Brightline Florida update

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Anderson

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They will all get retrofitted with this setup. Not all doors have this but many do. All sets will run all over the system, so they will all look quite similar. Already the old sets have been outfitted with new seats and new cabin layout.

Apparently this is now viewed as a necessaryf eature to enable escape from trains staranded after grade crossing incidents and such.
I suspect this is also going to be useful if (for example) the BL sets have to platform at a commuter platform because of some irregularity (e.g. another train has a mechanical issue at the exact wrong moment and blocks a track/switch on the way into MiamiCentral).
 

GDRRiley

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They will all get retrofitted with this setup. Not all doors have this but many do. All sets will run all over the system, so they will all look quite similar. Already the old sets have been outfitted with new seats and new cabin layout.

Apparently this is now viewed as a necessaryf eature to enable escape from trains staranded after grade crossing incidents and such.
seems like it would be far easier to just have all new cars done this way and then mix them with the old sets. I don't see cutting the frame as easy or FRA accepting it.
so 2 cars have steps while 2 don't on all 10 sets. All new cars can be this same way when they go to expand the sets so just a handful of coaches will lack stairs
 

Brian_tampa

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With increased flooding during Saturday's deluge, Eau Gallie business owners blame Brightline - NewsBreak

I am curious of what the local AU members from Melbourne think about this. The local businesses claim that Brightline removed a 6ft deep ditch along the FECR right of way. And that this change is now causing flooding.

From what I can tell, a 6ft deep ditch would have been around 4ft lower than the 3 culvert pipes under the FECR tracks. How would that help move water from the west side of the tracks? On Google streetview there were 3 culvert pipes in the same location and probably at the same elevation.

To my eyes, the property owners were relying on the FECR ditch to drain water off their property. In the picture it showed the main drainage ditch that flows east to the tracks (not the ditch along the tracks but that drains a large area west of their properties) as being maybe 2ft lower than their property. And the trash bin blocked the drain pipes. I suspect the trash bin came from a property very nearby that was not secured. The road west of his business has a similar culvert that would not let the bin flow under.

It would appear their land is low lying and the rain event this past weekend was recorded as a once in several hundred year event per the local national weather service office in Melbourne. But yeah, blame a retaining wall that is no different from the previous embankment as far as height and drainage goes.
 

VentureForth

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From the mayor of Melbourne:

This morning I responded to flooding complaints on Avocado Avenue and it appears the recent Brightline construction has caused major issues for Melbourne residents and businesses. Our City recorded approximately 5 inches of rain at our Mallards Landing golf course on Lake Washington Blvd.

The flooding in that area got so bad that a large commercial dumpster floated away and found its way at several businesses away, finally floating into the drainage pipes installed by Brightline, where they got stuck under their newly constructed track. A city road also flooded out from their design disabling several cars in the middle of Avocado street. Rising water was recorded as high as 28” or waist high on their construction wall. Our police department also temporarily shut down the road for safety.

I will be calling on Brightline for a comprehensive report relating to the flooding impacts that their project has caused our City and remedies to correct them. As more rain is expected today, it is imperative that we address this as this also impacts water drainage upstream.
 

Brian_tampa

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So the mayor of Melbourne has become an engineer now and knows everything about water hydraulics and how storm water drains from the surrounding land.

Perhaps this situation has arisen because the city has allowed unfettered development to occur without proper stormwater retention areas west of Avocado Street? The 3 concrete culvert pipes have been under the FECR right of way for some time it would seem.

From looking at the area on Google maps and streetview, it seems the city has invested minimal or no money in stormwater drainage in this area. There are no drainage ditches along Avocado Street. Does the mayor expect a private entity to provide drainage to property owners in the city?

How about the mayor asks his public works department for a comprehensive report on their failure to provide drainage along the city's streets? That would be something to behold.
 

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jis

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seems like it would be far easier to just have all new cars done this way and then mix them with the old sets. I don't see cutting the frame as easy or FRA accepting it.
so 2 cars have steps while 2 don't on all 10 sets. All new cars can be this same way when they go to expand the sets so just a handful of coaches will lack stairs
They are very practical. So that is exactly what they might do when things settle down.
 
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Anderson

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In line with the above - what happens if/when Brightline produces a report in line with what @Brian_tampa noted? "We note the timing of this, but most of the problems are coming from things unrelated to us. Maybe five inches of rain was going to cause flooding no matter what?"

Bonus points if they can demonstrate that their work is mostly immaterial (e.g. demonstrating that similar flooding would have occurred no matter what) or, even better, that it actually alleviated some of the issues.
 

VentureForth

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So this area doesn't directly affect me, and I've only been in town for about 2 years. That being said, I think that the Mayor took a safe approach and asked Brightline to determine if their earthworks caused the excessive flooding. A local resident only cares about "this didn't happen before the construction," and it is reasonable for their mayor to ask the question.

We've also had several inches of rain every...single...day for over a week. Could very easily be the rain, but I'm not the expert to say whether it is unprecedented or not.
 

Ryan

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I think that the Mayor took a safe approach and asked Brightline to determine if their earthworks caused the excessive flooding

That would be cool if that's actually what the mayor said.

The Mayor Actually said:
This morning I responded to flooding complaints on Avocado Avenue and it appears the recent Brightline construction has caused major issues for Melbourne residents and businesses.

I will be calling on Brightline for a comprehensive report relating to the flooding impacts that their project has caused our City and remedies to correct them.
You seem to have phrased it in the form of a question for him, while he appears to have his mind made up already.
 

Anderson

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Since the dates are still "late 2022", is there any word when Boca Raton is likely to open? (That's more interesting to me than Aventura. I'm also curious on Orlando, but that's a bit further out.)
 

VentureForth

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That would be cool if that's actually what the mayor said.


You seem to have phrased it in the form of a question for him, while he appears to have his mind made up already.
Take what you will from the same quote, and I will, too.

This morning I responded to flooding complaints on Avocado Avenue and it appears the recent Brightline construction has caused major issues for Melbourne residents and businesses.

I will be calling on Brightline for a comprehensive report relating to the flooding impacts that their project has caused our City and remedies to correct them.

FWIW, I'm not a Paul Affrey constituent nor particularly a fan. But if he "will be calling on" (asks) and the report denies Brightline is responsible, it doesn't really matter what his preconceived notion is. But his responsibility is to his constituents and I don't know of a politician who would not spin the question to favor his residents.
 

pennyk

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Is it better than Amtrak ?

If you have to get just around some of Florida ?
Right now, traveling in South Florida, I believe Brightline is much better than Amtrak. I do not believe commuters in South Florida use Amtrak. They use Tri-Rail or Brightline.

When Brightline expands to Orlando, I believe it will also be better than Amtrak (faster, more options, newer trains). However, for me, the Brightline Orlando airport station location is not convenient.
 

VentureForth

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Is it better than Amtrak ?

If you have to get just around some of Florida ?
Florida is a huge state with a population that competes with Texas for 3rd place in the nation. The traffic between West Palm Bay and Miami is absolutely crazy.

To answer your question: It should be absolutely better than Amtrak with trains currently hourly and later to be twice an hour in each direction. Currently, you only have Amtrak Northbound once in the morning (two when they return both Silvers to service) and returning in the evening. These times don't even allow for a single trip to Orlando and back in the same day.

Brightline is privately owned and operated. They use pretty new equipment (less than 5 years old), though I would argue not quite as comfortable. I felt like I was sitting on a plastic bench with a layer of leather.

For trips within the major metroplex, Brightline and Tri-Rail (the local government service) are best. Again, Amtrak with one trip in each direction daily can't be relied on. Brightline will be better than Tri-Rail, but much more expensive, but with only limited stops (currently three stations total). Tri-Rail is cheap but very slow and really only useful for shorter trips within the metroplex.

When the extension to Orlando is finished, it will be interesting to see how many people will actually want to go from the WPB-MIA basin to Orlando Airport. Not sure if Sunrail will connect when Brightline is serving the airport. Eventually when it does, the utility will become more valuable.

When Brightline extends to Tampa, I expect to see a lot of traffic between Tampa and Orlando and Miami and Orlando. It really wouldn't make too much sense to go from Miami to Tampa or vice versa. That can also be done currently on Amtrak. It's about 5 hours and 45 minutes. Brightline may save up to an hour or so. Driving takes about 4 hours. Flying can be done for less than $100.

So, yes. It'll be better than Amtrak, but will it have real value to Floridians? Since they are relying on their funds more than taxpayers money, they are hoping the risk will yield profit.
 

VentureForth

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Right now, traveling in South Florida, I believe Brightline is much better than Amtrak. I do not believe commuters in South Florida use Amtrak. They use Tri-Rail or Brightline.

When Brightline expands to Orlando, I believe it will also be better than Amtrak (faster, more options, newer trains). However, for me, the Brightline Orlando airport station location is not convenient.
You said what I said MUCH more concisely! :)
 

Anderson

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So, I'm starting to poke at spreadsheets regarding Brightline's ridership/revenue. One observation I have so far this year is that after an initial ramp-up, ridership has been flat for the last few months (hovering around 100k/month - we're 50k short of that because of lower ridership in Jan/Feb during the ramp-up, but Mar-Aug have all been around that level

I strongly suspect this is going to start rising when the Boca Raton and Aventura stations open up (if I had to guess, combined they'll add at least another 50% to this figure once they ramp up). I'm guessing that both will open in December, so we won't see much until early 2023.

I'm wondering about the Orlando opening timeline (as well as the possible stations in Cocoa and Stuart/Ft. Pierce). There was one news story where Brightline's folks seemed to tease trying to get that operational before the Christmas travel season, but that seems unlikely.

For that matter, does anybody know the planned frequencies up to Orlando? They don't seem to have enough sets for hourly service - that would probably require at least nine sets given that the one-way runtime is likely to be a hair over three hours and you need to allow for one to be down at any given time, be it for maintenance or for cyclical inspections. And given the number of grade crossing incidents, I'd probably want to have ten.
 

cirdan

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It will be certainly be a more pleasant experience getting to the OIA station from downtown by SunRail than the current Bus routine.
For that to work and provide an attractive connection, the trains would either have to be timed to connect, or be so frequent that it doesn't matter.
 

jis

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For that to work and provide an attractive connection, the trains would either have to be timed to connect, or be so frequent that it doesn't matter.
Not like the bus is that frequent either. While they talk about half hourly service, I think they will start with hourly when they get around to it. All that is at least five years away at the rate they are going.
 

railiner

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I do not believe commuters in South Florida use Amtrak. They use Tri-Rail or Brightline.
I do not believe commuters could use Amtrak, even in the unlikely situation they actually wanted to.
Amtrak will not sell tickets for travel wholly between West Palm Beach and Miami…
 

bonzoesc

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I do not believe commuters could use Amtrak, even in the unlikely situation they actually wanted to.
Amtrak will not sell tickets for travel wholly between West Palm Beach and Miami…
Every Amtrak station except the Miami Amshack is also a Tri-Rail station (and that area's served by a much less out-of-the-way combination Tri-Rail and Metrorail station), that tracks.
 
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