article I linked to, it is stated that Brightline has already spent a lot of effort determining the route to the station. The other potential location being looked at is near I-275 on the site that the old HSR project had its station planned.

 

I wonder if Brightline knows something about the bid process for the ROW that no one else does? They seem quite confident in being able to get financing for phase 2 to Orlando in order to even plan for phase 3 now. I wonder what the opponents on the Treasure Coast think of all this? Haha

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The opponents on the Treasure Coast "think"? :unsure:

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Actually, I think the cause and effect here are (oddly) upside down: Orlando-Tampa ("Orlampa") should actually "force the issue" on West Palm-Orlando. If Brightline has clearance to build Orlampa, the combined Miami-West Palm-Orlando-Tampa operation is likely to be on sturdier footing than just Miami-West Palm-Orlando.

Now, for a fun question: Presuming that this doesn't cost more than the HSR operation would have, does Orlampa work on its own? Obviously there's the potential for a substantial real estate angle, and the exact routing opens up some doors for something over by Disney (something I suspect Disney will work with, even if potentially with some reluctance), but I'm wondering just how the financial dynamics are likely to play out here.

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Anderson, the Tampa-Orlando section might not work on its own but would be very close to being profitable. The number of trips between the two metro areas IIRC is around 100M per year. That is partly why the HSR companies that bid on the cancelled project claimed they could cover the cost to run it back in 2010. I agree that adding Tampa does strengthen the whole network and will add passengers and revenue, at least more than enough to cover the cost of building the extension! The key will be the RE development in Tampa around the station. There is so much being built in downtown now, that by the time Brightline gets here, the downtown area will not look anything like it does today.

 

If AAF can find the right property in downtown Tampa, it would be second to Miami in development potential. This is why I have always said Tampa would be built before an extension to Jacksonville.

 

I'm not sure if AAF would build a station so close to the airport station. That might impact revenue if the trains are filled with local trips between MCO and Disney World versus longer, more expensive trips to and from Tampa and the rest of the system. It also depends on if AAF chooses 528 or 417 as the route to get to I-4 from MCO. At 4 hours to Miami from Tampa, AAF would get business as that drive is not good on I-75. In perfect traffic, Tampa to Miami is 4.5 hours possibly 5+ hours with traffic in Miami on the 836 and 826.

Edited by Brian_tampa

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Brian - two thoughts about previous posts.

 

It would seem that the Tampa Park Apartments would be the catbird seat. Of course that depends on how much surrounding property they could snatch up and at what prices. If they did, it would seem departing I4 at 12th and then south along Nuccio wouldnt be as painful as TUS. The apartments are having big problems and it would give Brightline the chance to build a modern station matching the others. I would love to go over and have Ybor, new Rays stadium, Channelside... all so close!

 

Second (and as a TWDC engineer this is only my personal opinion) - if there was a Disney area station...why not a convention center/I drive station (like other HSR,maglev etc wanted) and have an alternate local stopping train or even a local set.

 

I love thinking about this stuff and I am thrilled that Brightline is moving forward quickly.

Edited by Scott Orlando

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