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The obsession with the past is hurting the future of passenger rail

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cirdan

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No. It does not, and there is absolutely no space to expand it to have such either.
Absolutely.

However, when they started on this project, there could have been space. After all, the original station on ths site must have handled much longer trains.

And possibly had more platform tracks too, although I'm not sure about that one.

So I wonder, was the present station maybe designed that way on purpose to keep Amtrak from even getting ideas?
 
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jis

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Absolutely.

However, when they started on this project, there could have been space. After all, the original station on ths site must have handled much longer trains.

And possibly had more platform tracks too, although I'm not sure about that one.

So I wonder, was the present station maybe designed that way on purpose to keep Amtrak from even getting ideas?
No. Initially the original three track station was only for Brightline paid for by them. Then Miami Dade and Tri Rail came up with the money for adding a platform and two tracks. That pretty much filled up the available space without serious redesign. And of course someone had to pay for that and no one cared. Meanwhile they could not get Amtrak even to move a few miles down to the airport, so no one had any incentive to expend energy on what was seen as an uncooperative Amtrak. It’s as simple as that.

Of course additionally Brightline did not want any interstate entanglements either. Which just made it an even steeper hill to climb.
 

cirdan

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I meant the original Flagler era station must have been bigger and handled longer trains. So it would hypothetically have been possible to build a sttaion on that site with capacity for longer trains.

So either the planners of the new station didn't believe longer trains would ever happen. This is the most likely option.

Or possibly, but much more unlikley, they did think of it, but then realized that might be giving Amtrak ideas.
 

jis

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I meant the original Flagler era station must have been bigger and handled longer trains. So it would hypothetically have been possible to build a sttaion on that site with capacity for longer trains.

So either the planners of the new station didn't believe longer trains would ever happen. This is the most likely option.

Or possibly, but much more unlikley, they did think of it, but then realized that might be giving Amtrak ideas.
I don't think Amtrak was part of any consideration in the design. Indeed initially neither was Tri-Rail. It was shoehorned in later, and pretty much filled up all the available space. I don;t think anyone in Florida feels particularly threatened by the existence of Amtrak service.

The Brightline platforms can accommodate 10-11 car consists. The Tri-Rail side is a bit shorter.

The platforms in the new station are much broader than in the original station, which had 7 tracks. The current station has 5, and some of the original station's space is also taken over by the Metro tracks. So there really is no space for additional tracks unless they are put above the current tracks, which is impossible since there are two huge building atop the station. All of that went through a regular EIS process, and no one, including Amtrak said anything when things could have been changed. Most likely that is because no one was ready to bring any additional money beyond that required for Tri-Rail to the table anyway.

The block between 3rd St and 2nd St which would be where any longer platforms would extend into, apparently had been disposed off for the Government Center Metro Station Parking Lot a while back and was not easily retrievable. So the station ends at 3rd St.
 

MARC Rider

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I'd be perfectly happy for Amtrak to start using the station at the Miami airport, as originally planned. It has pretty good transit connectivity, and sits right underneath the airport rental car center. It would certainly be better than the current Amtrak Miami station, which has an inconvenient walk in a marginal neighborhood over to the nearest Metro station or a $20+ taxi ride to the airport to pick up a rental car. I don't even want to know what a taxi ride to downtown Miami or Miami Beach would cost.
 

jis

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Amtrak's current plan as articulated by Amtrak's Strategic Planning guy at the RPA Webinar back in September, is to work towards increasing service in Florida, not cut it. So all this talk about Amtrak cutting service south of Orlando may just be a tad getting ahead of ourselves here.

Incidentally taking all that trouble to change from Amtrak to Brightline at Orlando will save someone about two hours, assuming they were traveling by the Meteor and assuming it takes zero time to effect the transfer.

At present we don't quite know what the exact running time will be for the Brightline service. They have never ever reached their promised running time between Miami and West Palm Beach yet.
 
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Qapla

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If swapping trains at Orlando comes with a layover between trains it could take longer than just staying on the Silver

... of course, they could always make a new daytime "Florida River Runner" that would go from JAX to TPA to MIA using the tracks that run through Waldo/Ocala/Lakeland or Plant City - turning Auburndale to go through Avon Park/Sebring/Okeechobee on it's way to MIA ... and does not need to go to Orlando (hey, we can wish, can't we)
 

Larry H.

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The past is hurting Amtrak. No, I would say that lack of respect for what worked in the past is hurting them. Too many passengers I have run in to often say it will be their first and last trip on amtrak due to poor dining, lack of service or decent lounges.
 

west point

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Thoughts == All these need more equipment which Amtrak does not have.
1. We do not know what actual demand for seats from the NE to Florida can be until space is available of trains having 14 -16 cars.
2. The Palmetto would suffer if extended probably due to Florida passengers and daytime shorts blocking each other from getting seats. However eliminating the NYP - WASH passengers would help make longer distance beyond Savannah have seat available ?
3. Tampa actually needs more service, Tampa to SE Florida has largest number of passengers for Star. That is a great filler for the end of a route. As well there are many passengers from north that ride to Tampa as well. Remember Columbia and Raleigh are two locations that only the Star services for Tampa. way to have a close station to board for Tampa. The Thruway off the Meteor to Tampa has been observed to have high loads. An additional Amtrak early morning departure from Tampa with late return from Miami would fit in with the cruise ship schedules. Brightline probably would not take away the budget minded possible passengers. Brightline service may even increase Amtrak travel as the possibility of an alternate way to travel will be available.
4. More trains to / from the NE to Florida, Atlanta, Virginia, Tennessee, and lesser extent to Cincinnati cannot happen until the Long bridge 2 additional tracks are in service. IMO the 2 most important projects in the NEC are Long bridge and the Hudson river gateway tunnel bores are completed. Baltimore B & P tunnel bores are next. I hope all three start construction this calendar year or at the latest first half of 2022.
 

neroden

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I'd be perfectly happy for Amtrak to start using the station at the Miami airport, as originally planned. It has pretty good transit connectivity,
With a one-line Metrorail connection to the same location as MiamiCentral, in fact (via Government Center station). Plus Tri-Rail, of course.

and sits right underneath the airport rental car center.
Yes!!!

It would certainly be better than the current Amtrak Miami station, which has an inconvenient walk in a marginal neighborhood over to the nearest Metro station or a $20+ taxi ride to the airport to pick up a rental car. I don't even want to know what a taxi ride to downtown Miami or Miami Beach would cost.
I'm not sure what anti-passenger corporate idiot at Amtrak is preventing Amtrak's move to the airport station, but they would be a good target for firing-for-cause. It shows genuine contempt for Florida and Florida-bound passengers.
 

neroden

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What you need to consider is there is absolutely no guarantee Brightline will be around for the long term. Of course, there’s no guarantee Amtrak will be around either but the odds are a lot greater.

So if Amtrak decides to cut Florida services back and depend on Brightline to fill in the gaps – and Brightline decides that they’ve sucked all the money out of real estate in FL that they can and they need to shut things down – then you’re left with no service.

If you don’t think that seems like a likely scenario, ask yourself why they are not running right now. They made a (understandable) business decision based on PTC and Covid - but the result is no service.
I will remind you what tends to happen to intercity passenger service run by private companies which go under or try to discontinue service, once the service is well-enough established.

Auto-Train ended up in Amtrak. South Shore Line ended up as a state agency. LIRR ended up as a state agency. You get the picture...

I would not be surprised, if Brightline failed commercially, to see them taken over by Amtrak; Auto-Train was, and it was a much less "public service" operation.
 

neroden

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Where is this transfer going to take place? At present there are no apparent plans to have a station in Orlando served by both Brightline and Amtrak.
The trivial option is Meadow Woods, which looks like it's going to be built as a Brightline/SunRail transfer station. If Brightline makes it to Disney and that gets built, it would be *most sensible* of Amtrak to start stopping there for Disney transfer passengers (even if Amtrak continues to Tampa and Miami). As well as Orlando Airport transfer passengers. Amtrak's uncooperativeness might prevent them from doing this, but management attitudes can change!

I don't know how fast Brightline can get to Disney. The local governments can and will give them right-of-way access from OIA through Meadow Woods, and Disney will for the station, but I don't know if the state government is capable of causing obstructions, and they seem intent on causing obstructions.
 
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