Brightline Florida update

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west point

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Christmas 2022 seems to be highly unlikely. that would be great. seems that it will take 2 more months to connect Orlando to Cocoa. Then Ballasting and surfacing and settling track takes time. Then FEC tracks are not complete. But the real impediment will be all the Bridge replacements. When will all the bridges become 2 main track?

Then you have FRA certification of 110 MPH Palm Beach - Cocoa. Then 125 MPH Cocoa to Orlaando. It may be though Brightline could start slower service say 80 MPH? Then you have training all the new engineers, conductors that pppprobably just being hired. The proposed 3 hour enroute only allows for 1 or 1- 1/2 Round trips. Will Brightline receive enough train sets also?

All my Orlando relations are looking forward for service especially having to go to MIA or MIA airport. Gasoline prices may also have an effect.
 

cirdan

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That hasn't been my experience in riding New York subways, at least not since the late 1980s. My impression of my fellow Americans is that we are incredibly snobbish, and consider all sorts of people who look and dress "different" as "riffraff" who aren't really riffraff. Added to that is the fact that post World War 2, Americans, even those of modest means, had the wealth to act on their snobbishness, and so now we're all in cars.
I wouldn't necessarily use the term riff-raff, but it's not just about public transportation but any public space really. In my experience/impression you are far more likely to be approached by a panhandler of some description in a public space in the USA than in Europe. Or maybe that's just my personal impression, and I've been to all the wrong places? Of course in my experience mostly such people are not aggressive or mean and will back off and leave you alone if you indicate you are not interested. But I think maybe if you are a vulnerable person travelling alone you may feel threatened by them.
 

VentureForth

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Christmas 2022 seems to be highly unlikely. that would be great. seems that it will take 2 more months to connect Orlando to Cocoa. Then Ballasting and surfacing and settling track takes time. Then FEC tracks are not complete. But the real impediment will be all the Bridge replacements. When will all the bridges become 2 main track?

Then you have FRA certification of 110 MPH Palm Beach - Cocoa. Then 125 MPH Cocoa to Orlaando. It may be though Brightline could start slower service say 80 MPH? Then you have training all the new engineers, conductors that pppprobably just being hired. The proposed 3 hour enroute only allows for 1 or 1- 1/2 Round trips. Will Brightline receive enough train sets also?

All my Orlando relations are looking forward for service especially having to go to MIA or MIA airport. Gasoline prices may also have an effect.
As I mentioned, the track is already ballasted from MCO all the way to the last toll plaza on 528. There are probably less than 20 miles to finish laying track and ballasting. Seems like all the base surfacing is complete. There is also some bridge work to complete along the route, notably over I-95, but it's all looking really good!

There is still a TON of double tracking and grade crossing upgrades to complete between Cocoa and WPB. But it isn't required to begin service, albeit at a presumably slower speed. And, if not for revenue, for training (which has already begun along that portion).
 
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cirdan

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2 of the remaining 3 trainsets are to be delivered to Orlando in July or August. Last trainset delivered by the end of 2022.
but when will they be available for service?

typically when new trains are delivered they still require a fair deal of testing and detail adjustments, plus various sign-offs.

It's not really like buying a new car that you can then drive around in from day one.
 

west point

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A RR does notjust lay ballast then tamp surface and forget it. Trains have to run over it and then any imprefections need surfacing again. The FEC portion can at least have heavy FEC freights but Cocoa to ORL is different.
 

joelkfla

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Tourists would have to pay the gas tax same as residents. Also tourists would have to pay tolls, and I don't know about Florida, but our electronic tolling system provides discounts for in-state residents.
Only those who drive in or rent a car. They all pay sales tax on meals, hotels, etc. The county mayor estimates 51% of sales taxes are paid by tourists.

Everyone pays the same tolls in FL if they have a transponder, whether local or from out of state. E-Pass (now Uni) users can get a small rebate on tolls on CFXway roads, but it requires a monthly transaction count of at least 40, so it's effectively only for commuters who drive to and from work 5 days a week.
 

George Harris

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A RR does not just lay ballast then tamp surface and forget it. Trains have to run over it and then any imprefections need surfacing again. The FEC portion can at least have heavy FEC freights but Cocoa to ORL is different.
This is not necessarily as long a process as you make it sound like if done properly during the construction phase. In the distant past settlement of the earthworks, as in the fill could easily be a multi-month to-year or more long process. Proper tamping of the fills as has been done now for 50 plus years essentially reduces this settlement phase to zero. However, do not forget to deal with the underlying soil conditions as the upper zone, particularly given Florida's geography may require removal and recompaction of the top layers of existing soil and installation of sand drains and other forms to reduce settlement of the existing ground due to the superimposed loads. Once this is past, the track portion can go fairly quickly. First, install a good layer of subballast or asphalt base course. Lay out track and ties, add ballast, lift and tamp with multiple cycles. Run a vibrating compactor down the line a couple times. (In years past, multiple passes of your heaviest steam engines did this job.) Run a test train or two. There should be minimal track tweaks needed if the preceding work was done properly. If the tweaks are more than minimal, put that contractor on the never again list. That process may be complex with a government agency, but with a private entity it is very simple. After the fixes, which could be as little as a couple weeks later, run empty trains at increasing speeds until you are comfortable with full speed operation. If all things track are done right, this could just be a few days. Then, invite the politicians along for a joy ride. (Having been involved in one of these it is hilarious to hear some of these people talking about how much pioneers they are to be on the first train over the line.) Now you are ready to go. You might want to run a skeleton service for a few days to a week or so with all station and on board staff but the passengers being limited to other employees and families to enable the operating staff to get familiar with the processes. This last step can go a long way to reducing embarrassment during the first few days of public operation.
 

Willbridge

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Based on the LRT lines that I've been involved in, there also is a need for a clearance check with platforms, etc. after the track tamping.

Also, life for Operations and for Customer Service is much better if there are some test runs with the proposed timetable. It may be too late to fix a problem by opening day, but if something unforeseen turns up it's best to not be surprised. This is particularly important on single track lines.
 

George Harris

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Based on the LRT lines that I've been involved in, there also is a need for a clearance check with platforms, etc. after the track tamping.

Also, life for Operations and for Customer Service is much better if there are some test runs with the proposed timetable. It may be too late to fix a problem by opening day, but if something unforeseen turns up it's best to not be surprised. This is particularly important on single track lines.
First para: Which is another good reason for direct fixation, that is a concrete based track form. Can't imagine anyone NOT doing a post-tamping clearance check on ballasted track. Usually just walk your clearance trolley through the platforms. If you have multiple stuff where clearance is an issue, equip a full size car with feeler gauges end car and mid car and run it slowly past the points of concern.

Second paragraph: Yes, for single track lines particularly. Not usually necessary for double track lines unless you have fast trains passing slow trains. Is also a very good idea to check for surprises in the power system. You may not need a full day of this, but you should run loaded trains to check performance under maximum electrical demand.
 

west point

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Second paragraph: Yes, for single track lines particularly. Not usually necessary for double track lines unless you have fast trains passing slow trains. Is also a very good idea to check for surprises in the power system. You may not need a full day of this, but you should run loaded trains to check performance under maximum electrical demand.
Absolutely correct. Dispatch systems as well. Any commuter system if it is going to fail will under the most heavily operating conditions. As Brightline increases service each iteration may find gliches.
 

jis

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Absolutely correct. Dispatch systems as well. Any commuter system if it is going to fail will under the most heavily operating conditions. As Brightline increases service each iteration may find gliches.
Most of Brightline's traffic will be south of West Palm Beach. For the foreseeable future north of WPB is 1tph each way, or net 2tph. Increase in capacity will be in terms of added cars per consist.
 

George Harris

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Second paragraph: Yes, for single track lines particularly. Not usually necessary for double track lines unless you have fast trains passing slow trains. Is also a very good idea to check for surprises in the power system. You may not need a full day of this, but you should run loaded trains to check performance under maximum electrical demand.
Actually getting a little off topic here mentioning power draw since Brightline will be diesel operated. Sorry about that.

As to platform clearance: The ADA requires a horizontal gap of no more than 3 inches and a vertical difference of no more than 5/8 inches. Many times people have to be reminded that these are legal limits, not design values. My usual has been to go for 2 1/2 inches horizontal and zero vertical. There are those that get nervous about the possibility of the car floor being lower than the platform, so if it makes them feel better go for a platform 1/4 inch lower than the car floor. If on a good concrete track, you could possibly reduce the horizontal to 2 inches but you should not go less due to possible wobbles in the vehicle. In any case, the ends of the platforms should be tapered out in the length beyond the end passenger door to 12 inches or so. Of course if you have curved track through the platforms these conditions cannot be met.

For wider gaps you have to have a bridge plate to use if needed. For low platforms, a lift, etc.
 
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cirdan

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I think settlement will always be a potential issue but of course a good contractor knows how to minimize it.
As to platform clearance: The ADA requires a horizontal gap of no more than 3 inches and a vertical difference of no more than 5/8 inches. Many times people have to be reminded that these are legal limits, not design values. My usual has been to go for 2 1/2 inches horizontal and zero vertical. There are those that get nervous about the possibility of the car floor being lower than the platform, so if it makes them feel better go for a platform 1/4 inch lower than the car floor. If on a good concrete track, you could possibly reduce the horizontal to 2 inches but you should not go less due to possible wobbles in the vehicle. In any case, the ends of the platforms should be tapered out in the length beyond the end passenger door to 12 inches or so. Of course if you have curved track through the platforms these conditions cannot be met.
Furthermore the height of the floor above rail can be reduced (minimally) by such things as reduction of wheel diameter through wear and re-profiling, and also the weight of people and baggage on board the train pressing down the suspension.
 

railiner

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and also the weight of people and baggage on board the train pressing down the suspension.
I don’t know what these particular cars have, but in a properly operating air suspension, leveling valves should automatically compensate for this…
 

neroden

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Easy enough if you offer a shuttle train MCO-Tampa or MCO-DS.
Sooooo, for whatever reason, the current plans envisage a stub-end station at Disney.

I wouldn't be surprised if Brightline ends up running Orlando Airport - Disney shuttles and a smaller number of Tampa-Disney shuttles, with the regular all-stops trains from Orlando to Tampa skipping Disney.

I know it sounds odd, but... operationally it's going to make sense, and with Disney's "We don't want you to visit anyone else" attitude, forcing customers to backtrack to the airport in order to connect from Disney to I-Drive sounds exactly like what Disney would want.
 
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