Brightline (FEC) Update

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Qapla

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I have driven in the area for many, many years and, yes, it can be done in 30 minutes if you start counting the time when you are actually on I95 ... counting from the parking areas can take longer - especially when traffic is heavy or there was an accident ... not to mention that some of the parking lots are quite a walk/trip from the terminal.

The new downtown facility is "walk out the door and you are downtown" ... especially if you are going to the Prime Osborne Convention Center and within walking distance of CSX.
 

joelkfla

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blueman271

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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.
The strike was in 1963, a court ordered passenger service restored in ‘65, and it was ultimately discontinued in ‘68. I haven’t been to that part of Miami in a long long time (probably 15 years or so) but the train station minus the tracks and platforms was still there when I was growing up. My dad pointed it out to me once and told me the whole story about the FEC passenger services.
 

Anderson

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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...
I mean, I can't see Amtrak not running at least a Thruway...

...okay, let me rephrase this: I can't imagine a competent version of Amtrak not at least running a Thruway. I can totally see Amtrak leaving perhaps 5-10k pax/year on the table that running a Thruway ought to get them (at a minimum...366 miles [per two old timetable JAX-MIA...note that the new Brightline station is exactly where the old one was, and IIRC the proposed Jacksonville station is about where the old one was] should measure out to somewhere in the ballpark of 5-6 hours depending on the average speed you manage to get...70 MPH seems feasible if they maintain a MAS of 110 most of the way from WPB to Jacksonville, which would correspond to about 5:12 or so vs the 8:40-11+ hours on the Silvers...and adding a slew of stations [and better-placed stations, particularly in the case of Miami] won't hurt there). Even allowing for an hour or two of "padding" at the JAX station in either direction, you're still likely to come out ahead in terms of time...
 

joelkfla

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CFXway Board is currently meeting to consider Brightline alignments between MCO & WDW (on cable channel 488 in the Orlando area.) Here is the 3rd party (4th party?) report on the disputed alternate alignments. It includes detailed descriptions of the proposed alignments, and impacts by the I-4 Beyond Ultimate project.
 

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jis

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CFXway Board is currently meeting to consider Brightline alignments between MCO & WDW (on cable channel 488 in the Orlando area.) Here is the 3rd party (4th party?) report on the disputed alternate alignments. It includes detailed descriptions of the proposed alignments, and impacts by the I-4 Beyond Ultimate project.
Thanks for posting the document. Very clear presentation of the alternatives. Now if CFX and Buddy Dwyer can come up with a billion or so dollars we would be all set with CFX's dreams. :)
 

joelkfla

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So the CFX board essentially kicked the can further down the road again, approving a resolution to continue discussions with Brightline about alignments. I had thought FL DOT was requiring a firm commitment in order for Brightline to retain it's right to the I-4 ROW to Tampa, but Orlando Mayor/CFX chair Dyer seemed to say this would satisfy them.

But before that, there were 2 hours of comment primarily orchestrated by the Hunters Creek HOA, and the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce in cahoots with Universal. They both unabashedly circumvented the 3-minute per person limit on public comment by coordinating tag teams of commenters.

The Hunters Creek team included residents painting horrific pictures of Brightline trains derailing and exploding next to schools and parks, trapping children with no way out (seriously). What's more, all the fine first responders living in the community would be trapped and unable to respond. And then there was the allegation of a hidden agenda to run freight trains in the future. They closed with a glowing account of all the wonderful and noble things Hunters Creek residents have done for the county, and how the county OWES them.

The I-Drive/Universal team mostly continued to speak as if Brightline were a commuter system, not intercity rail. They also continued the attack on the 417 alignment, including a lawyer telling the board that they had no right to approve a rail line on the 417 ROW. As before, there was no recognition of the fact that Brightline has absolutely no obligation to build a line along 528 if the 417 alignment is scuttled.

BTW, the Orlando Sentinel revealed in a recent article that one of the governor's appointees who's been leading the charge against 417 was recently an executive of the Golf Channel, a subsidiary of -- NBC Universal!
 
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jis

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I had mentioned here quite a while back that most of this was usual Florida political skullduggery with associated hand wringing, shedding of crocodile tears and tooting ones own horn, often substantially disconnected from anything grounded in physical reality, while committing no actual funds. This is very typical in Florida.

Interesting alignment of interest between Buddy Dwyer - a Democrat, and DeSantis' henchmen if what is mentioned is true, and all this may just be incidental alignment of interests for the moment, rather than any coherent plan. Typically transactional.
 

Bob Dylan

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So the CFX board essentially kicked the can further down the road again, approving a resolution to continue discussions with Brightline about alignments. I had thought FL DOT was requiring a firm commitment in order for Brightline to retain it's right to the I-4 ROW to Tampa, but Orlando Mayor/CFX chair Dyer seemed to say this would satisfy them.

But before that, there were 2 hours of comment primarily orchestrated by the Hunters Creek HOA, and the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce in cahoots with Universal. They both unabashedly circumvented the 3-minute per person limit on public comment by coordinating tag teams of commenters.

The Hunters Creek team included residents painting horrific pictures of Brightline trains derailing and exploding next to schools and parks, trapping children with no way out (seriously). What's more, all the fine first responders living in the community would be trapped and unable to respond. And then there was the allegation of a hidden agenda to run freight trains in the future. They closed with a glowing account of all the wonderful and noble things Hunters Creek residents have done for the county, and how the county OWES them.

The I-Drive/Universal team mostly continued to speak as if Brightline were a commuter system, not intercity rail. They also continued the attack on the 417 alignment, including a lawyer telling the board that they had no right to approve a rail line on the 417 ROW. As before, there was no recognition of the fact that Brightline has absolutely no obligation to build a line along 528 if the 417 alignment is scuttled.

BTW, the Orlando Sentinel revealed in a recent article that one of the governor's appointees who's been leading the charge against 417 was recently an executive of the Golf Channel, a subsidiary of -- NBC Universal!
🤬🤬🤬
 

VentureForth

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Is it just me, or does the approach from the southern route options into Disney seem to require a backup move to get out towards Tampa? I think the Northern route is the best, commercially, but at 2-3x the price. Maybe Hunter's Creek should pay to get it out of their back yard.
 

cocojacoby

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I think the northern route is the way to go with stations closer to the Convention Center and Universal. There must be some money there if they really want it.
 

VentureForth

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As I've posted just a couple posts above, commercially, the I-Drive to I-4 routing would make the most sense, but it would also invite HUGE short distance crowds between MCO - I-Drive - Disney Springs. The nice thing about Brightline (and I hope they maintain this with their Aventura and Boca stations) is that the platforms are gated - no access without a ticket. This is pretty rare in this country for heavy rail, but for security, they need to keep the crowds under control.
 

joelkfla

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Is it just me, or does the approach from the southern route options into Disney seem to require a backup move to get out towards Tampa? I think the Northern route is the best, commercially, but at 2-3x the price. Maybe Hunter's Creek should pay to get it out of their back yard.
Both alignments have the same single entry-exit point with a stub-end station. But Brightline trainsets have locos at both ends and 50-50 seating, so it's just a reverse of direction, not a backup movement.
 

joelkfla

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Brightline has said they are not interested in carrying local traffic. Whether they are speaking truth, or just throwing that up as an argument because they don't want to pay for the more expensive 528 route, I don't know.
 

neroden

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Frankly, Brightline would be happy to do the northern route if someone else paid for it, but nobody has stepped up to pay for it.

If they're funding it themselves, they don't have a choice other than attempting to optimize financially; passenger rail is generally an unprofitable business, and even if they do very well they won't be gushing cash, so they can't afford to blow half a billion for much less increase in ticket sales than that. You'd think Universal or the county would recognize this and offer up the cash if they really wanted the 528 route -- and they haven't.
 

VentureForth

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Both alignments have the same single entry-exit point with a stub-end station. But Brightline trainsets have locos at both ends and 50-50 seating, so it's just a reverse of direction, not a backup movement.
Do they? I didn't see any close up of the intent at Disney Springs West of the I-4, 417 interchange, but the high-level show that the 417 alignment crosses the interchange then turns North vs the 528 which shows the route coming straight down I-4 and just stopping at the interchange. And, yes, I know the trains are bi-directional, but are the seats fixed? Are they all reset to face forward at the end points? Or are they all club seating or half and half forward and backward? Would be odd to travel facing forward for a chunk then facing backward without moving.
Brightline has said they are not interested in carrying local traffic. Whether they are speaking truth, or just throwing that up as an argument because they don't want to pay for the more expensive 528 route, I don't know.
Frankly, Brightline would be happy to do the northern route if someone else paid for it, but nobody has stepped up to pay for it.

If they're funding it themselves, they don't have a choice other than attempting to optimize financially; passenger rail is generally an unprofitable business, and even if they do very well they won't be gushing cash, so they can't afford to blow half a billion for much less increase in ticket sales than that. You'd think Universal or the county would recognize this and offer up the cash if they really wanted the 528 route -- and they haven't.
And this is the paradox. The shorthaul passengers can generate a TON of revenue but at the cost of losing space OR diminishing the experience of the target long distance market.
 

Chris I

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Do they? I didn't see any close up of the intent at Disney Springs West of the I-4, 417 interchange, but the high-level show that the 417 alignment crosses the interchange then turns North vs the 528 which shows the route coming straight down I-4 and just stopping at the interchange. And, yes, I know the trains are bi-directional, but are the seats fixed? Are they all reset to face forward at the end points? Or are they all club seating or half and half forward and backward? Would be odd to travel facing forward for a chunk then facing backward without moving.


And this is the paradox. The shorthaul passengers can generate a TON of revenue but at the cost of losing space OR diminishing the experience of the target long distance market.
If the ROW permits, why not just make this section 3 or 4 tracks and run a shuttle service? This could be a big money-maker, given the cost of cabs from the airport.
 
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