Brightline/Virgin Trains (FEC) Update

Discussion in 'High Speed and Other Non-Amtrak Intercity Rail' started by Anderson, Jun 5, 2012.

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  1. Nov 5, 2019 #2626

    jis

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    jis

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    I think hell might freeze over before Amtrak uses MiamiCentral. They haven’t even been able to use MIC at the Airport yet in five years, which has a platform dedicated for Amtrak service. MiamiCentral at present has no platform suitable for Amtrak service given the operating plans of Brightline and TriRail.
     
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  2. Nov 5, 2019 #2627

    jis

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    Amtrak uses bridge plates at Oklahoma City for Superliners on Superliner level platforms too.

    It is certainly not an insurmountable problem.

    Also gap between platform and train is certainly almost as large at places like Metropark, specially on track 4, and currently no bridge plates are used there.
     
  3. Nov 5, 2019 #2628

    railiner

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    On the Alaska RR, there is a baggage car, but when large cruise ship groups ride, they usually use a truck(s) to take the checked bags directly to/from the ships...
     
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  4. Nov 5, 2019 #2629

    chrsjrcj

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    There is a crew only area at the b-end of coach 4. I believe that is where the luggage carts are placed.
     
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  5. Nov 6, 2019 #2630

    railiner

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    I am not familiar with Brightline consist’s...is “coach 4” at the end of the train, or is it in the middle, possibly blocking passenger pass-through?
     
  6. Nov 6, 2019 #2631

    chrsjrcj

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    Coach 4 is at the north end. Coach 1 (Select) is at the south end. The b end of the coach is the end without the bathroom. On both coach 1 and 4 the b end is closest to the locomotive. The b end on coach 2 and 3 face each other and are in the middle of the trainset (with walk through access).
     
  7. Nov 12, 2019 #2632

    pennyk

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    November 10th editorial in Sun Sentinel: Brightline's expansion threatens affordabale, accessible commuter rail

    https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinio...0191110-mljtto2knnaa5nifi2b2shdpbq-story.html
     
  8. Nov 12, 2019 #2633

    jis

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    It is not Brightline expansion, it is the very existence of Brightline and the underlying contracts between FECR and Brightline that impacts Tri-Rail Coastal. Brightline has the first right of refusal on any passenger service on FECR trackage, and will almost certainly ask for additional infrastructure to handle frequent slow stopping commuter trains to keep them from impacting the higher speed service. This has been a well known fact for three years now, so it is kind of strange for people to suddenly start talking about it. I guess they were not paying attention when it happened.

    There is also the added pesky issue that Tri-Rail will require separate platform tracks from Brightline and stations which will be served by both Brightline and Tri-Rail due to platform height differences - so more cost that Brightline will not bear I am sure.

    BTW, here is another vaguely related article... regarding the issue of gentrification - poorer people getting displaced due to construction of more expensive properties along a corridor with improving transportation infrastructure.

    https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/preserving-affordability-along-floridas-brightline-rail-corridor
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
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  9. Nov 12, 2019 #2634

    Pere Flyer

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    It also sounds like a good reason for Tri-Rail to convert to high level equipment.
    This situation demonstrates the difference between adding passenger service to a freight line and adding service to an existing passenger line. Where a freight RR’s infrastructure requests might be outlandish (see UP’s response to a daily SL), a passenger RR’s are likely required to maintain current service to those whom the additional trains will serve. From my uninformed vantage point it looks like the status quo will result in local service expansion done right.
     
  10. Nov 12, 2019 #2635

    chrsjrcj

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    I rode Tri-Rail yesterday, and on one trip I believe I witnessed around 6 or 7 people who needed to use the accessible ramp to board/detrain. This adds some time as the train must be appropriately spotted on the platform, plus the conductor must secure the ramp in addition to other duties. In one case, a group with a wheelchair, likely riding for the first time, were not standing in the correct spot for boarding which added even more dwell time.

    Ideally, Tri-Rail would use level boarding, but it would require modifications to all stations and make their recently acquired Hyundai-Rotem cars obsolete (I personally think the days of the Bombardier cars are numbered, sadly).

    Supposedly, Brightline left room at their existing stations (and are expected to leave room at the new Boca and Aventura stations) for future Tri-Rail service.
     
  11. Nov 13, 2019 #2636

    Brian_tampa

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    The GOAA (Orlando airport) monthly board meeting agenda for tomorrow has an agenda item of interest to us who follow Brightline/Virgin. Item Y is an amendment to the Rail Line Easement Agreement that extends the completion date out to April 2029. See attached agenda document on page 63. Here is the Issue:

    The Rail Company desires to defer the construction of a portion of the rail project, which includes a third set of rail tracks through the rail station building, and a second set of tracks between the rail station building and the vehicle maintenance facility. The Rail Company requests that the Aviation Authority amend the Temporary Construction License to be extended for an additional four (4) year period, specifically to allow Rail Company to complete these deferred components of the rail project. Rail Company indicates that it will be able to operate its Rail Transportation Business upon opening without the deferred infrastructure and it is not currently planning any reduction in operations as a result of deferring the infrastructure.
    Rail Company has agreed to fund any additional Aviation Authority construction oversight costs associated with an extended timeframe for the deferred scope.


    My best guess is this is linked to the extended period of ongoing negotiations for the ROW lease agreements with FDOT and CFX (I-4 and SR417 respectively). I can imagine there are certain construction issues that can't be overcome easily when planning to build a rail line through two active road expansion projects. The I-4 Ultimate project will not be completed until after 2025 for the section west of Sand Lake Rd. out to US 27. This is due to funding not being available from FDOT until 2021 or so. The SR417 project has yet to be designed so that is also 3-5 years away from completion.

    I think all parties might have concluded it is not possible to effectively build the rail project until the road projects are mostly underway or completed. The 4 year extension would give them the time to build phase 3 to Tampa between 2025 and 2029. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    EDIT: I forgot about the planned toll express lanes to be built along I-4 in Hillsborough County between downtown Tampa to east of Plant City. The proposed design will require a section of single track around Plant City as the ROW is not wide enough there. This additional project just adds to the complexity of construction scheduling and design integration of the various projects.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  12. Nov 13, 2019 #2637

    cirdan

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    It's maybe not quite as bad as all that.

    Brightline has gated platforms and seeing Tri-Rail has a different fares structure, you wouldn't want people buying the cheaper ticket and then boarding the more expensive service, so some separation of platforms and platform access will be necessary, regardless of whether the trains and platforms are actually compatible.
     
  13. Nov 13, 2019 #2638

    cocojacoby

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    I always wondered why Brightline went with high-level platforms when everything else in Florida is low level. How much money would they have saved if they went this route? Stations would be cheaper to construct and those expensive long freight bypasses would have been eliminated. The one foot gap extensions would have been adequate to allow operation of both freight and passenger trains through low-platform stations. Tri-Rail could have used the same station platforms and there would be no need for double platform stations.
     
  14. Nov 13, 2019 #2639

    railiner

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    It’s too bad that the Tri-Rail and Brightline routes couldn't have been “swapped”...
    That way, the better located FEC route would be closer for transit use, while Brightline’s regional service wouldn’t matter so much, to travelers.
    I suppose that FEC’s route is more valuable, from a real estate aspect, so there’s no chance of that easily happening...
     
  15. Nov 13, 2019 #2640

    jamess

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    Id argue that marketing is to play. High level trains looks more modern and fancy.
     
  16. Nov 13, 2019 #2641

    chrsjrcj

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    I rarely see freight trains use the bypass now, I think it was mainly constructed as a bypass around actual station construction and the occasional wideload. I don't know the costs of constructing a high level platform vs a low level platform, but the high level platforms are far more accessible to seniors/people with disabilities than low level platforms. Even general boarding is far faster than having to climb up steps.

    As far as Tri-Rail compatibility, I maintain the belief that Brightline wants to operate Coastal Link and have no intention to allow Tri-Rail on their property other than MiamCentral (which Tri-Rail help pay for).
     
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  17. Nov 13, 2019 #2642

    Brian_tampa

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    I have heard of FECR trains using the bypass if the station tracks have trains on each track. But that isn't common at all. I think the original stated purpose was for high/wide load usage (as well as for during construction of the stations). The Boca Raton (very) preliminary design drawing I saw (it was on a local Boca or Broward news website last week) appears to show just one station track with platforms on either side - leaving the other track available for high/wide loads and as a bypass when trains are at the station. I didn't see an overhead pedestrian bridge to get to the island platform, however. I don't remember if there are universal crossovers north and south of the Boca raton station site that would allow for operational efficiencies.

    Also, with high level boarding every door can open unlike most Amtrak trains where the number of open doors is limited due to the number of attendants (and due to safety reasons requiring attendants at each open door to assist passengers up/down). Having all doors open also makes boarding quicker.
     
  18. Nov 14, 2019 #2643

    cocojacoby

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    And how are they going to get there?
     
  19. Nov 14, 2019 #2644

    cocojacoby

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    I don't quite understand why they would ever want to have a longer slower freight train pass a "high-speed" passenger train.
     
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  20. Nov 14, 2019 #2645

    Brian_tampa

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    As part of the Brightline phase 1 project, they have installed double track with universal crossovers every 8 or 10 miles (WPB to Miami is maybe 70 miles long), so lots of places to go around trains. That will be the same for phase 2 between WPB and Cocoa on the FECR. So it is easy for them to dispatch the Brightline trains around slower freight trains. Unlike Amtrak, Brightline owns 50% of the dispatching service company along with FECR. There are no issues with priority of traffic or OTP, unlike at other class 1 railroads where they mostly seem to screw over Amtrak (there are 1 or 2 exceptions I know). In fact, the agreement with the dispatch company has OTP goals for both Brightline and FECR trains with regular meetings to review performance!

    EDIT: Also unlike Amtrak, Brightline pays their fair share to maintain the track to 79mph MAS class 4 service (as well as 110mph MAS class 6 service for phase 2). This includes the PTC/signals and crossing protection as well as the track infrastructure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  21. Nov 14, 2019 #2646

    MikefromCrete

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    It you're going to build a passenger system from scratch, which Brightline/Virgin is doing, then you work to correct problems with existing system. The high platforms are passenger friendly and meet ADA requirements. They ensure that stops can be accomplished in a faster and safer manner. With automatic doors, all doors can open at all stations, not just a couple requiring manual work by the crew. Not using high level platforms would be a big mistake.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
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  22. Nov 14, 2019 #2647

    jis

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  23. Nov 15, 2019 #2648

    cocojacoby

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    No reason that a new state-of-the-art double-deck train couldn't have automatic doors, gap fillers and everything necessary to offer quick ADA-compliant boarding at low level platforms.
     
  24. Nov 15, 2019 #2649

    jis

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    Conversely, there is no reason they could not have vestibules at high platform level. Afterall most double decker commuter rolling stack has the mid level and the inter-car walkway is usually at the mid level

    Actually, ironically the requirements that are placed on low level platforms by freight railroads makes for a complex situation. The level boarding platform has to be set back quite a bit. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the easiest way is to simply use gauntlet track at platform to allow passenger trains to have truly level boarding, shades of the same issue as high level platform.
     
  25. Nov 16, 2019 #2650

    jiml

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    Wow, there's a term from the past. I remember learning it as gantlet, although the current spelling is more descriptive - as in "running the". I recall reading somewhere that this was considered as an option when the Southern California Sprinter service was inaugurated, but they went with platform ramps instead. Any examples where these tracks are still in use? I would presume the cost of switching them to and from "live" would be a disincentive in today's reality.
     

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