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Brightline/Virgin Trains (FEC) Update

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DSS&A

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Railroad tracks have been installed on Orlando Airport property and news updated on Nrightline and other nearby project:

 

joelkfla

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Railroad tracks have been installed on Orlando Airport property and news updated on Nrightline and other nearby project:

At the end of the article, it says the track that has been laid to date is not for revenue service, but just between the station and the maintenance facility.

The article also says a section of track will be in a trench at surficial aquifer level. I wonder if flooding will delay reopening following tropical cyclones.
 

west point

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At the end of the article, it says the track that has been laid to date is not for revenue service, but just between the station and the maintenance facility.

The article also says a section of track will be in a trench at surficial aquifer level. I wonder if flooding will delay reopening following tropical cyclones.
If Brightline does it correctly they will prove some kind of flood wall, gates, pumps etc to prevent that.
 

west point

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Wonder if the Virgin bankruptcy will change the name of Brightline ? Virgin might have to sell the naming rights to a buyer by the bankruptcy court.
 

chrsjrcj

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It sounds like Virgin never paid Brightline even pre-pandemic.

I prefer the Brightline branding over Virgin Trains, so I'm not sad to see it go even though operationally they still referred to themselves as Brightline and the only mention of Virgin from a passenger perspective was at Virgin MiamiCentral.
 

jis

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It sounds like Virgin never paid Brightline even pre-pandemic.
Why would Virgin pay Brightline for Brightline to use the Virgin brand? It is Brightline that used to pay Virgin a licensing fee to use the brand.

A Virgin Group subsidiary invested in Brightline something like 3% of the total investment capital of Brightline, and that happened when the deal closed. It is likely that Virgin Group still holds that asset. The deal also included certain restrictions on Brightline regarding what kinds of business it could enter into or not using the Virgin brand. That part of course has gone away as has the license fee payment since Brightline is not using the Virgin brand anymore.

Virgin Atlantic's bankruptcy tainted the brand thus breaking part of the conditions of the original branding agreement between the two companies. So Brightline terminated the deal last month when they learned about the forthcoming bankruptcy application. Virgin Atlantic needed to file for Chapter 15 bankruptcy as part of a restructuring deal in the UK to keep the company together through the pandemic.

Interestingly Brightline is unlikely to operate any commercial service until sometime next year possibly, after the new I-ETMS PTC system is installed and certified. At present Brightline FDC and FECR have no application for PTC approval in place with FRA. They withdrew their previous eATC based application. They have a contract with Wabtec to install I-ETMS as an overlay on their track circuit based signaling system.
 

jis

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I was unsure if Virgin ever made the investment in Brightline after the IPO never happened.
Ah! Got it.
I don't think it should....Virgin Voyages would have represented a miniscule percentage of the total cruises from the port of Miami...
Or, from Port Canaveral, if they ever built to that...
Building anything to Port Canaveral is an extremely non-trivial and expensive exercise which is unlikely to come to pass in the foreseeable future. Any Port Canaveral access will most likely be via bus from the Cocoa-Rockledge station.
 

cirdan

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Interestingly Brightline is unlikely to operate any commercial service until sometime next year possibly, after the new I-ETMS PTC system is installed and certified. At present Brightline FDC and FECR have no application for PTC approval in place with FRA. They withdrew their previous eATC based application. They have a contract with Wabtec to install I-ETMS as an overlay on their track circuit based signaling system.
Brightline must have very deep pockets if it can afford to wait that long without generating any revenue, all while maintaing costly assets, servicing loans, and while the clock is ticking on depreciation.

Retaining customers is also about retaining travelling habits, and the more you force them to look into alternative travel arrangements, the less likely they are to return when you need them.

If i was Brightline I would attempt to bring at least a skeletal service back asap, if only to retain vital customers and staff.
 

jis

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Brightline must have very deep pockets if it can afford to wait that long without generating any revenue, all while maintaing costly assets, servicing loans, and while the clock is ticking on depreciation.

Retaining customers is also about retaining travelling habits, and the more you force them to look into alternative travel arrangements, the less likely they are to return when you need them.

If i was Brightline I would attempt to bring at least a skeletal service back asap, if only to retain vital customers and staff.
They cannot run passenger trains anymore until they have PTC, which they won't until early next year at the earliest. So the question is entirely moot.

I have actually wondered if it is costing them any more in their current state with no employees and no service, vs. hundreds of employees and skeletal service with few passengers.

We have always known that they have deep pockets to lay the groundwork for better development of their real estate business, which is what this is all about. They are a real estate company with a railroad attached, as far as their Florida operations are concerned.
 
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McIntyre2K7

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If i was Brightline I would attempt to bring at least a skeletal service back asap, if only to retain vital customers and staff.

43% of the Florida's Covid 19 cases are in the counties that currently Brightline serve. I wouldn't want to be the person approving to resume the service only for large amounts of my staff to catch it.

I think the person backing Brightline co-owns an NBA basketball team and one of the major European soccer clubs.
 

railiner

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We have always known that they have deep pockets to lay the groundwork for better development of their real estate business, which is what this is all about. They are a real estate company with a railroad attached, as far as their Florida operations are concerned.
Isn't that how Henry M. Flagler got started in Florida?:)
 

jis

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Isn't that how Henry M. Flagler got started in Florida?:)
The old tradition continues in more ways than people realize. The name of the company now is Fortress Group, instead of FEC. FECI is a subsidiary of Fortress Group and Brightline is a subsidiary of FECI.

Notice that the deal was actually between Virgin Group and Fortress Group, and apparently Fortress pulled the plug.
 

Eric S

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43% of the Florida's Covid 19 cases are in the counties that currently Brightline serve. I wouldn't want to be the person approving to resume the service only for large amounts of my staff to catch it.

I think the person backing Brightline co-owns an NBA basketball team and one of the major European soccer clubs.
Wes Edens - Milwaukee Bucks
 

lordsigma

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Yeah, I suppose it's rational. It's just a shame to see the end of one of the FEC's most unique features. What other Class II has a full ATC system with cab signalling, after all.
It makes sense to keep and maintain the ATC with cab signaling and electronically integrate it into I-ETMS as jis is describing. In cab signal territory if you integrate the cab signals as an input into the I-ETMS on board computer cab codes can be used as the main source for wayside status on intermediate signal aspects and mainline switch position status which can cut down on the amount of wayside communications equipment you need to install for I-ETMS depending on how they decide to configure the implementation. For more info: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FRA-2010-0060-0047
 
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jadebenn

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It makes sense to keep and maintain the ATC with cab signaling and electronically integrate it into I-ETMS as jis is describing. In cab signal territory if you integrate the cab signals as an input into the I-ETMS on board computer cab codes can be used as the main source for wayside status on intermediate signal aspects and mainline switch position status which can cut down on the amount of wayside communications equipment you need to install for I-ETMS depending on how they decide to configure the implementation. For more info: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FRA-2010-0060-0047
Seems like that wouldn't satisfy interoperability requirements. But you seem more knowledgeable about this than I do. Would there be any issue with running foreign power in lead if they chose that route?

Also, updated link:
 

jis

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Seems like that wouldn't satisfy interoperability requirements. But you seem more knowledgeable about this than I do. Would there be any issue with running foreign power in lead if they chose that route?
That would be fine as long as the back office makes sure that the equivalent information is carried in the I-ETMS protocol messages too. It is OK to provide more information to engines equipped with a more capable system than I-ETMS, as long as the I-ETMS protocol is not violated.

This is how I-ETMS operates on some segments of the NEC. The maximum speed of I-ETMS trains are severly restricted compared to the max speed of ACSES II equipped trains. As long I-ETMS equipped engines are able to operate PTC needs are met. Does not prevent Acelas and Amtrak and other passenger trains in general not using I-ETMS and using their own system.

However, FECR I think is only retaining the track circuit based train location and integrity detection, and just feeding that information into their back office to integrate into the I-ETMS system. Signal aspects are fed from the signals into the back office.
 

lordsigma

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Seems like that wouldn't satisfy interoperability requirements. But you seem more knowledgeable about this than I do. Would there be any issue with running foreign power in lead if they chose that route?

Also, updated link:
As the document suggests the wayside segment of an I-ETMS implementation can be configured three different ways. With wayside signal interface units that use data radio, with cab signals, and through wayside to office to locomotive communications (office-connected.) If you use the cab signals approach you rely on cab signal integration to the I-ETMS On board computer for status on track circuits, intermediate signal points, mainline switchs, and anything else tied into it etc. The cab signal method of operation does still require WIUs or an office communications method to relay absolute stop/not stop status and route information at control points to facilitate the I-ETMS positive stop and civil speed enforcement through the switch along with any other switches/signals/devices that are not tied in with the cab signal system and have to be monitored. Using that approach requires the cab signal unit to be connected to the I-ETMS on board computer and I-ETMS will cut out if cab signals are cut out. Obviously that approach has interoperability limitations as equipment on that territory would have to have cab signals. You also can go with a total overlay approach and use the office connected or WIU approach with cab signal integration on top of it. All depends on what the railroad has and how much they want to spend. It sounds like FECR is probably going with an office connected approach with maybe adding the cab signal integration but not sure.
 
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lordsigma

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As the document suggests the wayside segment of an I-ETMS implementation can be configured three different ways. With wayside signal interface units that use data radio, with cab signals, and through wayside to office to locomotive communications (office-connected.)
I found the following in Amtrak's PTC Implementation Plan:

On the Northeast Corridor I-ETMS® trains will be equipped with on-board cab signal
systems. A WIU will only be required at each interlocking since signal speed
enforcement can be determined by the cab signal received through the rails. The WIU at
the interlocking will provide the functionality as above.

Looks like that's the approach Amtrak took.
 

neroden

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That would be fine as long as the back office makes sure that the equivalent information is carried in the I-ETMS protocol messages too. It is OK to provide more information to engines equipped with a more capable system than I-ETMS, as long as the I-ETMS protocol is not violated.

This is how I-ETMS operates on some segments of the NEC. The maximum speed of I-ETMS trains are severly restricted compared to the max speed of ACSES II equipped trains. As long I-ETMS equipped engines are able to operate PTC needs are met. Does not prevent Acelas and Amtrak and other passenger trains in general not using I-ETMS and using their own system.

However, FECR I think is only retaining the track circuit based train location and integrity detection, and just feeding that information into their back office to integrate into the I-ETMS system. Signal aspects are fed from the signals into the back office.
The idiot part of I-ETMS was the attempt to rely on GPS, which isn't precise enough to be useful. If I-ETMS can be fed information from track circuits, it should actually work pretty well.
 
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