Passenger Rail alternatives in Florida (FDOT and Amtrak)

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The Miami bound section would be via the FEC. An alternative is to run the Star to Tampa and the Meteor to Miami along the FEC. It sounds like the Tampa bound trains would continue on to Miami on the existing route so that Miami would remain the terminus.
 
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The Miami bound section would be via the FEC. An alternative is to run the Star to Tampa and the Meteor to Miami along the FEC. It sounds like the Tampa bound trains would continue on to Miami on the existing route so that Miami would remain the terminus.
Running the Meteor on FEC would leave Orlando, the station with highest ridership outside of Auto Train, bereft of connections, as the Star's schedule doesn't connect anywhere. Unless they first institute the proposed corridor service with guaranteed connections at JAX, and checked baggage.

Miami's ridership is half of Orlando's. Maybe shortening the trip to/from Miami would increase that, but probably not double it.
 

jis

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Running the Meteor on FEC would leave Orlando, the station with highest ridership outside of Auto Train, bereft of connections, as the Star's schedule doesn't connect anywhere. Unless they first institute the proposed corridor service with guaranteed connections at JAX, and checked baggage.
Or split the Meteor at JAX as mentioned as an alternative.
 
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Or split the Meteor at JAX as mentioned as an alternative.
That would be my preference, and continue the ORL section on to Tampa, but seemed like the reroute was their preferred alternative. I don't think they need to split the Star as well, but it looked like the alternatives presented were just the reroute, or split sections on both trains.

Now, I suppose South FL Amtrak fans (if any) might have a different view.
 

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That would be my preference, and continue the ORL section on to Tampa, but seemed like the reroute was their preferred alternative. I don't think they need to split the Star as well, but it looked like the alternatives presented were just the reroute, or split sections on both trains.

Now, I suppose South FL Amtrak fans (if any) might have a different view.
I don't think they have a preferred alternative. They are just throwing up ideas to consider in discussions for now. We are quite a distance from trying to nail down a single preferred alternative.

We will certainly be discussing this at the FCRP Annual Meeting in Winter Park next Friday (5/13/22) and getting back to FDOT and Amtrak with our thoughts on this.

It would make sense to have a similar discussion here and I will be happy to convey anything that we come to an agreement on via the few channels available back to FDOT and Amtrak.
 
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blueman271

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Everything that was old is new again. The Amtrak on the FEC idea has been around for at least 20 years and has never gotten off the ground. And before 1996 at least one of the trains, and sometimes both, had Miami and Tampa sections that split at Jacksonville. At this rate, in another five years the state will be talking about reinstating the Auburndale split.
 

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Everything that was old is new again. The Amtrak on the FEC idea has been around for at least 20 years and has never gotten off the ground. And before 1996 at least one of the trains, and sometimes both, had Miami and Tampa sections that split at Jacksonville. At this rate, in another five years the state will be talking about reinstating the Auburndale split.
I know it is easy to be bemused by the happenstances in Florida from passenger train rich CT. but trust me, getting FDOT even to talk to Amtrak again is a big win in Florida. 🤷‍♂️ We at FCRP have been trying to get this to happen for years now. The last time FDOT talked about intrastate inter-city service beyond the two commuter systems was around 2010-2012 IIRC., until AAF came on the scene. Even then it was a hands off approach, and fortuitously AAF was building a previously identified by FDOT corridor anyway.

As for FEC, Brightline has first right of refusal on any passenger service on FECR. Brightline will have to agree before any other passenger rail operation can happen there. Afterall they own half the dispatching company. However, they are open to possibilities. TriRail is already on the verge of getting onto Brightline trackage as part of the North East Corridor project of Miami. So we'll see.
 

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I wonder to what extent an intra-state Amtrak corridor service such as Miami-Tampa would be cannibalizing Brightline's market?

It might be better if Amtrak and the FDOT worked with Brightline rather than against them.

maybe they are, and this just isn't clear from the presentation?
 

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I wonder to what extent an intra-state Amtrak corridor service such as Miami-Tampa would be cannibalizing Brightline's market?

It might be better if Amtrak and the FDOT worked with Brightline rather than against them.

maybe they are, and this just isn't clear from the presentation?
It won't cannibalize anything. One is a 10-12 frequencies a day service through a densely populated area, and the other is a 2-4 trips a day service that is considerably slower and cheaper, through a less densely populated area between WPB and Auburndale.

You cannot cannibalize a relatively expensive frequent service 4 hour runtime by a cheaper sparse frequency 6 hour service that too serving different intermediate points. The clientele will be very different. Besides the highway situation is getting so bad so quickly that there will be plenty of customers for them all. ;)
 
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I don't think they have a preferred alternative. They are just throwing up ideas to consider in discussions for now. We are quite a distance from trying to nail down a single preferred alternative.

We will certainly be discussing this at the FCRP Annual Meeting in Winter Park next Friday (4/13/22) and getting back to FDOT and Amtrak with our thoughts on this.

It would make sense to have a similar discussion here and I will be happy to convey anything that we come to an agreement on via the few channels available back to FDOT and Amtrak.
Interesting, although I remain skeptical about Amtrak’s ability to actually implement anything, unlike Brightline.

What is the FCRP and is it open to the public?
 

jis

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Interesting, although I remain skeptical about Amtrak’s ability to actually implement anything, unlike Brightline.

What is the FCRP and is it open to the public?
Thnk of it as the Florida ARP. Anyone can join, so in that sense it is open to public. The basic membership fee is not exorbitant.
 

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Interesting, although I remain skeptical about Amtrak’s ability to actually implement anything, unlike Brightline.

What is the FCRP and is it open to the public?
FCRP - Florida Coaltion of Rail Passengers
Below is the text of the email I received (to which I just responded). PM me if you would like the email address of Jim Tilley to whom I responded.


Good morning Penny,

We find it necessary to change the date of FCRP's annual member meeting.

New date: Friday, May 13, 2022

Location: 310 Park South Restaurant (No change)

310 Park South Avenue

Winter Park, FL 32789

407.642.7277

Time: 12 noon

Business Meeting: 1 pm

Please let me know no later than May 6th whether you will attend as well as if you are coming strictly for the business meeting or you will join us for lunch. We need to provide the venue a headcount in order that they might plan adequate seating as well as meal planning.

For those arriving by SunRail or Amtrak, 310 Park South is a very short walk from the train station.



Many thanks.



Jim
 

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What I'd like to see is the re-instatement of a line thru Ocala, then to Tampa and instead of heading to Lakeland and Miami, go around the bay, then to Sarasota, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, Naples, and follow I-75 over to Miami.
 

blueman271

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What I'd like to see is the re-instatement of a line thru Ocala, then to Tampa and instead of heading to Lakeland and Miami, go around the bay, then to Sarasota, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, Naples, and follow I-75 over to Miami.
I highly doubt that there is any will to build railroad infrastructure through the Everglades. Furthermore, even if some company wanted to, they would be tied up in court for years before construction began. Maybe one day a train will roll into Naples again but one will never follow I-75 or Tamiami Trail from there to South Florida.
 

George Harris

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What I'd like to see is the re-instatement of a line thru Ocala, then to Tampa and instead of heading to Lakeland and Miami, go around the bay, then to Sarasota, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, Naples, and follow I-75 over to Miami.
If you even THINK too loudly about building a railroad across the Everglades, or a new highway either for that matter, every environmentalist including both the rational and the irrational will be coming at you screaming. This, should it ever get past all that would take at least 20 years to happen.
 

reppin_the_847

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What I'd like to see is the re-instatement of a line thru Ocala, then to Tampa and instead of heading to Lakeland and Miami, go around the bay, then to Sarasota, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, Naples, and follow I-75 over to Miami.

I've only really lived in Illinois & Michigan. Between all my contacts up here in the Midwest, I've heard of a TON of snowbirds & transplants snapping up property down the corridor that you refer to (Tampa down into Bradenton, Sarasota, Ft. Myers, Naples). With the population explosion & exodus from certain states "Up North" in general including the Northeast, I think that the demand (and ability to spend $$$ to travel) really would be there if such a route was generated.
 

jis

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Believe it or not Florida now has an updated rail plan as of 2022:


The also have a somewhat detailed Rail Corridor Assessment Report (PDF).
 
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