Brightline Trains Florida update

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cirdan

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And my point is that speed claims are irrelevant unless they affect the financials in any way. No one cares if it does not affect the financials. 25mph difference in speed is not going to be a showstopper as far as that goes. There will be no abandoned stations in Tampa or Orlando for that reason.

Remember, they originally claimed service would start in 2016. No one has sued them about that yet even though it has clearly affected financials somewhat significantly. They have not met their original end to end time claims either, but no one cares about the 15-20 minutes miss and no stations are getting abandoned because of that. More are being built which will actually increase the size of the miss.

Even if they managed to run full speed between Orlando and Tampa (which they won't), the total end to end time difference between 125mph and 150 is something between 6 and 7 minutes. It will give them a little more time to turn the train around at each end, and either way it will be way faster than a car ride. It won't change the overall project significantly if they fail to reach 150mph.
I don't think it matters whether these things affect the financials or not.

Somebody made a false claim and investors can claim to have been mislead, and should Brightline miss any financial targets in future, and investors feel inclined to take up beef with Brightline over that, these things could get dragged out and causalities alleged even where there aren't any. This could happen even if the real reason with the dissatisfaction is something entirely different.

The best strategy is to not present any potential enemies with any easy targets and not needlessly present unfriendly lawyers with any low hanging fruit. In the company where I work every press release has to go through a strict and pedantic multi level approval precisely to avoid anything of this nature.

I have seen senior managers step back over more insignificant mistakes than this. Probably these were people who had their enemies anyway, but you don't want to be making it easy for them.
 

jis

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I suspect this will only last until Sun-Rail moves in onto the FEC. I don't think Brightline wants to lose longer trip, higher paying passengers to short distance, subsidized passengers.
Indeed! The Tri Rail NE Corridor Service which will operate on Brightline/FECR property is entirely driven by county and state subsidies. Brightline's own service will not be subsidized.

Construction of Brightline, specially through Orlando is not even Brightline's anymore. It is a complex public private partnership on which Brightline will rent space.

It all depends on how one defines subsidized/funded privately vs. publicly. Is the use of tax exempt bonds a form of subsidy?
 

Anderson

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I suspect this will only last until Sun-Rail moves in onto the FEC. I don't think Brightline wants to lose longer trip, higher paying passengers to short distance, subsidized passengers.
You mean Tri-Rail (or rather, the Miami-Dade/Broward commuter projects)?

Also, the plan (ten years ago) was for no subsidies. Ten years, a bunch of legal antics, a pandemic, and a string of interest rate hikes later there's room for Brightline to point to material changes in the business environment.

As long as the strings attached to them aren't problematic, I can't see an investor being able to make a claim that Brightline accepting subsidies (i.e. increasing revenue) is a negative. There's also a good chance that, with several years of data in hand, the subsidized tickets might not be evenly distributed across trains...but at the same time, if you look at the data they put out a few years ago, the estimate was that ridership would peak between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale...so if the county is basically paying to fill empty seats on the southernmost leg, that's also a win.
 
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I've been pondering some numbers. Forgive me if this has already been talked about.

We've been discussing whether or not Brightline is true HSR, but of course, Brightline is, by any standard, kind of a giant success.

At 1.2 million in 2022, Brightline has more ridership than any Amtrak route except for the big 2, and that number will likely skyrocket with the completion of the Orlando extension. I do understand that its hard to compare these things, but I do think its significant that Brightline is functioning as kind of a proof on concept.

It may not be a proof of concept for HSR, but it certainly is a proof of concept for a nice, clean (in terms of cleanliness), intercity rail service. In a way, it proves to silly naysayers (or at least people who've never heard of Japan) that rail can be relevant in the 21st century, even in America.

Now imagine if they electrified, and eliminated grade crossings.
 

west point

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IMO Brightline is not HSR. But it is definitely HrSR north of Palm Beach. 110 MPH and 125 MPH>
The biggest subsidity for either Brigntline or Tri-Rail will be the flyover over New River in FtLauderdale for just passenger trains.. Who pays for it with and how subsidity is divided will defining case.
 

jis

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Of course, we have yet to see what impact that the new storm, Nichole, may have on Brightline and/or the rail lines on the east coast.
Nothing that will cause any delay in construction. It is also becoming less and less likely that any service will be affected if the current trends continue.
 

Anderson

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I've been pondering some numbers. Forgive me if this has already been talked about.

We've been discussing whether or not Brightline is true HSR, but of course, Brightline is, by any standard, kind of a giant success.

At 1.2 million in 2022, Brightline has more ridership than any Amtrak route except for the big 2, and that number will likely skyrocket with the completion of the Orlando extension. I do understand that its hard to compare these things, but I do think its significant that Brightline is functioning as kind of a proof on concept.

It may not be a proof of concept for HSR, but it certainly is a proof of concept for a nice, clean (in terms of cleanliness), intercity rail service. In a way, it proves to silly naysayers (or at least people who've never heard of Japan) that rail can be relevant in the 21st century, even in America.

Now imagine if they electrified, and eliminated grade crossings.
I mean, Brightline has about 17x daily trains most days. Setting the NEC Regionals aside, the only routes that have gotten close in terms of frequency are the Surfliners (usually, but it has only seven buses right now LAX-SAN), the Capitol Corridor (12x/day OKJ-SAC, plus the Starlight), the Empire Corridor (9x/day plus the LSL; the Adirondack is still not back yet), and the Keystones (13x/day plus one Pennsylvanian).

Looking at other corridors, some longer ones do exceed Brightline in terms of ridership - but I think that Brightline when built to Orlando is more comparable to (say) LAX-SAN than some of the longer iterations.

The gist is that if you run a decently-fast, reasonably frequent train between two decent-sized cities (with intermediate stops in a populated area), you'll generate quite a bit of ridership.
 

VentureForth

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I mean, Brightline has about 17x daily trains most days. Setting the NEC Regionals aside, the only routes that have gotten close in terms of frequency are the Surfliners (usually, but it has only seven buses right now LAX-SAN), the Capitol Corridor (12x/day OKJ-SAC, plus the Starlight), the Empire Corridor (9x/day plus the LSL; the Adirondack is still not back yet), and the Keystones (13x/day plus one Pennsylvanian).

Looking at other corridors, some longer ones do exceed Brightline in terms of ridership - but I think that Brightline when built to Orlando is more comparable to (say) LAX-SAN than some of the longer iterations.

The gist is that if you run a decently-fast, reasonably frequent train between two decent-sized cities (with intermediate stops in a populated area), you'll generate quite a bit of ridership.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I completely agree with the caveat that there should be limited-stop express service for the fastest end-to-end times. And schedule adherence is a MUST.
 

cirdan

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The article says:

"One of my main goals when arriving in South Florida was to ensure we were having quality conversations with our partners at Brightline and the FEC, knowing it is the only way we are going to get through the hurdles that have been holding us up," said Executive Director David Dech, who has led TriRail since August.

Bit odd that they didn't realize that earlier?
 

jis

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The article says:

"One of my main goals when arriving in South Florida was to ensure we were having quality conversations with our partners at Brightline and the FEC, knowing it is the only way we are going to get through the hurdles that have been holding us up," said Executive Director David Dech, who has led TriRail since August.

Bit odd that they didn't realize that earlier?
Well TriRail's previous experience was to simply buy out CSX's property. They are hosted on CSX for a very short distance at the Mangonia end. The rest they are their own masters.

On the access to Miami Central and also on the Northeast Corridor they will be tenants on Florida Dispatching Company governed territory, which is equally influenced by FECR and Brightline. It is a new experience for them and the previous management could not wrap their head around it I suppose.
 
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I Will be down in the Miami area in April and would love to check out Brightline and everything to do with it. Not sure if it will happen though given I'll be traveling with a family member that has an agenda in mind that may not make it feasible. We'll have to play it by year! If not I'll likely take a joyride in October during my annual Orlando trip. April will actually also be my first Amtrak trip south of Kissemmee station.
 

jis

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I Will be down in the Miami area in April and would love to check out Brightline and everything to do with it. Not sure if it will happen though given I'll be traveling with a family member that has an agenda in mind that may not make it feasible. We'll have to play it by year! If not I'll likely take a joyride in October during my annual Orlando trip. April will actually also be my first Amtrak trip south of Kissemmee station.
If things go well you could travel from Orlando to Miami by Brightline even in April, and most certainly in October.
 
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