Quantcast

Brightline/Virgin Trains Orlando-Miami update Orlando Sentinel 11/21/19

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,167
Location
Gator Country Florida
I found this map showing possible routing and stops for the Orlando to Tampa extension - they do plan on following I-4 and using however much of the I-4 ROW they can
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,575
Location
Virginia
@jis I think we're in "violent agreement" here. If you could get the train down to the cruise docks, that would be one thing (a hotel transfer to the train station isn't overkill, and I do wonder if there's not a salable proposition of handling the security checks, if not the passport checks, at the station to be had...mind you, I don't know if that could be done without making a mess of things given Totally Stupid Administration rules, but it would be worth consideration given how backed-up-to-hell cruise ports tend to get).

@Qapla That's from the previous project from circa 2010. Now, Brightline is likely to do something similar...but it is anybody's guess as to what the actual plans will end up being. For example, the interface stop with SunRail wasn't in the original proposal.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,167
Location
Gator Country Florida
Regardless of where they decide to put a Disney stop - it is still 16 miles from the Airport to Disney. The benefit of a train over a shuttle is that the train does not have to stop for traffic lights and traffic jams ... something that is getting worse in the Celebration/Kissimmee/Disney area
 

Dixie

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
39
Location
Johnson City TN
Disney does quite a bit of cruise business out of Miami (and 3x/week out of Port Canaveral/Cocoa), so it's in their best interest to play nice with Brightline to provide train service from the World to PortMiami and keep those guests in the Disney bubble, so to speak.
With three new ships joining the Disney Cruise fleet in '22, '23, '24, there will be a huge need for increased transportation from WDW to both Port Canaveral and Miami and who knows what other ports in Florida and elsewhere (yet to be announced/determined). Royal Caribbean is porting their huge 5000+passenger Oasis-class ships in Canaveral now and Norwegian has also put some of their larger ships there as well, and Carnival has been increasing the size of their ships at Canaveral, too.
It's dumb IMO not to work with Port Canaveral to get Brightline out there from MCO airport for all the cruise traffic. The port served over 4.5 million passengers in 2018. That is a lot of bus/taxi/uber traffic that could easily be converted to passenger rail and get those cars off the road.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,575
Location
Virginia
Disney does quite a bit of cruise business out of Miami (and 3x/week out of Port Canaveral/Cocoa), so it's in their best interest to play nice with Brightline to provide train service from the World to PortMiami and keep those guests in the Disney bubble, so to speak.
With three new ships joining the Disney Cruise fleet in '22, '23, '24, there will be a huge need for increased transportation from WDW to both Port Canaveral and Miami and who knows what other ports in Florida and elsewhere (yet to be announced/determined). Royal Caribbean is porting their huge 5000+passenger Oasis-class ships in Canaveral now and Norwegian has also put some of their larger ships there as well, and Carnival has been increasing the size of their ships at Canaveral, too.
It's dumb IMO not to work with Port Canaveral to get Brightline out there from MCO airport for all the cruise traffic. The port served over 4.5 million passengers in 2018. That is a lot of bus/taxi/uber traffic that could easily be converted to passenger rail and get those cars off the road.
The question is the net cost of starting such a service. You'd be looking at needing about eight miles of track (this might be doable on single track) with most of that as a bridge. That won't be cheap. The junction work needed to access Port Canaveral from both the Miami and Orlando directions would also be a potential mess.

The flipside is that, based on existing cruise numbers, there's probably a market of 500k-1m pax/year if you can cover access from both sides (Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Orlando), and those pax would presumably mostly ride twice.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I think any extension to Port Canaveral is going to remain a wet dream of dreamers for a while yet, unless someone steps forward to foot the cost of construction of the facilities. Even if it happens, it is probably more than 15 years away. Too many other more lucrative projects to pay attention to first.

Disney I am sure will choose whatever makes business sense for them at the time. As long as Brightline gives them a deal they can't refuse, cheaper than Mears they'll take it, and Mears will work hard to undercut Brightline on the Disney - Port Canaveral business, if and when Brightline is able to make a reasonably usable proposal. That is how these things go.

BTW, the necessary bridge will be crossing the Intercoastal Waterway, so will have to conform to clearance requirements for it. It will either have to be as high as the SR528 Causeway Bridge, or be a movable bridge. Both adds significant expense. As @Anderson said, won't be cheap at all. It could come out costing a very significant proportion of the SR528 segment between Cocoa and Orlando. Personally I think that money would be better spent as part of an electrification project for the Miami - Orlando segment and possible jacking up the speed between Cocoa and Orlando while at it.

It will also be interesting to see what service pattern they land up with around Orlando. They will have three stations in the Orlando area - OIA, Meadow Woods (SunRail connection), Resorts (Disney connection). If the only service connecting these is the hourly Tampa service, that will get swamped by local traffic leaving few seats for through traffic to Tampa from anywhere other than Resorts. So it would seem that Brightline will have to enter into what amounts to commuter business in the Orlando area in addition to the Express service to Tampa and Miami. Should be interesting to see how they go about handling this. Seems similar to a developing issue on the Coastal Corridor from Miami.

As for cruise terminal traffic, if they can set up connecting bus/van service between Cocoa-Rockledge and Canaveral Cruise Terminal, and also Tampa to Tampa Cruise Terminal, they could capture local traffic to cruise ships as well as a segment of commuting employees perhaps for relatively little additional expense. From Cocoa-Rockledge, they could do a shuttle that hits both the Canaveral Cruise Terminal and Kennedy Space Center too.Indeed Space Coast Area Transit could take that on together with an express bus connection to its Melbourne - Palm Bay network.
 
Last edited:

Brian_tampa

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
277
It will also be interesting to see what service pattern they land up with around Orlando. They will have three stations in the Orlando area - OIA, Meadow Woods (SunRail connection), Resorts (Disney connection). If the only service connecting these is the hourly Tampa service, that will get swamped by local traffic leaving few seats for through traffic to Tampa from anywhere other than Resorts. So it would seem that Brightline will have to enter into what amounts to commuter business in the Orlando area in addition to the Express service to Tampa and Miami. Should be interesting to see how they go about handling this. Seems similar to a developing issue on the Coastal Corridor from Miami.
Back at the April 2019 FDFC board meeting in Orlando held to approve the last PAB allocation, a person working on the phase 2 project (an engineer I think) told me that Brightline was considering using DMU trainsets for local service between MCO/MeadowWoods/Resorts. It was also mentioned they might be Disney themed trainsets. I would imagine if this came to pass, that it would consist of several 2 or 3 car length trainsets. That would solve the problem of local Orlando ridership overwhelming intercity service to/from Tampa that you mention.

On another topic, has anyone heard any update on the FDOT/CFX lease negotiations with Brightline? It is now Dec 1 and only 30 more days until the latest deadline.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Back at the April 2019 FDFC board meeting in Orlando held to approve the last PAB allocation, a person working on the phase 2 project (an engineer I think) told me that Brightline was considering using DMU trainsets for local service between MCO/MeadowWoods/Resorts. It was also mentioned they might be Disney themed trainsets. I would imagine if this came to pass, that it would consist of several 2 or 3 car length trainsets. That would solve the problem of local Orlando ridership overwhelming intercity service to/from Tampa that you mention.
Good to know. Maybe they will do something similar with the whole slowly developing Coastal Commuter thing developing between Miami and Fort Lauderdale for now, and inevitably will extend to West Palm Beach.

I wonder if there will be fare segregation between express service and local service. I think it is very likely.

Anyway, this is all good, since just running 16 trains each way on an RoW that is capable of hosting many times more would seem like extreme under-utilization and leaving potential money on the table anyway.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,205
jis will the no local traffic from Orlando to Cocoa provision from the turnpike authority have any problems that would eliminate the traffic to Port Canaveral
'?
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
jis will the no local traffic from Orlando to Cocoa provision from the turnpike authority have any problems that would eliminate the traffic to Port Canaveral
'?
It was actually no local traffic between Orlando and anything north of West Palm Beach without negotiating compensation to CFTA.

They will have to negotiate with CFTA. But since the basic formula is now known it should not be a very lengthy discussion. They have to do that for all the proposed stations between West Palm Beach and Orlando anyway. It potentially adds at most a dollar or so to each fare, or something like that.

This also does not affect any trip that does not use the SR528 segment.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,575
Location
Virginia
It was actually no local traffic between Orlando and anything north of West Palm Beach without negotiating compensation to CFTA.

They will have to negotiate with CFTA. But since the basic formula is now known it should not be a very lengthy discussion. They have to do that for all the proposed stations between West Palm Beach and Orlando anyway. It potentially adds at most a dollar or so to each fare, or something like that.

This also does not affect any trip that does not use the SR528 segment.
There's a known quantity fare as long as they don't do "commuter" service, which was defined as "more than one station per county". If Brightline were to add more stops that might reopen the fare negotiation...but there might be a loophole if the Orlando-area-bound trains don't make the additional stops (thinking in the context of possible commuter service running a few stops past WPB).
 

cirdan

Conductor
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,391
I found this map showing possible routing and stops for the Orlando to Tampa extension - they do plan on following I-4 and using however much of the I-4 ROW they can
That looks like a prety cruel reverse curve south of Orlando airport. Too many go-slow segments can wreck the entire HSR concept. Furthermore, if Disney passengers are being transferred from the airport, this may well be their first taste of a high speed train so they should really seek to make that short segment as high speed as possible to show off the technology at its best.
 

cirdan

Conductor
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,391
Anyway, this is all good, since just running 16 trains each way on an RoW that is capable of hosting many times more would seem like extreme under-utilization and leaving potential money on the table anyway.
I expect in the longer term this is what will happen anyway.

But by the time you're running 4 trains per hour or more, electrification would be a good idea to look into, so over-investing in equipment today would not be wise.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,679
That looks like a prety cruel reverse curve south of Orlando airport. Too many go-slow segments can wreck the entire HSR concept. Furthermore, if Disney passengers are being transferred from the airport, this may well be their first taste of a high speed train so they should really seek to make that short segment as high speed as possible to show off the technology at its best.
That map is not the brightline route.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
There's a known quantity fare as long as they don't do "commuter" service, which was defined as "more than one station per county". If Brightline were to add more stops that might reopen the fare negotiation...but there might be a loophole if the Orlando-area-bound trains don't make the additional stops (thinking in the context of possible commuter service running a few stops past WPB).
I am sure there will also be some fare negotiations to account for traffic removed from the SR417 tollway corridor and indirectly from the western end of SR528 by the OIA - Meadow Woods - Resorts segment of the OIA - Tampa route.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
That looks like a prety cruel reverse curve south of Orlando airport. Too many go-slow segments can wreck the entire HSR concept. Furthermore, if Disney passengers are being transferred from the airport, this may well be their first taste of a high speed train so they should really seek to make that short segment as high speed as possible to show off the technology at its best.
I'd strongly recommend ignoring that map that has been posted completely, since it does not reflect anything even close to the current plans other than using the I-4 RoW for a significant part of the rail route between where SR417 crosses I-4 and the boundary of Tampa. Even there the exact routing through Lakeland is a bit up in the air. And in particular, the routing between OIA and I-4 is nowhere near what is shown on that map, which was a piece of wishful thinking in the past.

As we have discussed above, the OIA to Resorts passengers will most likely travel mostly by local commuter style DMUs and not by the Express trains anyway. It is just a 16 mile trip with one stop on the way at Meadow Woods to interchange with SunRail.

Incidentally, not a single inch of Brightline can be classified as HSR in standard world terminology, and the segment between OIA and Resorts will most likely not even be 125mph.
 
Last edited:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,575
Location
Virginia
I am sure there will also be some fare negotiations to account for traffic removed from the SR417 tollway corridor and indirectly from the western end of SR528 by the OIA - Meadow Woods - Resorts segment of the OIA - Tampa route.
Oh, agreed. IIRC the settlement also "only" covered OIA-Miami, not the Tampa extension (or anything else).
 

cirdan

Conductor
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,391
As we have discussed above, the OIA to Resorts passengers will most likely travel mostly by local commuter style DMUs and not by the Express trains anyway. It is just a 16 mile trip with one stop on the way at Meadow Woods to interchange with SunRail.
Pie in the sky thinking here, and if at all applicable, then for a point in the far more distant future, but if this service will use a separate train type on a separate schedule, then why not build a branch right to where the people are so you don't need a bus transfer? Maybe as some form of mixed light and heavy rail hybrid as in a tram train but diesel powered, or even battery or fuel-cell powered? Seeing Disney is generally open about futuristic train concepts such as monorails , they might also sell this as an attraction in its own right and contribute to the costs.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,575
Location
Virginia
Pie in the sky thinking here, and if at all applicable, then for a point in the far more distant future, but if this service will use a separate train type on a separate schedule, then why not build a branch right to where the people are so you don't need a bus transfer? Maybe as some form of mixed light and heavy rail hybrid as in a tram train but diesel powered, or even battery or fuel-cell powered? Seeing Disney is generally open about futuristic train concepts such as monorails , they might also sell this as an attraction in its own right and contribute to the costs.
I mean, in theory I could see them extending the monorail there...but apparently the per-mile cost there is truly problematic versus where it was in the 70s/early 80s.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
Back at the April 2019 FDFC board meeting in Orlando held to approve the last PAB allocation, a person working on the phase 2 project (an engineer I think) told me that Brightline was considering using DMU trainsets for local service between MCO/MeadowWoods/Resorts. It was also mentioned they might be Disney themed trainsets. I would imagine if this came to pass, that it would consist of several 2 or 3 car length trainsets. That would solve the problem of local Orlando ridership overwhelming intercity service to/from Tampa that you mention.

If they're going to have Disney themed commuter trainsets making their own runs... It starts to make sense to extend a branch line from Resorts straight to the middle of Disney, at the ticketing center. So the commuter trains would run OIA - SunRail - Resorts - DISNEY. The Resorts station would still be used for passengers transferring Tampa to Disney.

Due to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Virgin Trains would only need money and approval from Disney to do this. No government approvals.

It would indeed make sense at that point to run direct trains from the Port of Miami to Disney for cruises, non-stop. That would only need a station at the port, and a trainset.

But I do not know if Disney has considered any of that.
 
Last edited:

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,167
Location
Gator Country Florida
Perhaps Disney would think of owning/operating their own train on the Virgin Rail tracks from Disney to the port of Miami and just pay Virgin for the use of the rails.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Perhaps Disney would think of owning/operating their own train on the Virgin Rail tracks from Disney to the port of Miami and just pay Virgin for the use of the rails.
Disney buses in Orlando are all owned by Mears. Suddenly Disney will get the urge to own more expensive trains? [emoji849]
 
Top