Brightline Orlando Extension

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VentureForth

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I don't know the schedule at all, but a signboard stating that the the 528 exit from I-95 will be closed on 6/8 says to me that could be the date they install the bridge beams over I-95! That would be way cool.
The exit to FL-528 from I-95 has been pushed back a week. I've noticed about two/three bridges along the Beeline with the beams installed. Activity near the airport is very busy.
 

VentureForth

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They could use a real low tech technique used at many places in India, where they place an extremely robust structure that is a little lower than the bottom of the bridge girder on each side of the bridge so that the over height road vehicle has an opportunity to destroy itself without affecting the bridge. Works like a charm each time, what with carcasses of road vehicles left unrecovered by those protection barrier beams. 🤷‍♂️

They use a lighter structure to forewarn road traffic of the height of 25kV catenary contact wires. These are placed further from the track allowing the driver to take corrective action, like stopping. Seems to work quite well too.


My guess is around 12' or less. The adjacent Rt 1 overpass is 11'7". The truck came from the upstream side so it did not have an opportunity to have an encounter with that structure which has shorn many a truck of their tops.

There is no girder over Melbourne Ave. on the second track alignment so there is nothing to salvage. It is possible that Melbourne Ave. will remain closed for a while.

A robust bridge alignment protection system may be in order in addition to just an intrusion and displacement detection system. The new trestle is not particularly higher than the current one, since they are using the same height approaches from both banks.

Here is what happens quite often at the adjacent Rt. 1. overpass ...

So they aren't really going to be inclined to install that bridge any higher than the current 11'9", even if they could, considering that the US-1 is at 11'7".

Interestingly, according to Google Maps (I'll verify next time I'm out there in person) if you approach the rail trestle from either Depot Ave or Henley Ct., you'll never see the height warnings because there is no max headroom signage on the rail bridge itself.

The federal recommendation is 14'. Obviously, Melbourne Ave isn't a federal highway, but a savvy lawyer could have quite a case against the FEC for not having any markings on the bridge itself.

Lots of condos in view of both of those bridges. A local could set up the next 11foot7 or 11foot9 YouTube channel.

In Greenville, TX, there was a height sensor along I-30. If a truck was too high for the next overpass, lights would flash to guide the truck to the next off-ramp (it's since been upgraded). Tech exists, but you can't always fix stupid.
 
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lordsigma

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Was looking thru the FECR/Brightline PTCSP. It looks like they are installing 52 WIUs on all 38 signal locations between WPB and Miami with 7 base radios. They will not be integrating their cab signals with PTC - they instead will install WIUs on all block signal locations. This is unlike the approach CSX and NS took in their cab signaled subdivisions where they integrated cab signals and only installed WIUs at control points/interlockings - Amtrak also did the same as CSX/NS on the portion of the NEC they overlayed with I-ETMS. FECR's proposed implementation is more like the approach UP has taken and UP is eventually looking to discontinue cab signals altogether. The document seems to hint that FECR will continue to keep their full ATC system active with no hint that they eventually hope to phase it out - I think I saw the federal laws still require a cab signal system for speeds greater than 79 even with PTC - does anyone know for sure what the law says on that?
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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IE: Rebuilding of bridges. Each state has a height standard, not the Federal Government. The general state laws are when you rebuild a bridge it must meet the current requirements. That said the state will waver the height requirements if there a need. A GPS for a car does not work for a truck. A GPS for a truck has height feature that can be adjusted for different type of vehicles. A GPS does not replace a trained alert driver.
 
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The federal recommendation is 14'. Obviously, Melbourne Ave isn't a federal highway, but a savvy lawyer could have quite a case against the FEC for not having any markings on the bridge itself.
I would think it was the highway departments responsibility to warn vehicles about low bridges. The railroad was probably there well before the road crossing, and the height at the time, like many older bridges was sufficient for contemporary traffic. When vehicle heights increased, the highway should have been rebuilt, closed, or height restricted warning signs put in place...
 

jis

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Suffice it to say there is no highway involved here. It is a local 30mph road. And oddly enough it was there before FEC was built.

The main road Strawbridge Ave. to the Melbourne Causeway is two roads over and crosses the railroad at a grade crossing and has 35 mph speed limit. It is a US Highway as in US 192.
 
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jis

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jis: Now that you mention it. How is the Tri-Rail to Miami Central progressing as to PTC ? Or is that all tied up for PTC to Palm Beach ?
As I said earlier it is all the same PTC implementation. FECR/BTF submitted their Test Request V1.1 (Docket #RRS-210407-005) and got it approved around April 9th, 2021. Tests have been proceeding since then. I-ETMS Phase 1 covers only WPB to Miami Central, the Port lead and the main line towards Bowden Yard upto Iris, which is considered to be also the entrance to Bowden Yard I suppose. But primarily it is all trackage targeted for passenger operation. This answers another one your question.
 
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jis

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Was looking thru the FECR/Brightline PTCSP. It looks like they are installing 52 WIUs on all 38 signal locations between WPB and Miami with 7 base radios. They will not be integrating their cab signals with PTC - they instead will install WIUs on all block signal locations. This is unlike the approach CSX and NS took in their cab signaled subdivisions where they integrated cab signals and only installed WIUs at control points/interlockings - Amtrak also did the same as CSX/NS on the portion of the NEC they overlayed with I-ETMS. FECR's proposed implementation is more like the approach UP has taken and UP is eventually looking to discontinue cab signals altogether. The document seems to hint that FECR will continue to keep their full ATC system active with no hint that they eventually hope to phase it out - I think I saw the federal laws still require a cab signal system for speeds greater than 79 even with PTC - does anyone know for sure what the law says on that?
I finally managed to read that document. The ATC and I-ETMS are maintained pretty separately. The only interaction is in the back office where the WIU transmitted status is integrated into the authorization logic. Interestingly, the signal aspect is transmitted now over the 220MHz and/or Cellular link to the locomotive. I presume the Loco Control Unit is fed both pieces of information and enforces the most restrictive of them, but nothing is mentioned about that. I get the feeling that the only thing done with the signal aspect info is to display it, which would be weird since it does involve so much effort to get it there and then not use in the enforcement logic.

As for requiring cab signal, that would be an odd requirement since the target speed of zero is pretty solid indication I would imagine. But who knows?

I am left wondering why they did it this way. It does provide an extra layer of fail safe redundancy, but potentially the operating crew has to deal with two set of warnings and chimes etc. I will look for some further explanation of why.
 
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joelkfla

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Big battle at today's CFX board meeting between the I-Drive-or-Bust contingent and the Get-it-Done-Now contingent for the Disney-Tampa extension.

Hunter Creek reps said they got their own consulting firm to look at the alignment costs, and that Brightline's cost estimates are full of it. DeSantis' man tried to convince the other board members that signing the MOU was just stepping into a bucketful of trouble. Orange County Mayor Demmings said that if you think you'll be getting money from the county to pay for the 528 alignment, you've got another think coming, 'cause the money just ain't there. Another member followed up saying why bother even discussing the 528 alignment when there's no money for it, no matter whether it's $1B or $200M. Somebody else pointed out that if the 528 alignment were to be taken, CFX wouldn't be involved anyway (that segment of 528 is owned by FLDOT). Then the Lee County rep threw his support to the 528 alignment, even while acknowledging that his county wasn't directly involved.

Getting a bit off topic, but giving me a few laughs, an Orlando councilwoman (I think) talked about how wonderfully freight railroads share their tracks with Amtrak, so Brightline should share their tracks with whoever wants to use them (apparently implying that included light rail.) One of the Brightline reps gently pointed out that some technologies are compatible, and some others are not.

Things got a bit heated at one point, when someone cast aspersions on "the way things are done in Tallahassee." DeSantis' man took exception, and started speechifying about how DeSantis has been the foremost champion of individual rights. To which another board member quickly retorted, "Not if you're LGBTQ!"

So anyway, as it stands, the MOU will be tweaked and come up for formal discussion and approval at a special July meeting. Meanwhile, CFX, Brightline, and Hunters Creek will try to get together and work out the differences on the cost estimates, possibly bringing in yet another consulting firm as the referee.

If the MOU is approved in July, it looks like it will be by a split vote. If it's not, FLDOT has threatened to scuttle the whole extension.
 
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lordsigma

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I finally managed to read that document. The ATC and I-ETMS are maintained pretty separately. The only interaction is in the back office where the WIU transmitted status is integrated into the authorization logic. Interestingly, the signal aspect is transmitted now over the 220MHz and/or Cellular link to the locomotive. I presume the Loco Control Unit is fed both pieces of information and enforces the most restrictive of them, but nothing is mentioned about that. I get the feeling that the only thing done with the signal aspect info is to display it, which would be weird since it does involve so much effort to get it there and then not use in the enforcement logic.

As for requiring cab signal, that would be an odd requirement since the target speed of zero is pretty solid indication I would imagine. But who knows?

I am left wondering why they did it this way. It does provide an extra layer of fail safe redundancy, but potentially the operating crew has to deal with two set of warnings and chimes etc. I will look for some further explanation of why.
I'm surprised they didn't take CSX/NS's approach integrating it. CSX/NS saved some money in their cab signaled subdivisions by using the cab signal integration as the intermediate signal input to PTC and only installing WIUs on their home signals in the cab signalled territories. Having said that in a lot of the CSX/NS involved subdivisions they have gone to the "cabs without waysides" operating model - the RF&P being one big exception. The RF&P has wayside intermediates but no WIUs on the intermediates they rely on the cab integration.
 

jis

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I'm surprised they didn't take CSX/NS's approach integrating it. CSX/NS saved some money in their cab signaled subdivisions by using the cab signal integration as the intermediate signal input to PTC and only installing WIUs on their home signals in the cab signalled territories. Having said that in a lot of the CSX/NS involved subdivisions they have gone to the "cabs without waysides" operating model - the RF&P being one big exception. The RF&P has wayside intermediates but no WIUs on the intermediates they rely on the cab integration.
I guess one could argue that using cab signal integration like CSX, NS have done makes the system less interoperable, specially if the cab signal aspect pickup requires an additional interface to the legacy Coded Track Circuit in the locomotive. NS and CSX are blessed with having a CTC system that is more or less compatible with such in adjacent railroads and there is a large pool of locomotives equipped to work with those, so it is less of an issue for them than for FEC which has a unique ATC system. Allowing foreign power to operate purely using I-ETMS and not requiring additional ATC equipment might have motivated them to fully transfer all signal information Home and Block to the I-ETMS system and transmitting the information over its wireless network. Just a wild a$$ guess.
 

lordsigma

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I guess one could argue that using cab signal integration like CSX, NS have done makes the system less interoperable, specially if the cab signal aspect pickup requires an additional interface to the legacy Coded Track Circuit in the locomotive. NS and CSX are blessed with having a CTC system that is more or less compatible with such in adjacent railroads and there is a large pool of locomotives equipped to work with those, so it is less of an issue for them than for FEC which has a unique ATC system. Allowing foreign power to operate purely using I-ETMS and not requiring additional ATC equipment might have motivated them to fully transfer all signal information Home and Block to the I-ETMS system and transmitting the information over its wireless network. Just a wild a$$ guess.
That makes sense - also from what I’ve heard about CSX’s setup when you rely on that approach you essentially have to cut out PTC if you have to cut out cabs because then PTC will assume a restricting aspect if cabs are cut out and you’ll be stuck at restricted speed - at least on the RF&P. On other divisions where it’s cabs without waysides they may have built functionality into I-ETMS for the c light at home signals where if the WIU reports a c signal then the train can proceed at speed to the next interlocking but I don’t know for sure. On the RF&P CSX is looking for permission to remove their traditional ATC speed control on their locomotives (RF&P is the only subdivision where they have atc speed control) they state that ATC speed control problems cause them to have to completely cut out cab signals in the locomotive which in turn makes them have to cut out PTC in this particular territory. A benefit to ending the use of Conventional speed control is that it would allow you to get closer to the real point on which you have to slow down as I-ETMS knows where the actual aspect change points are and knows the point at which it needs to create a speed target for a cab signal downgrade whereas old fashioned speed control starts enforcing it right away after whatever delay period it has. They will maintain the automatic train stop portion which stops the train if the engineer does not acknowledge the cab signal downgrade.
 
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Anderson

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sighs

Is there a map handy of the two routings?

(Also, given that there's been serious talk of an interchange station at Hunter's Creek, I'd like to see Brightline get an agreement with SunRail for that and then turn around and say "Now you're getting all the benefits of it, so stuff your lawsuit".
 

VentureForth

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They are stating that the Taft-Vineland route is preferred by the I-Drive businesses, but there is no discussion of there being any stop between Disney Springs and MCO regardless of the routing.

I would love to see a monorail or some sort of high capacity mass transit along International Drive between Sea World and Universal. The traffic, even right now as we ease off Covid, is horrible. Brightline isn't likely going to be that answer.
 
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jis

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sighs

Is there a map handy of the two routings?
(Also, given that there's been serious talk of an interchange station at Hunter's Creek, I'd like to see Brightline get an agreement with SunRail for that and then turn around and say "Now you're getting all the benefits of it, so stuff your lawsuit".
Hunter's Creek? No. Meadow Woods. Yes.
 

joelkfla

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They are stating that the Taft-Vineland route is preferred by the I-Drive businesses, but there is no discussion of there being any stop between Disney Springs and MCO regardless of the routing.

I would love to see a monorail or some sort of high capacity mass transit along International Drive between Sea World and Universal. The traffic, even right now as we ease off Covid, is horrible. Brightline isn't likely going to be that answer.
Not true. Most of the people lobbying for the northern route are also pushing for a stop at the Convention Center.

Of course, the Hunters Creek NIMBYs don't care one way or the other; they just want it someplace else.
 

neroden

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Looks like the "panel tunnel" (precast-segment tunnel) is going pretty fast, faster than I would have guessed. SR 520 bridge pilings are going in very slowly but they seem to be progressing.

Which things are progressing faster is a bit mysterious to me. What I'm used to with civil construction is that it's always the earthworks and foundations which take very long or unpredictable amounts of time. I remember a project in my hometown -- adding two bridges to relieve a bottleneck over a flood control channel -- where bridge abutments and piers took an entire summer to place, and then had to settle (!) for an entire year before bridge decks could be built, by which time the next year's construction season was over, thus taking the project into year three of construction. And then the entire rest of the project (bridge decks for multiple bridges and rearrangement of many roads and traffic lights, and sidewalks) took one construction season.

Anyway, it looks to me like the entire Orlando extension track will be ready (with the possible exception of the slow-moving SR-520 bridge) before the bridge replacements on the existing line are anywhere close to done. That'll be interesting. I do wonder whether Brightline will be able to beat their planned opening date for Orlando; mid-2023 or even early-2023 sounds awfully late.

They should be able to run on a new single-track bridge for sure (given that some areas will be single-tracked in final operation); whether they would be willing to run over one of the original bridges, perhaps not. So my best guess right now is that the critical path runs through the Eau Gallie River bridge. I'll repeat my previous assessment:

After looking at the Brightline construction advisory of 5/2/21, I think I have a better sense of what the slowest items in the construction are.

The bridges over Eau Gallie River (Melbourne) and Turkey Creek (Palm Bay), are scheduled to have ongoing construction through Q3 2022. The bridge over the Sebastian River (Sebastian) through "2022". The others are all supposed to be done earlier: Crane Creek (Melbourne) in Q2 2022, and most other stuff is listed as finishing in 2021. Although the Loxahatchee River (Jupiter) bridge may have a second part to it based on the work description.

From Orlando to Cocoa, there's one bridge (SR 520) which has barely started, with some drainage to deal with in the area too, and the precast-segment tunnel under 528 is a slow process, but the rest of the civil construction looks likely to be done well before the end of 2021.

This definitely makes me wonder if they can get service to Orlando running earlier in 2022 than their planned end-of-2022. They'd be four bridges short -- and in each case, by then they may already have one single-track bridge and be working on the second one. This might allow an early start. It would certainly be to their benefit to get some revenue coming in from Orlando-Miami trips ASAP.
TLDR: It looks like the critical path for finishing construction runs through one of the following. I have ordered this list from most likely to least likely to be on the critical path:

Eau Gallie River bridge in Melbourne -- construction trestle barely started (two spans), pilings for first new track not started (trestle must be finished first)

Turkey Creek bridge in Palm Bay -- temporary construction trestle not even started as of end of May (but this is a short bridge... so should be quicker than Eau Gallie)

Sebastian River bridge in Sebastian -- construction trestle present, about half of pilings for first new track in place

SR 520 bridge on extension to Orlando -- still working on pilings, but most are at least partway in

Crane Creek Bridge in Melbourne -- piers for one track are done

Loxahatchee River Bridge in Jupiter -- old piers will be reused
 

Anderson

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Hunter's Creek? No. Meadow Woods. Yes.
My bad. I mixed up the two.

Honestly, there is a "fascinating" tension on the northern route...it'd be interesting to see how everyone would react if Disney "did a deal" behind the scenes that resulted in no International Drive station for some time in spite of that routing being chosen (something that I think we could all see Disney pulling off). IIRC Disney fought to avoid that routing being used last time around...it's pretty clear they want the train to be "their" thing.

(Candidly, in a situation where the costs are close to equal and there's a Disney Springs station regardless, SR528 probably makes more sense. You could still do an interchange stop somewhere in the Boggy Creek area, and the business potential from any sort of transit connection at an I-Drive station is, if not similar to Disney, at least a reasonably close second between the Convention Center and the [theoretical] ability to connect up to Universal and down to Sea World. There are a decent number of hotels along I-Drive; the main "gap" in the area is access to Universal [the trolley goes to Sea World and Aquatica but not Universal].)
 

joelkfla

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There are a decent number of hotels along I-Drive; the main "gap" in the area is access to Universal [the trolley goes to Sea World and Aquatica but not Universal].)
That will undoubtedly change when Universal opens their new park on former Lockheed Martin property, and I believe they've already said that they'll be running their own shuttle between the new park and the existing parks.
 
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