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

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Anthony V

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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.
Orlando would still be served by the Tampa section of the Silver Service trains. I propose splitting the Miami and Orlando-Tampa sections at Jacksonville (at a re-opened Jacksonville Terminal Station, of course!) and Running the Miami section down the FEC, and the Orlando-Tampa section on the current route. This would also eliminate the backup move from Tampa. In addition, the Silver Meteor would also start serving Tampa so that city would have a train with a full diner. With their proposed extension to Tampa, Virgin Trains USA would eventually fill the void in Miami-Tampa service that would be left by Amtrak under this proposal.
 

west point

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Tampa - east coast of Florida for Amtrak is the largest traffic generator on the STAR. Brightline cannot cover all the east coast stations and maintain its proposed schedule. So proposing discontinuance Tampa south for Amtrak is a no starter.
 

jis

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Orlando would still be served by the Tampa section of the Silver Service trains. I propose splitting the Miami and Orlando-Tampa sections at Jacksonville (at a re-opened Jacksonville Terminal Station, of course!) and Running the Miami section down the FEC, and the Orlando-Tampa section on the current route. This would also eliminate the backup move from Tampa. In addition, the Silver Meteor would also start serving Tampa so that city would have a train with a full diner. With their proposed extension to Tampa, Virgin Trains USA would eventually fill the void in Miami-Tampa service that would be left by Amtrak under this proposal.
Proposing stuff is cheap as long as one does not have to worry about ways and means for funding. You are neither the first, nor the last one to propose these admittedly plausible changes. We who have been in the trenches trying to make things happen have struggled mightily on how such things may be funded.

It is not clear to me how the smaller station between Tampa and Miami that are served will continue to be served for intra-Florida connectivity if the Tampa - Miami Amtrak service is discontinued. Remember, as things stand, there will be no shared transfer stations between VTUSA and Amtrak either in Tampa or at Orlando or even at Miami. There is more to planning a usable network than connecting end point city dots with train lines.

As for a train with full Diner service on a train to Tampa, it is much cheaper to add the Diner back to the Star than adding complex shunting and reversal over and across increasing freight traffic in Jacksonville.
 
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neroden

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It is not clear to me how the smaller station between Tampa and Miami that are served will continue to be served for intra-Florida connectivity if the Tampa - Miami Amtrak service is discontinued.
How much ridership do they generate anyway? Assume that Brightline is running all the way from Miami to Tampa via Orlando and Disneyworld. They'll probably have another intermediate stop between Disneyworld and Tampa, and we already know their intermediate stop plans from Orlando to Miami. Which stations would be orphaned -- with no nearby Brightline station -- and do they really generate enough ridership? Because everyone who can use Brightline will use Brightline.

So if the orphaned stations generate desultory ridership, the Amtrak Tampa-Miami route won't be viable any more.

Remember, as things stand, there will be no shared transfer stations between VTUSA and Amtrak either in Tampa or at Orlando or even at Miami.
That should be fixed and Amtrak should prioritize fixing it, because Brightline is going to steal all of Amtrak's customers to the extent that people have to choose one or the other.
 

jis

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I suspect that it is FDOT that should take over the Tampa - Miami low volume service on the CSX line using appropriate DMU rolling stock (Stadler or such), rather than necessarily sending an entire additional LD train down that way.

Remember, the reason a second LD trains goes down all the way anyway is mostly for equipment turn ever since Amtrak cost reduced away the train turning base in Tampa. The original plan was to have LD train terminate in Tampa and Miami, and the local Tampa - Miami via Winter Haven served by a regional train. Amtrak even offered a Talgo set at one point but FDOT declined.

Trying to plan on running an Amtrak train down FECR at this point is probably a fool's errand for the time being. Things may change in a decade, after VT USA has settled in comfortably with their entire Florida plan covering all of Orlando - Miami, Orlando - Tampa, Miami - Jacksonville, and possibly Tampa/Orlando - Jacksonville via Cocoa, involving a reversal at Cocoa. But that would be easy with the chosen equipment of VT USA.

In that scenario, the routes JAX - Orlando via Deland, Orlando - Tampa via KIS and potentially JAX - Orlando/Tampa via Ocala should become regional DMU routes, with some additional new DLRT corridors up and down the west coast, something like Fort Meyers - Bradenton - Tampa - Ocala - Gainsville - Tallahassee if one were a dreaming person.
 

jis

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There are posts that state Tampa - MIA is low travel. Please take a look at the number of passengers on the route from this link and tell us it is low traffic.

//www.railpassengers.org/site/assets/files/3458/16.pdf
Once Brightline is operating to Tampa, the assumption is that the through Tampa to West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami and indeed any point in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami Dade will be skimmed off by Brightline.

That will just leave the traffic that we have from Lakeland (assuming Brightline does not build a Lakeland station), WinterHaven, Sebring and Okeechobee, which is less that 40,000 generously assuming that all Lakeland riders are heading to Miami and none towards Orlando/New York. That is less than 60 people per train.

So yes, it is low traffic, if the assumption that the large traffic from Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami for intra-Florida travel between Tampa, Orlando and Miami/West Palm/Fort Lauderdale will abandon that route for the faster, more frequent and more reliable option holds true.
 

Palmland

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Once Brightline is operating to Tampa, the assumption is that the through Tampa to West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami and indeed any point in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami Dade will be skimmed off by Brightline..........
So yes, it is low traffic, if the assumption that the large traffic from Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami for intra-Florida travel between Tampa, Orlando and Miami/West Palm/Fort Lauderdale will abandon that route for the faster, more frequent and more reliable option holds true.
Certainly any Silver Meteor traffic that now uses a Thruway bus from Orlando to Tampa will want to use VT. Does anyone know where VT will cross the A line? I would guess between Orlando and Kissimmee. Would that not be a spot to plan a transfer station?

If Amtrak is exploring interline marketing with the Texas Central project, wouldn’t Anderson want to do the same here? I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Amtrak passengers from the north (not just intrastate) want to transfer to VT, if the transfer point was sufficiently attractive. That would be especially the case if their destination was near one of VT nicer more centrally located stations. I would.
 

chrsjrcj

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Brightline is planning a transfer station with SunRail at their Meadow Woods station (a few miles north of Kissimmee). I do not believe Brightline can interline with Amtrak.
 
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jis

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Brightline is planning a transfer station with SunRail at their Meadow Woods station (a few miles north of Kissimmee). I do not believe Brightline can interline with Amtrak.
Indeed. Brightline would run parallel to the A Line (CFRC/SunRail/Amtrak) from a little north of the Sunrail Meadow Woods station to just north of SR417. It will rise on a ramp to the SR417 ROW which it will follow some ways and then leave it to run by the vicinity of Disney onto the I-4 ROW. SunRail and Brightline will have an interchange station at Meadow Woods.

Whether Brightline can or cannot interline with Amtrak is at present a somewhat murky issue. But I am sure if there is a business opportunity there it will get resolved to enable such. I also suspect that such resolution is more likely to happen in the context of Brightline's future Jacksonville extension, at Jacksonville, rather than in Orlando or Tampa, or even Miami. Just my WAG on that one.
Certainly any Silver Meteor traffic that now uses a Thruway bus from Orlando to Tampa will want to use VT. Does anyone know where VT will cross the A line? I would guess between Orlando and Kissimmee. Would that not be a spot to plan a transfer station?
See the response above. Amtrak is not involved in the transfer station at present. The one planned is mostly to provide airport access to SunRail riders, until SunRail manages to get to its Phase III to MCO, if ever.
If Amtrak is exploring interline marketing with the Texas Central project, wouldn’t Anderson want to do the same here? I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Amtrak passengers from the north (not just intrastate) want to transfer to VT, if the transfer point was sufficiently attractive. That would be especially the case if their destination was near one of VT nicer more centrally located stations. I would.
The only Brightline stations in the Orlando area apparently will be at MCO, Meadow Woods and Disney apparently. Of these, I suppose Amtrak could choose to add a stop at Meadow Woods to allow its passengers to transfer to and from Brightline.

While I can't see how it helps Amtrak gain significant revenue, it could certainly facilitate more convenient access to both Disney and MCO for Amtrak passengers, and also potentially to the Space and Treasure Coasts. I don't know how much value that brings to Amtrak. Maybe enough to make it worthwhile for them. Irrespective of whether technically Brightline can or cannot itnerline with Amtrak, I don;t see how anyone can prevet someone from getting off one train and getting onto another with two separate tickets.
 
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Seaboard92

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Hopefully they will allow SunRail into the Disney station as well. That would make my few Florida trips far more pleasant.
 

jis

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Hopefully they will allow SunRail into the Disney station as well. That would make my few Florida trips far more pleasant.
As things stand that is unlikely. It will involve a transfer to Brightline at Meadow Woods.

Of course everything can change between now and when service is inaugurated to Disney.

The design of the Disney station will have to have separate platform for SunRail for SunRail to use that station, since Brightline’s platform will be high level.
 

cirdan

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Mar 30, 2011
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Without claiming any deeper knowledge here, I can well imagine that FECR / Brightline don't actually want Amtrak on their line.

With Brighline being a self-contained operation, any delays are entirely their own fault and hence controllable. Having an LD service coming in and introducing delays from elsewhere could mess with their own schedule.

Also, Brightline' new station in Miami is clearly built for Brightline plus Tri-Rail, but there isn't space for Amtrak (also in terms of the platforms being too short) and on account of the way the station is enclosed within the new buildings. There isn't a simple way to add or extend platforms, at least not within the lifetime of the present buildings.
 

Hans627

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Being a newbie to this forum I've been reading with interest about the Florida train system being built by Brightline. We spend some time in FL and have taken the AutoTrain there several times.

A few questions:
I assume Brithline is running today. How's it doing?
Is Brightline viable for the longterm?
When is the station at WDW to be built?

Thanks!
 

jis

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Being a newbie to this forum I've been reading with interest about the Florida train system being built by Brightline. We spend some time in FL and have taken the AutoTrain there several times.

A few questions:
I assume Brithline is running today. How's it doing?
Is Brightline viable for the longterm?
When is the station at WDW to be built?

Thanks!
There is a thread for Brightline at https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/brightline-virgin-trains-fec-update.48373/page-100

I am responding to this query in that thread so please skip over there for answers to your questions.

Thanks.
 

Palmland

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Indeed. Brightline would run parallel to the A Line (CFRC/SunRail/Amtrak) from a little north of the Sunrail Meadow Woods station to just north of SR417. It will rise on a ramp to the SR417 ROW which it will follow some ways and then leave it to run by the vicinity of Disney onto the I-4 ROW. SunRail and Brightline will have an interchange station at Meadow Woods...........
Thanks, that is great news. Lots of connectivity options between Sunrail, Amtrak, and Virgin Trains (or is it still referred to as Brightline?)
 
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