- Apr 9, 2015
If they do so with a few dozen billion dollars commitment. Sure
Why? The NEC is orders of magnitude larger and more expensive to operate than everything Brightline has done so far. Why would it make any sense to hand off operation of the largest and busiest corridor in the country to a company which has been operational for less than eight months?
I don't think it's pure fantasy to have a private company take over an Amtrak route, but the NEC is the one that needs that help the least.
I do wonder if a model like Brightline, where the train is essentially a nice plus to transport people from one of their commercial ventures to the next, can work again for long-distance routes. Henry Flagler built up the east coast of Florida with that model, and I believe the train in Canada was essentially there to take people from one luxury hotel to another luxury hotel, all hotels owned by the railroad.
If Amtrak was interested in doing its job, this wouldn't even be a thought. But it's not--it seems more intent than ever on destroying itself--so perhaps a Brightline-type model could work elsewhere?
Brightline hasn't proven itself yet. Right now, it's just a fancy commuter service. We don't know if it will even make money -- or if it will operate successfully once it reaches Orlando. Let's do this one step at a time.
Lest we forget, that is what IRT supposedly did in New York way back when. Except that they were never in a position to directly monetize their impact like many of the Japanese private subway and regional systems did.Mike, I think you're absolutely right--Brightline is untested, and of course we need to give it time and see if it works and how effectively.
If it does, though, my feeling is that others could jump on board and start their own routes. Since everything is about profit, obviously it would be real estate/condos/stores, with the train to connect them.