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. Jun 2, 2019 #2451

    me_little_me

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    me_little_me

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    Never underestimate the stupidity of the stupid.
     
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  2. Jun 3, 2019 #2452

    grover5995

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    Service between Chicago-Quad Cities-DesMoines-Omaha-Lincoln would be a nice corridor route, but would require upgrading much of Iowa Interstate tracks.
     
  3. Jun 6, 2019 #2453

    jis

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  4. Jun 11, 2019 at 10:02 PM #2454

    daybeers

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    On the actual ticket page, I found all tickets for all dates were $99 with an $8 fee, making each ticket $107.
     
  5. Jun 11, 2019 at 11:39 PM #2455

    jis

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    That is for the Havana Special.
     
  6. Jun 11, 2019 at 11:42 PM #2456

    daybeers

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    Yes, I know. I should have included this quote above my statement. See below:

    On the actual ticket page, I found all tickets for all dates were $99 with an $8 fee, making each ticket $107.
     
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  7. Jun 12, 2019 at 2:29 PM #2457

    jis

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    Interesting article in Railway Age about VT USA...

    https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/mind-the-widening-gap-amtrak/

    I worry that articles like this resemble the elation of a person crossing a desert that has just seen a mirage. I would be in this mood after Virgin Trains USA manages to get the Los Angeles to Las Vegas thing up and running. Florida is a very unique set of circumstances give the FEC history there and proves nothing about the feasibility of anything outside of Florida using the VT USA model.

    But in so far as it causes Amtrak management to start feeling a little uncomfortable seeing the marketing hype slides from VT USA mentioning many of the corridors that Amtrak ostensibly wants to develop too, so far so good. The customers of passenger rail may win out even if VT USA does not deliver on the entire hype itself.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 4:01 PM
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  8. Jun 12, 2019 at 7:48 PM #2458

    bretton88

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    I suspect some of this negative comparison will die down when Amtrak starts getting their new equipment running. That's most of the experience. Between the Acela 2s and the Siemens cars, the Amtrak experience will look very different in the next few years. Secondly, I think the only way VT gets in on these other corridors is if a state decides to put out their trains for bid, as VT would probably want a subsidy to make it work. It would probably have to be a completely clean sheet too (none of that akward partner bid that IP went into with Amtrak). I just don't see any of these other corridors bring profitable enough for VT to start on their own.
     
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  9. Jun 13, 2019 at 10:22 AM #2459

    cirdan

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    Or maybe even Virgin going after existing corridor contracts as they come up for renewal and offering better terms than Amtrak?
     
  10. Jun 13, 2019 at 1:12 PM #2460

    jis

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    I just spoke with a VT USA senior executive at the FECRS Annual Convention last week. He was quite clear that their plans currently do not include taking on any state contract. That is not their business model.

    They apparently require a few things like at least 10 RT per day, significant control over dispatching, and real estate development opportunities at or close to the stations. They will look at about half a dozen potential beyond Las Vegas and Jacksonville. But realize that even Jacksonville is at least ten years away.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019 at 2:35 PM
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  11. Jun 13, 2019 at 6:02 PM #2461

    bretton88

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    That's more in line with what I'd expect from them and rules out most existing Amtrak corridors.
     
  12. Jun 13, 2019 at 7:55 PM #2462

    Anthony V

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    Virgin Trains USA should consider starting service in Ohio's 3C corridor, as it fits their criteria of too long to drive, too short to fly, and there will be plenty of real estate opportunities for them in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.
     
  13. Jun 13, 2019 at 8:47 PM #2463

    jis

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    Maybe they will after they have established their Florida project to a state of stable profitability and started running the Las Vegas thing. Realistically I don’t see them taking on anything major beyond these until they have positive cashflows from these.

    The Ohio Corridors additionally do not even come remotely close to the Florida and Las Vegas - California Corridors, and it is not clear how they get the sort of dispatching control they require.
     
  14. Jun 14, 2019 at 2:21 PM #2464

    cirdan

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    Let's wait and see.

    Virgin as a company, and especially its rail department, has flip flopped on questions of strategy before.
     
  15. Jun 14, 2019 at 2:55 PM #2465

    jis

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    But this is not the Virgin company that we know from the UK, either the Trains one or the Airline one. Branson has no control, small minority investor, and provider of name under contract for a period of time. The business model is completely different from that of Virgin Trains UK. This is not Virgin Rail Department. This is All Aboard Florida with a spanky new dba marketing name, still firmly owned by FECI. It still is a real estate operation with a railroad attached. I think many are missing that and juxtaposing whatever happened in the UK on this just because of the name.

    Of course no one can tell what will happen in the future, but all indications at present are that the US railfans are so elated by one maybe success of a passenger system that they are busily counting the chicken even before any eggs have been laid. Just IMHO of course. The only thing that is certain at present is the Florida operations and possibly the California/Nevada ones. Only those eggs have been laid so far.
     
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