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On the consist:

Right now, the trains are four cars. Two locos is probably overkill for that (though it means there's one working if the other dies on you), but the plans are to have trains get up to about 8-9 cars (I don't think there are plans for the trains to be any longer). At that point, I think there's at least some case to be had that better acceleration is to be had with the second loco.

So they think that it will make sense in the future to more than double capacity on each train? Why not just run more four car trains?

 

Basics of railroading: economies of scale. It's a *lot* cheaper to run one eight-car train than to run two four-car trains. (I'm actually surprised they aren't planning ahead for sixteen-car trains, but it may have been too hard to squeeze long platforms into their design, particularly at Miami.)

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Timing is an issue. They still need to get freights through. I long to see the day capacity requires 8 double deckers.

 

Dallas underestimated the popularity of DART and thus some lines will never accommodate more than 2-car trains.

Never say never; I've seen large sections of light rail lines rebuilt at massive expense less than 10 years after initial construction, simply to lengthen platforms. You can expect Dallas to do so at some point.

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Timing is an issue. They still need to get freights through. I long to see the day capacity requires 8 double deckers.

 

Dallas underestimated the popularity of DART and thus some lines will never accommodate more than 2-car trains.

Never say never; I've seen large sections of light rail lines rebuilt at massive expense less than 10 years after initial construction, simply to lengthen platforms. You can expect Dallas to do so at some point.

 

 

Actually, speaking from memory here, the underground sttaions on DART do seem to have long platforms, so were presumably designed with future proofing.

 

Extending the on surface platforms shouldn't be excessively expensive (a handful of special cases aside - such as the stops on bridges or viaducts).

 

In this respect one shouldn't forget that everything has an expected or nomibal lifetime. So accountants will depreciate the cost of, say, a platform over 30 years. If you are expecting a longer platform to be justified after say, 25 years, then it makes more sense from an accountancy point of view of making do with the short one iniitially and then going for a longer one when the time comes.

 

With the oldest parts of DART now well over 20 years old and slowly beginning to feel the squeeze, I don't think its appropriate to say the initial system was under-dimesioned. Rather, it (or vital components thereof) are reaching the end of their designed lifecycle and presenting an opportunity to be rebuilt in a more high capacity form.

Edited by cirdan

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Timing is an issue. They still need to get freights through. I long to see the day capacity requires 8 double deckers.

 

Dallas underestimated the popularity of DART and thus some lines will never accommodate more than 2-car trains.

Never say never; I've seen large sections of light rail lines rebuilt at massive expense less than 10 years after initial construction, simply to lengthen platforms. You can expect Dallas to do so at some point.

Actually, speaking from memory here, the underground sttaions on DART do seem to have long platforms, so were presumably designed with future proofing.

 

Extending the on surface platforms shouldn't be excessively expensive (a handful of special cases aside - such as the stops on bridges or viaducts).

 

In this respect one shouldn't forget that everything has an expected or nomibal lifetime. So accountants will depreciate the cost of, say, a platform over 30 years. If you are expecting a longer platform to be justified after say, 25 years, then it makes more sense from an accountancy point of view of making do with the short one iniitially and then going for a longer one when the time comes.

 

With the oldest parts of DART now well over 20 years old and slowly beginning to feel the squeeze, I don't think its appropriate to say the initial system was under-dimesioned. Rather, it (or vital components thereof) are reaching the end of their designed lifecycle and presenting an opportunity to be rebuilt in a more high capacity form.

So, a refresher, the DART consists have changed over the years. Initially, what was called a 2-car train was actually two sets of articulated pairs. Around 15 years ago, they added a shorter accessible section to each, now, articulated trio. So, in a sense, they did increase capacity by adding that section to the consist. Now, a two car train consists of 6 sections.

 

Here's the interesting part. City Place station, the only underground station in Texas, can, indeed, accommodate a train with 3 articulated trios - a 3-car train. However, the very next station to the North, Mockingbird, can only accommodate a two car train. Mockingbird is a trench-cut station where converging lines come together. Can't expand to the North because of the switches, can't easily expand to the South because of the subway tunnels, though that would be the way to go.

 

I can't recall how long the status are in The downtown area where platforms are limited by the length of City blocks. But whereas at the trains go through downtown, three of the four lines go through both City Place AND Mockingbird. Sometimes the head way between trains is less than 5 minutes. So, they've certainly made expansion a big challenge.

 

Brightline certainly had a long way to go before meeting capacity, but they also have a lot of choices as to how they meet future demand.

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On the consist:

Right now, the trains are four cars. Two locos is probably overkill for that (though it means there's one working if the other dies on you), but the plans are to have trains get up to about 8-9 cars (I don't think there are plans for the trains to be any longer). At that point, I think there's at least some case to be had that better acceleration is to be had with the second loco.

So they think that it will make sense in the future to more than double capacity on each train? Why not just run more four car trains?

Basics of railroading: economies of scale. It's a *lot* cheaper to run one eight-car train than to run two four-car trains. (I'm actually surprised they aren't planning ahead for sixteen-car trains, but it may have been too hard to squeeze long platforms into their design, particularly at Miami.)

But if you run two four car trains instead of one eight car train, you get more departures and times, and no platform constraints. Is it just the fact that you need more people to run two four car trains that makes it more expensive?

Edited by cpotisch

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On the consist:

Right now, the trains are four cars. Two locos is probably overkill for that (though it means there's one working if the other dies on you), but the plans are to have trains get up to about 8-9 cars (I don't think there are plans for the trains to be any longer). At that point, I think there's at least some case to be had that better acceleration is to be had with the second loco.

So they think that it will make sense in the future to more than double capacity on each train? Why not just run more four car trains?
Basics of railroading: economies of scale. It's a *lot* cheaper to run one eight-car train than to run two four-car trains. (I'm actually surprised they aren't planning ahead for sixteen-car trains, but it may have been too hard to squeeze long platforms into their design, particularly at Miami.)
But if you run two four car trains instead of one eight car train, you get more departures and times, and no platform constraints. Is it just the fact that you need more people to run two four car trains that makes it more expensive?
Increased fuel and increased wear on the infrastructure. If you add 4 cars but only fill one of the extra cars, you probably have made more money than that same load on a separate train. Now a lot of this assuming you don't have to add an extra locomotive to the current train.

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Brightline built platforms 4 trains that are either 9 or 11 cars long... I forget which. I think there is a fairly strong case that if they are to the point that they can pack a train that long and then some, it makes more sense to run extra trains at peak hours.

 

Don't forget that Brightline is using more or less fixed consist equipment. So if they are running an 11 car train at rush hour, they are also running an 11 car train at 11 at night.

 

Bear in mind that running a second train per hour also allows them to run two seperate timetables with different stopping patterns, and or facilitates separate trains running to Jacksonville. On top of all that, at two or three trains per hour at peak hours, you start facilitating extreme convenience in terms of walking up and getting your ticket. That cannot help but help drive ridership.

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It is 11 cars. They plan to run 10 cars initially on the Orlando service.

 

Bear in mind that the Coastal Commuter Service is still Brightline’s and that will likely cover upto Jupiter at least, if not further, with a separate class of service, possibly subsidized by the trio of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties with some funding possibly from FDOT.

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Bear in mind that running a second train per hour also allows them to run two seperate timetables with different stopping patterns, and or facilitates separate trains running to Jacksonville. On top of all that, at two or three trains per hour at peak hours, you start facilitating extreme convenience in terms of walking up and getting your ticket. That cannot help but help drive ridership.

Thank you! That is exactly what I was trying to say.

 

So could a single SCB-40 haul a four or five car train at 125 mph?

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I'm not familiar with the specs, but I think that's probably the case.

 

I wasn't familiar with the "ten cars to Orlando" plan, but the plan has changed a few times. I think the earliest plan I heard was to start at seven cars and then go to nine, but ten to eleven cars is totally reasonable.

 

While I can see some benefit to getting longer trains in the long run, I'm inclined to favour adding trains at that point...

 

...and yes, I know there's a separate commuter service in play as well. I'm looking forward to see how those interact.

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They have a long way to go before they hit capacity issues. For the next three to five years it looks like they will stay within two tph each way for passenger. They really have capacity to go to 4 or 6 tph each way without much extra work beyond what is planned.

 

I don;t see going beyond that outside of Miami Central - West Palm Beach, and perhaps as far as Jupiter with the addition of hourly commuter service for the time being. They don't really have that huge amount of freight traffic either. Maybe six trains or so a day, mostly at night. That could change if miraculously significantly more Panamax traffic decides to come to Miami.

 

Capacity issues can also be influenced by other constraints.

 

For example, when a train comnes into Miami, will it be restocked and cleaned there, or taken elsewhere for that and brough back afterwards?

 

One decision can make platforms your limiting factor, another decison economizes on platform capacity but the extra movements may eat into track capacity. Especially considering that station throats are typically choke points and a major cause of minor delays. You end up having to pay for it one way or the other.

 

Or will all stocking and cleaning be done from the outer end so that trains come into Miami leave again as soon as possible? That might imply having multiple service points, which may be less economical due to duplicated capacity.

 

These matters aside, I think that if you start running half hourly services, it really is most economic to have continuous double track so that you can minimize the knock on effects of one train running late on other trains.

Edited by cirdan

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There is no servicing yard in Miami, so trains won’t be taken anywhere.

 

At WPB trains that are taken out of service goes to the maintenance facility and are replaced by serviced trains. So any restocking/cleaning is done in the station at both ends.

 

It is continuous double track with triple track at stations.

 

North of WPB there will be a few short single track sections.

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There is no servicing yard in Miami, so trains won’t be taken anywhere.

 

At WPB trains that are taken out of service goes to the maintenance facility and are replaced by serviced trains. So any restocking/cleaning is done in the station at both ends.

 

It is continuous double track with triple track at stations.

 

North of WPB there will be a few short single track sections.

Thinking this through, depending on where the numbers shake out, it seems quite probable that at least some trains will end up running WPB-MIA-ORL or v-v for operational reasons (at a bare minimum, sending the first train or two out of Miami at a reasonably early hour or not needing to return the last train all the way to Orlando...a hypothetical 0400 departure from ORL couldn't safely make it back until 1100, while a 2000 departure from Orlando wouldn't be able to make it back until something like 0300). Of course, it also seems plausible that one set will just end up parked at Miami overnight so Brightline isn't stuck running multiple "wacky hour" trains (either in revenue service or not).

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Theoretically, they could park upto three trains in MiamiCentral, for the early morning departures and that should be almost sufficient for smooth operations through the day.

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Point. Presuming they wanted to start operations at 0600(ish) and were still planning to initiate at least an 0600 train from WPB to Miami (this seems plausible based on early ridership numbers...the 0530 might be solely an "operational" train, but the 0600 has a reasonable amount of business), two trains at MiamiCentral would cover a departure in the 0600 hour and one in the 0700 hour (with the first train in from WPB covering the 0800 slot). My guess is that (equipment problems aside) you don't need a third train in there unless Brightline goes beyond hourly service (e.g. not anytime soon) but the first two cover you on this front.

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So does it seem like Brightline is most used by commuters or leisure travelers, considering it currently terminates in West Palm?

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So does it seem like Brightline is most used by commuters or leisure travelers, considering it currently terminates in West Palm?

Yes to both, I would think, with a mix of business people who live there going to work and people like us out for joy rides. :)

 

Florida has that interesting mix of being a vacation state with tourists, where other people actually live and work. I gather their roads are a total nightmare, too, so one of Brightline's best draws is to try to get commuters to get out of their cars, try the train, and never want to get back in the car. :)

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You also seem to have a decent chunk of riders that are "local leisure" riders on weekends (e.g. folks going into Miami for a game). Brightline has been pushing this in their marketing.

I saw two couples going to West Palm on Sunday, apparently for a birthday celebration.

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On the Sunday evening train from Miami to West Palm the train was quite full in Smart and relatively empty in Select. The number of people with a weekender bag and the amount of checked bags suggested that a lot of people were returning home for the work week from a weekend out in Miami.

 

Or maybe some were trying to avoid Miami Airport by escaping to West Palm Beach Airport.

Edited by jis

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Onward to Tampa!  Brightline submits the sole proposal to lease the ROWs required to get to Tampa. Decision 3 weeks from today. FDOT press release from late today:

 

 

November 7, 2018

Ed Seifert, 850-414-459

Ed.Seifert@dot.state.fl.us

 

Florida Department of Transportation receives proposal to provide intercity passenger rail service between Orlando and Tampa

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Department of Transportation announced today that it has received a single proposal from Brightline in response to the Department’s advertisement for Request for Proposals (RFP).  The RFP for the leasing of rights of way owned by the Department and Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) to provide intercity passenger rail service between Orlando and Tampa was formally advertised on June 22, 2018.

Per section 1.67 of the RFP, the Department and CFX have appointed an evaluation committee to review proposal(s) and make recommendations to the Project Selection Committee. The evaluation committee (otherwise known as the Technical Review Committee) includes: the Department’s Freight and Rail Planning Administrator (Holly Cohen); the Department’s Director of Right of Way (Jim Spalla); and the Central Florida Expressway Authority, Director of Engineering, (Glenn Pressimone).

The proposal(s) will be reviewed by the Technical Review Committee to ensure the submission meets the requirements outlined in the RFP.  Information on proposal evaluation can be found in section 1.14 of the RFP.

Per Section 1.14 of the RFP, the proposal(s) and the Technical Review Committee evaluations will be provided to the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee consists of: the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Engineering and Operations (Brian Blanchard); the Department’s Turnpike Executive Director (Paul Wai); and the Central Florida Expressway Authority Director (Laura Kelley). The Selection Committee will meet on November 28, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. EST.

CFX and the Department’s decision will be posted on the Department’s Procurement website, at http://fdot.gov/procurement/passengerrail.shtm on November 28, 2018 by 4:00 p.m. EST.

www.fdot.gov

 
 

 

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Anyone having trouble booking for 2019?':huh:

I’m trying to see schedules and book for January but after 12/31 (all month) says “SOLD OUT”!

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Here is an article on the Tampa extension proposal. It contains a list of locations being considered in Tampa for the Birghtline station there...

https://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/Brightline-submits-sole-proposal-to-launch-Tampa-to-Orlando-passenger-rail-service_173370126?fbclid=IwAR2eT5wRXSgIO4Ysjeys1QMX1Dcnv_uYdMk6IaQVl5uFfMPmuZNqTHvZdhw

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9 hours ago, the_traveler said:

Anyone having trouble booking for 2019?':huh:

I’m trying to see schedules and book for January but after 12/31 (all month) says “SOLD OUT”!

Have you considered using the chat feature on their website to pose the question to them? :cool:

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