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Brightline Orlando Extension

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joelkfla

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They planned to take SR 417 to 536 to I4 which already gets them to the vicinity of Disney Springs.
I did not know the plan was to cut across on SR 536. Disney Springs is indeed close to the I-4/SR 536 junction. There's an extended exit ramp from that interchange directly into DS, which they could easily follow to a station on the West Side of DS.

ETA: This map from the the Orlando Sentinel in Jan. 2019 does not show using 536:
1606164503247.png
Source: Brightline to start building rail from South Florida to Orlando in March while it rebrands as Virgin Trains

Also in June 2019: Virgin Trains officials to break ground on high speed rail system in Orlando
 
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jis

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I did not know the plan was to cut across on SR 536. Disney Springs is indeed close to the I-4/SR 536 junction. There's an extended exit ramp from that interchange directly into DS, which they could easily follow to a station on the West Side of DS.

ETA: This map from the the Orlando Sentinel in Jan. 2019 does not show using 536:
View attachment 19645
Source: Brightline to start building rail from South Florida to Orlando in March while it rebrands as Virgin Trains

Also in June 2019: Virgin Trains officials to break ground on high speed rail system in Orlando
Brightline had published a more detailed map which showed the 536 option as the preferred one out of three or four different ones. I can’t find it any more, unfortunately. I will have to look in my private stash to if I squirreled a copy away. It was a PDF document IIRC.
 

McIntyre2K7

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As for service after Brightline gets to Tampa... yeah, it will make zero sense for Amtrak to go to Tampa then. That's still years from now, however, so we'll see about it when it happens. If Lakeland does not have a Brightline station, however (it is unclear whether it will) then Amtrak will probably continue making the "dogleg" because Lakeland won't want to lose service.
Lakeland officials have reached out to SunRail in regards of extending the service to Lakeland. I assume if that happens then Tampa officials might reach out to get it extended to Tampa. If Lakeland can get the SunRail then I don't see the need for them to get a Brightline station. If anything you have the Silver Star end in Tampa and have the Silver Meteor end in Miami. I think there would be 3 cities affected (Winter Haven, Sebring and Okeechobee) what you could do there is add thruway service from Lakeland to those cities or bring back the Floridian but have it serve the current route that the Silver Meteor does in Florida but once it leaves Jacksonville it goes to Atlanta (cut out the part that goes through Alabama) and send it to Chicago. Heck while you are at it bring the Sunset Limited back to Orlando as well. Now if you are in Florida you have a direct train that can get you to the Midwest, the Northeast and the West. Wishful thinking I guess..
 

jis

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Reaching out to SunRail is the easy part. Actually getting your County to cough up the financial commitment to be contributed each year is the not so easy part. At present Volusia is trying hard to weasel out of the agreement that they entered into. We'll see how wel Lakeland officials do convincing their county to make the financial commitment. And yes, it is the County that has to commit funds over the long run since FDOT won’t fund it beyond five years for startup, if that.

It is higly unlikely that Amtrak will set up an LD train turning facility in Tampa for just one train when they can just cart it over to Miami while providing some intra state service in Florida. Of course, after Brightline has built out fully covering JAX, ORL, TPA and MIA, then I suppose Amtrak could just terminate all its trains in JAX. :)
 
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joelkfla

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Brightline had published a more detailed map which showed the 536 option as the preferred one out of three or four different ones. I can’t find it any more, unfortunately. I will have to look in my private stash to if I squirreled a copy away. It was a PDF document IIRC.
Here is a brand new detailed progress report, which includes a map (p. 11) showing WDW access via SR-536. The map also shows proposed SunRail service from Innovation Way to WDW, and a separate proposed LRT or BRT route along SR-528 between MCO & the Convention Center. The report also says that the 2 additional So. FL stations are targeted to open in 2022.

Also, the Tampa extension is projected for 2029. with no Lakeland stop at this time.
 
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jis

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Here is a brand new detailed progress report, which includes a map (p. 11) showing WDW access via SR-536. The map also shows proposed SunRail service from Innovation Way to WDW, and a separate proposed LRT or BRT route along SR-528 between MCO & the Convention Center. The report also says that the 2 additional So. FL stations are targeted to open in 2022.

Also, the Tampa extension is projected for 2029. with no Lakeland stop at this time.
Thanks for finding the updated version of the document I was alluding to.

BTW, the LRT/Gadgetbahn from MCO to Convention Center via SR528 has been in the plans since very early on when the OIA station was proposed. It has gone through every possible mode (except Hyperloop) so far, having done the rounds with Monorail, Maglev, LRT and BRT so far. There is space and ROW set aside for it on OIA property. There is also space set aside at OIA station for an additional platform (low level) with two platform tracks for SunRail.

The Innovation Way to WDW is the proposed SunRail E-W Corridor that came up as part of the cost sharing proposal for the airport connection for SunRail. We'll see how that goes.

There are internal unannounced plans for two stations between Orlando and West Palm Beach too, with one of them firmly located at the Cocoa/Rockledge property of FECR, and the other yet to be determined somewhere Martin or St. Lucie County. I don;t think they will talk about them publicly until service starts to OIA.
 

jiml

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It is higly unlikely that Amtrak will set up an LD train turning facility in Tampa for just one train when they can just cart it over to Miami while providing some intra state service in Florida. Of course, after Brightline has built out fully covering JAX, ORL, TPA and MIA, then I suppose Amtrak could just terminate all its trains in JAX. :)
What would the limitations be on turning a train in Tampa? Are we talking things like no commissary, servicing, etc., or physical limitations in the terminal area? I'm just curious what would be involved. Presumably it was done previously when the sections were separated.
 

Qapla

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Tampa can physically reverse the direction of the train since they do that each time it goes there - they wye and back into the station. They do not have the facilities there to "service" the train for a "complete turn".
 
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jiml

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Tampa can physically reverse the direction of the train since they do that each time it goes there - they wye and back into the station. They do not have the facilities there to "service" the train for a "complete turn".
I've spent many winters around Tampa and have seen the train backing. I was more thinking of the restocking, laundry and staffing logistics. When the sections of the train were split "back in the day" this must all have happened. There's a lot to argue for more and better service in that area of the state. With Brightline some years away, it seems like a logical niche for Amtrak. I'd run one Silver to Miami (possibly via FEC as mentioned previously) and the other to Tampa/St. Pete, then look at a stub train to serve Tampa-Miami until Brightline fills that gap.
 

jis

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I've spent many winters around Tampa and have seen the train backing. I was more thinking of the restocking, laundry and staffing logistics. When the sections of the train were split "back in the day" this must all have happened. There's a lot to argue for more and better service in that area of the state. With Brightline some years away, it seems like a logical niche for Amtrak. I'd run one Silver to Miami (possibly via FEC as mentioned previously) and the other to Tampa/St. Pete, then look at a stub train to serve Tampa-Miami until Brightline fills that gap.
I am almost certain that Amtrak will not reinstate the staffing and facility needed to service an LD train in Tampa. The Star at present serves the purpose of a train to Tampa and a local train within Florida, and can be serviced in the established Miami base. This is not going to change in the foreseeable future. And nothing will get extended to St. Pete either. It will continue to be served by Thruway Bus.

Even if Amtrak manages to run a train down FEC, it will be a section of one of the trains coming from the North. They are not going to cut out Orlando and its vast market entirely from any train coming from the north, specially when they serve different routes up north.
 

joelkfla

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With Brightline some years away
[/QUOTE]
At least 9 years, according to the progress report.
 

neroden

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Reaching out to SunRail is the easy part. Actually getting your County to cough up the financial commitment to be contributed each year is the not so easy part. At present Volusia is trying to hard to weasel out of the agreement that they entered into. We'll see how wel Lakeland officials do convincing their county to make the financial commitment. And yes, it is the County that has to commit funds over the long run since FDOT won;t fund it beyond five years for startup, if that.

It is higly unlikely that Amtrak will set up an LD train turning facility in Tampa for just one train when they can just cart it over to Miami while providing some intra state service in Florida. Of course, after Brightline has built out fully covering JAX, ORL, TPA and MIA, then I suppose Amtrak could just terminate all its trains in JAX. :)
They could. Although in that long run, terminating Amtrak at ORL and servicing everything at facilities in Sanford is possibly more plausible.

Brightline is going to take a lot of Amtrak's ridership south of Orlando, there's no way around it. Hialeah is going to start looking like a worse servicing location than Beech Grove, which is already stranded. At some point Amtrak is going to have to think seriously about its bad shop locations.

When Tampa gets Brightline service, if Lakeland also gets service from Brightline or SunRail or anyone, then the Silver Star detour to Tampa will be unsustainable, I suspect. The intra-Florida traffic would be marginal at that point (Okechobee, Sebring, and Winter Haven to Tampa/Lakeland -- appears to be 5000 to 7000 people per year, and dropping each year). And it might actually be faster to take Brightline from Tampa to Orlando and catch Amtrak at Orlando than to take Amtrak direct from Tampa, which would eviscerate the main business.

That'll leave Okechobee, Sebring, and Winter Haven as the only stations between Miami and Orlando which don't have alternative service. These are significant so Amtrak would probably still continue running to Miami until/unless they get alternative service. Which they might -- a quick googling found advocacy from Polk County elected officials for connecting Winter Haven to SunRail.

However, at this point I don't see Lakeland getting Brightline service for quite a few years, so the current service patterns will probably remain unchanged for a while.
 

joelkfla

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And it might actually be faster to take Brightline from Tampa to Orlando and catch Amtrak at Orlando than to take Amtrak direct from Tampa, which would eviscerate the main business.
Except that Brightline will stop at the airport, and Amtrak stops just south of downtown. Getting from one to the other will be a real pain in the patootie, especially for physically challenged riders and people with large luggage.

If SunRail makes it out to the airport, it will be a direct connection between the two stations, but there's no telling how efficient the connections will be, and schlepping luggage will be a hassle.
 

jis

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One thing I would not yet do with full confidence is count all the Brightline chicken before even the eggs are properly laid. :D And who knows, come the next problem of any sort, Brightline might withdraw service again for months until they find it conveient to restart service. There are many issues of sustainable service provision that still remain unresolved in the initial euphoria.

Ideally Amtrak should add a stop at Meadow Woods, and Brightline should stop there too, making it a universal transfer station among all rail service around Orlando.

Whether SunRail will have a single seat ride service from its north leg to the Airport, which will be on its E-W corridor remains an open question. It could as well involve a transfer SunRail to SunRail at Meadow Woods. As none of this is really funded, we will not know what shape it will take eventually. Remember, SunRail is yet to find its way to Deland too which has been in the plans for over a decade now. And oh yes... The LRT/Monorail/Maglev/BRT from OIA to I-Drive/Convention Center that has been imminently being built and starting next year for the last decade or so too.

Remember, this *is* Florida, where at one time land was sold by the Gallon! 🤪
 
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railiner

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OBS staffing for a train terminating in Tampa, can be provided from the NY crew base... not sure about t&e crew...is there a base in JAX?
I still think Amtrak should keep both trains as they are, and not bother with what Brightline does or doesn’t do...
 

joelkfla

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OBS staffing for a train terminating in Tampa, can be provided from the NY crew base... not sure about t&e crew...is there a base in JAX?
I still think Amtrak should keep both trains as they are, and not bother with what Brightline does or doesn’t do...
At least for the next 9 years. Brightline is targeting service to Tampa for 2029.
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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No crew base in Jacksonville anymore. One of the issues about getting the Sunset Limited East to return was the closing of that T/E base.
 

jis

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What were the stops on the Sunset Limited east of New Orleans prior to Katrina?
Eastbound from NOL:

Bay St. Louis, MS
Gulfport, MS
Biloxi, MS
Pascagoula, MS
Mobile, AL
Atmore, AL
Pensacola, FL
Crestview, FL (Ft. Walton Beach)
Chipley, FL (Panama City)
Tallahassee, FL
Madison, FL
Lake City, FL (Gainesville)
Jacksonville, FL
Palatka, FL
DeLand, FL (Daytona Beach)
Sanford, FL
Winter Park, FL
Orlando, FL (Walt Disney World), Thruway Bus to Tampa and St. Petersburg

Ref: The Museum of Railway Timetables (timetables.org)
 
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Barb Stout

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Eastbound from NOL:

Bay St. Louis, MS
Gulfport, MS
Biloxi, MS
Pascagoula, MS
Mobile, AL
Atmore, AL
Pensacola, FL
Crestview, FL (Ft. Walton Beach)
Chipley, FL (Panama City)
Tallahassee, FL
Madison, FL
Lake City, FL (Gainesville)
Jacksonville, FL
Palatka, FL
DeLand, FL (Daytona Beach)
Sanford, FL
Winter Park, FL
Orlando, FL (Walt Disney World), Thruway Bus to Tampa and St. Petersburg

Ref: The Museum of Railway Timetables (timetables.org)
How wonderful that must have been. Can you imagine taking it all the way from LA to Orlando through all those stops?! I can't because I have never been to those places east of San Antonio.
 

jis

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I suspect the Sunset Limited discussion belongs somewhere other than the Brightline thread. It is unlikely that Brightline will ever directly interface with the Sunset Limited anywhere.

Also for Mods attention, maybe it is time to get rid of the "Virgin Trains" moniker from the title of this thread? They are gone and are not coming back anytime soon.
 
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