Brightline (FEC) Update

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

chrsjrcj

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
893
Location
Fort Lauderdale, FL
So you post a map that shows an Orange Line and Blue Line and then talk about some other Orange?

You are correct about the confusion caused by your post. We were all talking about the Tri-Rail lines as shown in the map you posted, and in that context we were correct in stating that the Orange Line shown on the map did not exist. And none of us contested that the Metro Airport Line existed, since none of us were talking about it. So I guess you love to argue with yourself :D
I was making a separate response to the end of VentureForth's post:

It does look like a pain in the butt to take Miami Dade Transit from Miami Central to the Airport. Another connection is required and an uncomfortable 15 minute wait at Earlington Heights. This seems to be something that Miami should fix.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
812
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Actually what I said in that statement is absurd. What I meant to say is 20 trains per day each way, which really amount to maybe 1.3tph on an average each way, but is really likely to be more like 1tph each way, and about 16 trains per day each way.

I have corrected it in the original.
Yeah, that's what I thought it meant. :)
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,192
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,710
Location
Virginia
Actually what I said in that statement is absurd. What I meant to say is 20 trains per day each way, which really amount to maybe 1.3tph on an average each way, but is really likely to be more like 1tph each way, and about 16 trains per day each way.

I have corrected it in the original.
20 trains/day would probably translate into something like 16-17 trains on a "clock" schedule plus 3-4 additional frequencies at peak hours. Witness the pre-pandemic schedules in South Florida, where they wedged an extra frequency in SB in the morning/NB in the afternoon (and, I believe, one train on each end of the schedule was pushed to meet a "magic" time).

Based on (pre-pandemic) operations in South Florida, I think what you'd see is first departures in the 0500-0600 range in each direction. The main question is the evening...especially once they've extended to Disney Springs, I suspect they'll be inclined to time some trains later than we'd normally "expect" to align with park closing times. There's precedent for this (they were running extra late-night trains both at New Year's, on some weekends, and after some basketball games).
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,710
Location
Virginia
groans
Given the room we have for interest rates to start spiking, I wish they could force the (not-really)cooperating agencies to get off their arse.
 

VentureForth

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
6,038
Location
West Melbourne, FL
So the road that the cement truck hit the trestle girder on is going to be closed for a year now to finish the Crane Creek Bridge. This has sparked local Nimbys into action on local Facebook pages claiming the sacrifices we have to make for big rail to make money off our backs with no return.

Melbourne mayor Paul Affrey was quick to share the economic benefit of all the construction workers eating and lodging in the area. Reminded them that railroad can pretty much do what they want without concent of the city.

If Brightline ever decides to build a station here, our cooperation or resistance will be remembered.

The mayor also mentioned that they met with the Brightline execs recently and it was a good meeting. Public meetings have had no big opposers.
 
Last edited:

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,663
Location
Ithaca, NY
As an investor, I do think they'll have better luck selling bonds for the Vegas line in 2022 than this year.... if they get the Florida line up and running again this year as they plan to.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,751
We do not know the scheduling timing of Brightline. That means that any departures will be locked in depending on the passing sidings between Cocoa and Orlando airport. Also the single track section between the airport and Disney Springs.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
812
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
We do not know the scheduling timing of Brightline. That means that any departures will be locked in depending on the passing sidings between Cocoa and Orlando airport. Also the single track section between the airport and Disney Springs.
In debates with the Hunters Point NIMBYs, they have stated that service between MCO & WDW will be hourly. They might get locked into that as a maximum if they enter into a settlement.
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,710
Location
Virginia
Presuming they'll put up a wall between the tracks and the houses, I wonder how many folks will be able to actually hear the trains in a meaningful way. I ponder this because if it is "only" (say) 500 homes, it might be easier and cheaper to "settle" by paying them money (though I would be curious as to what the property value impact would be...).

Of course, I say this still feeling that the International drive routing is probably the better one in terms of driving ridership in the long run.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,192
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Presuming they'll put up a wall between the tracks and the houses, I wonder how many folks will be able to actually hear the trains in a meaningful way. I ponder this because if it is "only" (say) 500 homes, it might be easier and cheaper to "settle" by paying them money (though I would be curious as to what the property value impact would be...).

Of course, I say this still feeling that the International drive routing is probably the better one in terms of driving ridership in the long run.
Considering that this is Florida, this may have nothing to do with property value and more to do with pay-offs from interest groups that wish to try to force a routing of it via SR528-I-4 alignment. Of course the additional price tag of a billion dollars makes that a very high bar to leap across merely by 500 (or whatever the number is) households complaining about noise, and having heard nothing about the complaints of those whose properties will have to be outright condemned to get to the other route. And interestingly, none of this is within the city of Orlando, once the airport perimeter is exited more or less.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
812
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Presuming they'll put up a wall between the tracks and the houses, I wonder how many folks will be able to actually hear the trains in a meaningful way. I ponder this because if it is "only" (say) 500 homes, it might be easier and cheaper to "settle" by paying them money (though I would be curious as to what the property value impact would be...).

Of course, I say this still feeling that the International drive routing is probably the better one in terms of driving ridership in the long run.
That's what bugs me. The pols keep saying thousands of people in Hunters Point would be affected, and I keep wanting to yell back at them that the vast majority of those homes are too far away to hear a thing.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,595
In debates with the Hunters Point NIMBYs, they have stated that service between MCO & WDW will be hourly. They might get locked into that as a maximum if they enter into a settlement.
being limited to an hourly service might mean an end to any plans to, at some point in the future, have an interlacing pattern of faster and stopping trains,
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,192
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
That's what bugs me. The pols keep saying thousands of people in Hunters Point would be affected, and I keep wanting to yell back at them that the vast majority of those homes are too far away to hear a thing.
In Florida, where land at one time was sold by the gallon as they say, pols will say anything that seems convenient for the moment with complete disregard for any remote attachment to any facts in evidence. 🤷‍♂️
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,710
Location
Virginia
Considering that this is Florida, this may have nothing to do with property value and more to do with pay-offs from interest groups that wish to try to force a routing of it via SR528-I-4 alignment. Of course the additional price tag of a billion dollars makes that a very high bar to leap across merely by 500 (or whatever the number is) households complaining about noise, and having heard nothing about the complaints of those whose properties will have to be outright condemned to get to the other route. And interestingly, none of this is within the city of Orlando, once the airport perimeter is exited more or less.
Oh, I agree that this is 100% the case. The flip side is that in terms of a lawsuit, this seems to be a misfire since it might literally be cheaper for Brightline to just buy folks out...I don't know how it would play in court, but I wouldn't want to be the plaintiff's attorney trying to go to trial asking for specific performance over an alleged (future) noise complaint for a railroad with no grade crossings theoretically on behalf of folks already living next to an expressway, especially if a bunch of the neighbors happily take a payoff for (say) 5-10% of their home's value.

(Again, assuming a few hundred homeowners are "at issue", the home prices in the area seem to hover between $350-600k...paying $10-20m for an agreement that locks folks out of future complaints and more-or-less kills off any class action arrangement might well be worth it; structure the payments as conditional on the line getting approved and you might suddenly be setting the cat among the canaries.)
Hard to believe a train would add much more noise pollution than the existing highway it will parallel. NIMBYs gonna NIMBY.
I can see a situation where folks on whichever side the train would be running might be impacted. The ROW seems to be about 400 feet wide, all told, so that's going to make a big difference.

(The annoying thing is that there's the question of being sold the access rights. If this was simply a matter of running the trains on owned land, I think the response would be much closer to "We'll see you in court, and we'll probably get an order letting us proceed since you'll likely just be arguing damages".)

Of course, this also reminds me of the total mess that Ashland has been in VA...
 

nullptr

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 16, 2020
Messages
66
Location
Michigan
Oh, I agree that this is 100% the case. The flip side is that in terms of a lawsuit, this seems to be a misfire since it might literally be cheaper for Brightline to just buy folks out.
Some of the comments by Brightline make me think they basically agree with you. The issue is that right now they don't really need to convince Hunters Creek of anything, they need to convince Central Florida Expressway Authority to lease them the land before the end of July. It would be hard to come to any agreement on settlement in that short of time, so Brightline is trying to convince Central Florida Expressway Authority to just offload the liability onto them (Brightline) and finish the lease agreement.

Here is a quote from an article about it

Cegelis said an agreement between Central Florida Expressway and Brightline likely would include protections for the authority, and Brightline may be responsible for the payout of claims as part of an agreement.
(Cegelis is a Brightline VP)

But all this relies on the complaint being made in good faith and not an attempt to force Brightline to use the SR528 option, as others have stated might be the case.

The article I'm referencing is here
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,710
Location
Virginia
I mean, if the claim is being brought in bad faith that's something that can be sorted out later. I'm not sure what the dynamics are for breaking up a class of complainants to settle with some, but if they can get the lease that's the path I'd be looking at.

But the lease with CFEA is the sticky point.

(As far as I'm concerned, if someone was able to come up with most of the difference then SR528 makes more sense...but that half-billion to billion dollars is an issue.)
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,663
Location
Ithaca, NY
It's pretty clear that most of the CFX people are just looking for a payout. The question is whether some are being pressured by someone else to obstruct/kill the project entirely; DeSantis seems to be looking, like his predecessor Scott, for any excuse to kill the project.

I agree that if someone was willing to actually fund it SR528 makes more sense but none of the complainers have put up so much as one red cent. Counterfactual: if Orange County were offering money and Sea World were offering money and so on, Brightline might be willing to try to put up part of the extra cost itself, but none of the entities which want it to go on SR528 (or claim to want it to) seem to be willing to put up any money.
 

Brian_tampa

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
295
It's pretty clear that most of the CFX people are just looking for a payout. The question is whether some are being pressured by someone else to obstruct/kill the project entirely; DeSantis seems to be looking, like his predecessor Scott, for any excuse to kill the project.

I agree that if someone was willing to actually fund it SR528 makes more sense but none of the complainers have put up so much as one red cent. Counterfactual: if Orange County were offering money and Sea World were offering money and so on, Brightline might be willing to try to put up part of the extra cost itself, but none of the entities which want it to go on SR528 (or claim to want it to) seem to be willing to put up any money.
You do realize that it was Gov. Scott who approved the $113 million in state monies to build the ITF at MCO back in 2013 or 2014. In actuality (having been in contact with several people within Brightline/FECI over the years), the support for Brightline has been bipartisan for the most part at the state level (and in the US Congress in the House). The only negative pushback has been from state and congressional elected officials from Indian River County and Brevard County areas along with the congressman Brian Mast who represents St Lucie County. DeSantis, as far as I can tell, and have been told, has been neutral on this project so far. He might not support it, but he doesn't actively oppose it either. There is nothing new about the conditions Brightline has to satisfy for the Tampa extension that were not required for the Orlando phase 2 extension. Both require (required) studies on impacts on toll road revenue and future highway expansion plans. I've been told a big proportion of the issues with the Tampa extension plan involve FDOT not having final design plans ready for their beyond the ultimate I-4 rebuild/expansion project west of Orlando to US 27 until recently. That work is scheduled for mid 2020's. Not to mention the Tampa Bay area Lexus Lane plans for I-4 between Lakeland and Tampa in about 8 years time.
 
Last edited:

Brian_tampa

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
295
As far as the I-Drive/Convention Center route goes, it won't ever happen with Brightline unless Orange County, Orlando, and Universal step up and fund it. Perhaps in the future it will happen but not now. My belief is that if not 417 to WDW, then the extension to WDW and Tampa will not happen and Brightline is serious about that demand. But there are powerful interests in Tampa and Disney that want the 417 corridor to happen. It is a power struggle now.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
812
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
As far as the I-Drive/Convention Center route goes, it won't ever happen with Brightline unless Orange County, Orlando, and Universal step up and fund it. Perhaps in the future it will happen but not now. My belief is that if not 417 to WDW, then the extension to WDW and Tampa will not happen and Brightline is serious about that demand. But there are powerful interests in Tampa and Disney that want the 417 corridor to happen. It is a power struggle now.
I tend to agree that Brightline could just walk away from Tampa if they can't get an acceptably priced ROW.

I wonder whether they would then turn their attention to JAX? It would probably take into the 2030's, since no engineering studies have been done. But they might have a much easier time piggybacking on FECR and double-tracking MCO to Cocoa, and no FLDOT or local toll agencies to deal with.
 
Top