Brightline (FEC) Update

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jis

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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.
They will still have to update their agreement with CFX on the toll compensation for carrying passengers from new origin points to Orlando along the Beach Line (SR528) ROW. It is written into the agreement for using that ROW.

They will have to double track FECR more than needing to double track Cocoa to OIA (Orlando International Airport), afterall if all that they add is net 2tph to pre-existing 2tph, there is no need to double track anything. The double tracking or adding many many more passing sidings on the FECR is necessitated by the coexistence of freight and passenger trains running at vastly different speeds.

Also, there will be a reversal of direction involved at Cocoa for trains running from OIA to Jacksonville.
 

joelkfla

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They will still have to update their agreement with CFX on the toll compensation for carrying passengers from new origin points to Orlando along the Beach Line (SR528) ROW. It is written into the agreement for using that ROW.

They will have to double track FECR more than needing to double track Cocoa to OIA (Orlando International Airport), afterall if all that they add is net 2tph to pre-existing 2tph, there is no need to double track anything. The double tracking or adding many many more passing sidings on the FECR is necessitated by the coexistence of freight and passenger trains running at vastly different speeds.

Also, there will be a reversal of direction involved at Cocoa for trains running from OIA to Jacksonville.
Yes, I assumed double tracking FECR would be required, but it's on existing ROW, so should be much less expensive that building all new track to Tampa. And they already have a history of peaceful coexistence.

I would expect some change to the configuration of the Cocoa junction that would allow trains to transition directly from the Orlando line to FECR to the north, perhaps a trestle over the edge of the cement plant or something like a balloon loop south of the junction. (I haven't looked at the map to see how that might fit in.)
 

jis

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Yes, I assumed double tracking FECR would be required, but it's on existing ROW, so should be much less expensive that building all new track to Tampa. And they already have a history of peaceful coexistence.
FECR and Brightline already jointly own traffic planning and dispatching through their jointly owned company named the Florida Dispatching Company, which is chartered to carry out those functions. It is equally owned with equal votes in its Board. So yes, that should be easy.
I would expect some change to the configuration of the Cocoa junction that would allow trains to transition directly from the Orlando line to FECR to the north, perhaps a trestle over the edge of the cement plant or something like a balloon loop south of the junction. (I haven't looked at the map to see how that might fit in.)
That seems like a completely unnecessary expense given the bidirectional nature of the trains. It should not take them more than a few minutes to change ends test brakes and be on their way. Also that would cause the Jacksonville train to miss the Cocoa stop, which also seems unnecessary.

In reality, at least initially if they institute a Miami JAX hourly service they would probably just do a cross platform transfer from the Orlando Miami train by scheduling things cleverly anyway. They are a frugal company. Or they could even initiate service to JAX with a Cocoa - JAX shuttle connecting with the Miami - Orlando service. Anyhow this is all speculation based on very little at least on my part.
 

cirdan

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So far they seem to be investing much more in getting to Tampa than they are investing in getting to Jacksonville . And this despite Jacksonville probably being the easier option as the ROW is given.

i assume there must be a good reason for doing it that way round rather than going for the easy one first . Probably because they predict more ridership on a Tampa line than on a Jacksonville line . Maybe because if the overall journey gets too long it ceases to be competitive with airlines . This is just a guess on my part . Jacksonville is considerably larger population wise than Tampa and there are also plenty of potential intermediate stops that would be good traffic generators . So the choice of Tampa does not seem totally obvious to me .
 

jis

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So far they seem to be investing much more in getting to Tampa than they are investing in getting to Jacksonville . And this despite Jacksonville probably being the easier option as the ROW is given.

i assume there must be a good reason for doing it that way round rather than going for the easy one first . Probably because they predict more ridership on a Tampa line than on a Jacksonville line . Maybe because if the overall journey gets too long it ceases to be competitive with airlines . This is just a guess on my part . Jacksonville is considerably larger population wise than Tampa and there are also plenty of potential intermediate stops that would be good traffic generators . So the choice of Tampa does not seem totally obvious to me .
They are not investing anything at present for Jacksonville. There is no active project, just a “maybe some day” aspiration. There just isn’t as much potential traffic as Orlando to Tampa.
 

Bob Dylan

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Tampa has Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, and World Series champions. Jacksonville has a couple cruise ships, which, Tampa has as well.
Now that the Raiders have left the Black Hole of Calcutta( Oakland Mausoleum) for Vegas,Jacksonville is the arm pit of the NFL, Noone can figure out why they were awarded an NFL Franchise!

Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow are the only ones who want to be there! 🤣
 

Anderson

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FECR and Brightline already jointly own traffic planning and dispatching through their jointly owned company named the Florida Dispatching Company, which is chartered to carry out those functions. It is equally owned with equal votes in its Board. So yes, that should be easy.

That seems like a completely unnecessary expense given the bidirectional nature of the trains. It should not take them more than a few minutes to change ends test brakes and be on their way. Also that would cause the Jacksonville train to miss the Cocoa stop, which also seems unnecessary.

In reality, at least initially if they institute a Miami JAX hourly service they would probably just do a cross platform transfer from the Orlando Miami train by scheduling things cleverly anyway. They are a frugal company. Or they could even initiate service to JAX with a Cocoa - JAX shuttle connecting with the Miami - Orlando service. Anyhow this is all speculation based on very little at least on my part.
My guess is that MIA-JAX would be run separately, likely with the cross-platform arrangements (as mentioned). From what I can tell about the projected ridership numbers, MIA-JAX would take at least some pressure off of the MIA-ORL trains (IIRC load factors peak FLL-WPB on MIA-ORL operation; I have no idea what adding Disney Springs or Tampa does to that structure, but I can see running an extra train per hour that's heading to JAX helping with that. Mind you, I'm just going with what was in some of the older filings as I recall them some years later...but that's what I recall seeing.

(The biggest issue with running a "shuttle" train is that Cocoa-Jacksonville is a 2+ hour run, and there's plenty of evidence that you lose a decent pile of ridership if you force folks to change trains...so you probably want to run the trains through to either Orlando, Tampa, or Miami. Of the options, running the trains JAX-MIA makes more sense AFAICT than does running them JAX-Cocoa-Orlando/Tampa since Cocoa-Orlando is basically an empty leg while going south picks up all of those other stations. Tampa might make sense, depending on expected loads west of OIA, but I don't think we have any work from Brightline on that front.)
 

jis

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Hmmm 4 hours from Miami to Cocoa Rockledge. In the brave new world that will be around 2.5 hours. I suppose Miami - JAX will be around 5 or less, if and when it happens with maybe 5 stops on the way.
 

cirdan

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Hmmm 4 hours from Miami to Cocoa Rockledge. In the brave new world that will be around 2.5 hours. I suppose Miami - JAX will be around 5 or less, if and when it happens with maybe 5 stops on the way.
Just musing here .
At 5 hours you will get some patronage but maybe not enough to carve a significant share out of the airlines’ market share .

if Jacksonville happens, wouldn’t there be more potential in going for the Jacsonville to Orlando or even Tampa markets ?

in which case most trains would be routes that way and a connecting train for Miami would probably be good enough
 
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They would probably get some connections from/to Amtrak at Jacksonville, even if passengers had to arrange it themselves…
Interesting that Port St. Lucie was almost non-existent back then….
 

cirdan

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Fascinating find . Thanks for sharing .

Interesting that the train would have started from there rather than the downtown station .
 

Eric S

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Someone can check me on the dates but FEC ended passenger service during a strike in the 1960s and demolished the downtown Miami station. Then a court ordered passenger service to resume and FEC used the North Miami station as the southern terminus for however long passenger service survived.
 

Scott Orlando

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If you actually flew MIA-JAX, which I did once pre-911, you are likely to invest equal or more time into travel to the airport, airport shenanigans, TSA, the actual flight - than you would on the train. Also is the consideration that the JAX airport location is highly inconvenient. Just a consideration to throw out there.

Just musing here .
At 5 hours you will get some patronage but maybe not enough to carve a significant share out of the airlines’ market share .

if Jacksonville happens, wouldn’t there be more potential in going for the Jacsonville to Orlando or even Tampa markets ?

in which case most trains would be routes that way and a connecting train for Miami would probably be good enough
 

Qapla

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My understanding is that, if Brightline comes to JAX, it will be to the new downtown intermodal terminal
1625862808937.png

not the northwest side Amtrak station
1625862909590.png


the JIA is considerably north of Jacksonville and not convenient to downtown at all - going from JIA into Jacksonville adds about 45-60 minutes to the trip.

1625863359921.png
 

Anderson

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The plan has been to go to downtown. There's been intermittent mention of doing something to link the downtown station to the Amtrak station, but I think the most likely option is to simply add a stop for the Silvers at the downtown station and then "eat" a backup move (versus extending a few Brightline trains to the existing Amtrak station...or fully moving Amtrak downtown, which is probably the second-most-likely option [if there's space]).
 
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Or they will have separate stations in Jacksonville, as they do in Miami. That's why I mentioned "even if passengers had to arrange it themselves", regarding connections between the two companies...
 
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