Federal funding for CSX A Line between Palatka and Deland + other projects

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jis

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According to the funding documentation from FRA, Amtrak is getting funded $3.85 million to rehabilitate the CSX A Line between Palatka and Deland in Florida, and CSX will transfer ownership of that segment to Amtrak.
Florida — Amtrak Sanford Subdivision Infrastructure Renewal Project

Up to $3,850,000

National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)

Rehabilitates 52 miles of CSX Transportation’s A-Line between Palatka and DeLand train stations in Florida. CSX will transfer the renovated track’s ownership to Amtrak.
The entire list of Federal DOT funded projects can be found at https://railroads.dot.gov/newsroom/federal-railroad-administration-announces-more-326-million-grants-support-railroad

Other Amtrak relevant projects funded are:

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi — Restoring Intercity Passenger Rail Service Along America’s Gulf Coast

Up to $32,995,516

Southern Rail Commission

Combines 20 Gulf Coast projects in three states, assisting efforts to establish twice daily intercity passenger rail service from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, adding a Mobile station and improving grade crossings. Funds preliminary engineering and federal environmental reviews needed to upgrade track to connect Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Florida — Florida Strategies for Reducing Railway Trespassing

Up to $157,683

Florida Department of Transportation

Launches pilot program using drone technology, closed-circuit television with remote monitoring and geographic information system spatial analysis to aid partnerships among local law enforcement agencies to combat trespassing in Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties.
Rhode Island — TF Green Airport Intercity Rail Service Preliminary Engineering

Up to $2.8 million

Rhode Island Department of Transportation

Completes preliminary engineering and federal environmental review for a new Amtrak stop at TF Green airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, the only airport adjacent to the Northeast Corridor without direct access to it.
 
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NSC1109

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Great to hear that Amtrak is picking up another piece of infrastructure. However, I’ve looked at the section that is to be transferred and it’s...kinda landlocked. For those who don’t know, this section extends from south of Jacksonville to north of Orlando. On either side is CSX controlled territory. It doesn’t seem like owning that one stretch of track will really change much for the Silver Service, bud I’m not well-versed in the nuances of Florida ops.
 

Eric S

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There was also a grant for signal improvements around Milwaukee station, in addition to another grant announced earlier to add a second platform at Milwaukee Airport station. So although there has been a holdup and lack of support for projects in IL, WI has been pretty successful in getting funding for various projects that must be undertaken before additional CHI-MKE trains can be added. Now we just need to figure out a way to sidestep the NIMBY challenges in IL. (I suspect it will not be cheap, though.)
 
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jis

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Great to hear that Amtrak is picking up another piece of infrastructure. However, I’ve looked at the section that is to be transferred and it’s...kinda landlocked. For those who don’t know, this section extends from south of Jacksonville to north of Orlando. On either side is CSX controlled territory. It doesn’t seem like owning that one stretch of track will really change much for the Silver Service, bud I’m not well-versed in the nuances of Florida ops
South of Deland is SunRail (CFRC) through Orlando upto Poinciana. CSX transferred that segment to CFRC a while back. It is dispatched by SunRail out of their Debary base facility just north of Sanford and also maintained by them.

Incidentally, Palatka is the first stop of the Silver Service south of Jacksonville. Deland is the next stop, and that is in SunRail territory. The one following Deland is Winter Park.
 
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NSC1109

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I guess you need to look harder. [emoji57] South of Deland is SunRail (CFRC) through Orlando upto Poinciana. CSX transferred that segment to CFRC a while back. It is dispatched by SunRail out of their Debary base facility just north of Sanford and also maintained by them.

Incidentally, Palatka is the first stop of the Silver Service south of Jacksonville. Deland is the next stop, and that is in SunRail territory. The one following Deland is Winter Park.
My apologies. I was going off of this map:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1dp8clRekefkBDBble2tLD1mb-ck&ll=29.514249762255606,-81.81168049999997&z=7
 

jis

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Things have been changing fast in Florida with CSX trying to dispose off as much property as it can as fast as it can. If money was immediately available I believe CSX would have handed over JAX - Palatka to Amtrak or a state agency too. I believe that is inevitable sooner or later since CSX has moved its own traffic to move via Ocala progressively since it handed over the Orlando segment to CFRC. They have also been sniffing around a bit for any takers of the Auburndale - Mangonia segment which also carries the Silver service.
 

NSC1109

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Things have been changing fast in Florida with CSX trying to dispose off as much property as it can as fast as it can. If money was immediately available I believe CSX would have handed over JAX - Palatka to Amtrak or a state agency too. I believe that is inevitable sooner or later since CSX has moved its own traffic to move via Ocala progressively since it handed over the Orlando segment to CFRC. They have also been sniffing around a bit for any takers of the Auburndale - Mangonia segment which also carries the Silver service.
Sounds like Florida could eventually be a good state for Amtrak to expand if they can pick up more ROW from CSX.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The Orlando to Tampa line is a decent amount of 79 mph running through orange groves. A Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa corridor really should be a thing. Of course at this rate, Brightline will beat them to it.
 

JustOnce

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Nothing says Virgin/Brightline and Amtrak can't collaborate or that V/B can't become a Thruway partner.
 

neroden

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So, I went through the CRISI grants. The interesting one is to rehabilitate the line from Palatka to DeLamd, and get this, CSX will give the line to Amtrak.
 

neroden

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Great to hear that Amtrak is picking up another piece of infrastructure. However, I’ve looked at the section that is to be transferred and it’s...kinda landlocked. For those who don’t know, this section extends from south of Jacksonville to north of Orlando. On either side is CSX controlled territory. It doesn’t seem like owning that one stretch of track will really change much for the Silver Service, bud I’m not well-versed in the nuances of Florida ops.
South of DeLand is SunRail territory. I wish Amtrak would acquire the gap from SunRail territory to TriRail territory which is still CSX though.
 

jis

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Nothing says Virgin/Brightline and Amtrak can't collaborate or that V/B can't become a Thruway partner.
Anything can happen in the future. But at least for the foreseeable future there are no plans for collaborating in any way. There are no shared stations planned (not even one in Tampa so far) and VT USA holds exclusive operating rights on all of FECR trackage, and jointly owns the dispatching company with FECR. Virgin's proposed station in Jacksonville is at what is now the Convention Center, and Amtrak may or may not move there and add the necessity for a backup move (I think they should move, but then they should have moved to MIC at Miami Airport too). VT USA's only collaboration visible is with TriRail and SunRail so far.

Also, this discussion belongs to the Virgin/Brightline thread and not this one, since this has nothing to do with federal funding of A-Line transfer to Amtrak.

Getting back to the A Line, I am surprised that they just not go all the way and transfer the remaining segment between JAX and Palatka to Amtrak too. Must be the amount of limited funding available immediately. If that is the case, it will happen inevitably in the near future.

CSX has been looking to transfer the Auburndale to Mangonia portion to someone for an acceptable price too. So far no takers though. That will only leave the short segment between Poinciana and Auburndale in their hands, of the route of the Meteor. They have also been looking to get rid of all their properties around Miami, and there has been talk of TriRail picking up some of it, but inconclusive so far due to budgetary reasons.

West of Poinciana to Tampa, it is hard to tell what CSX's intentions may be. Apparently they have a pretty good business going at the Port of Tampa, unlike Port of Miami, where they have pretty much ceded the field to FECR for all intents and purposes.
 
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west point

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JAX <> Palatka Too much CSX freight traffic especially around Palatka. As well NS has some kind of track rights negotiated on the "A" line to Palatka that allowed SOU to abandon its tracks .
Poinciana <> Auburndale not quite sure. There is several freight customers just south if Poinciana that CSX serves and CSX has to get clearance from Sun Rail 's dispatcher to access a switch that is facing point switch just a few feet west of the end of Sun rail's track. ( faces Sun Rail )
 

KnightRail

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South of Deland is SunRail (CFRC) through Orlando upto Poinciana. CSX transferred that segment to CFRC a while back. It is dispatched by SunRail out of their Debary base facility just north of Sanford and also maintained by them.

Incidentally, Palatka is the first stop of the Silver Service south of Jacksonville. Deland is the next stop, and that is in SunRail territory. The one following Deland is Winter Park.
I wonder which Amtrak dispatching office will control this Florida segment. Chicago controls NOL so maybe them?
 

jis

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I wonder which Amtrak dispatching office will control this Florida segment. Chicago controls NOL so maybe them?
Does Amtrak still manage dispatching for TriRail? Or has TriRail taken it in house now? If they still do TriRail maybe they can just add this to the same desk.

JAX <> Palatka Too much CSX freight traffic especially around Palatka. As well NS has some kind of track rights negotiated on the "A" line to Palatka that allowed SOU to abandon its tracks .
Poinciana <> Auburndale not quite sure. There is several freight customers just south if Poinciana that CSX serves and CSX has to get clearance from Sun Rail 's dispatcher to access a switch that is facing point switch just a few feet west of the end of Sun rail's track. ( faces Sun Rail )
Trackage rights are no problem. They can always be transferred with the track. CSX serves a power plant somewhere there I think with Coal, but the plant is working on converting to natural gas. So we'll see.
 

cocojacoby

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Seems like there may be other concerns ahead here. There is certainly the possibility that CSX may also sell their Auburndale sub south of the Winter Haven container facility. If this is the case, Amtrak will have to seriously consider running down the FEC to Miami while serving a rehabbed Jacksonville Terminal.

Tampa trains could still run via this line, but Amtrak could also work with Virgin to construct a west/north wye to allow Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa service for both.

Sunrail could serve the existing missed Amtrak Stations and connect with Amtrak somewhere probably near the airport.

Of course Auto Train still needs this line.

Whatever the case, future Florida train operations may be very different. Should be some interesting times ahead.
 

west point

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At least Amtrak is not following their mistake of not buying the "S" line from Raleigh - Petersburg
 

jis

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At least Amtrak is not following their mistake of not buying the "S" line from Raleigh - Petersburg
The States bought it. What exactly was Amtrak going to do by itself with it. Where was it going to get the money to rebuild it? Made all the sense in the world to work with the states who were willing on that one.
 

west point

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The States bought it. What exactly was Amtrak going to do by itself with it. Where was it going to get the money to rebuild it? Made all the sense in the world to work with the states who were willing on that one.
But the tracks would not have been salvaged and Amtrak could have used it after CSX left. Only in hind sight CSX would have detoured on it many times.
 

jis

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And where was Amtrak going to get the funding for that? That is always the big elephant in the room of all these bright thoughts.
 

jis

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would running the train down the fec line be a faster route to maimi
Yes, but doing so will require significant funding to set up new stations on that route, and also require permission from FECR, Brightline and Florida Dispatching Company. FECR does not have to permit Amtrak trains on discounted trackage charges since it was not a party to the original Amtrak agreement.

Also if run on the FECR it misses one of the largest markets in Florida, that is Orlando.
 
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