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Virgin Trains USA (Brightline) Orlando Extension

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TRoberts

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This has me puzzled, as I can't see how SunRail ROW helps in getting from the airport to Disney. SunRail runs predominantly north-south until Kissimmee, where it turns WSW to Poinciana. The Poinciana terminus is the closest it comes to Disney, and it's 6.5 miles SSE of the property's southern edge.
Looking at the map, I think that's the route they are planning to take. After departing Poinciana they can turn North near Reedy Creek and they have a straight shot to the property. It looks like about 3 miles from the right of way to where World Drive ends. Doesn't look like much development. They could parallel world drive onto the property.

I wonder if there is a plan to serve the town of Celebration.
 

Qapla

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They may be thinking of creating a switch just past Intercession City at the curve that turns south - would take them right over to World Drive and the I-4 ROW - not much in the way.
 

rickycourtney

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So according to earlier planning documents... SunRail is planning to upgrade the Orlando Utilities Commission Stanton Spur to connect the existing ROW north of the Meadow Woods station... to the Orlando Airport.

So Brightline would use that new track, the existing SunRail ROW thru Meadow Woods
station and depart the SunRail ROW at Highway 417. From there, following 417 to Disney World.

There’s not much sharing of SunRail ROW, but getting FDOT to pay for that section of track could be a good deal.
 

joelkfla

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So according to earlier planning documents... SunRail is planning to upgrade the Orlando Utilities Commission Stanton Spur to connect the existing ROW north of the Meadow Woods station... to the Orlando Airport.

So Brightline would use that new track, the existing SunRail ROW thru Meadow Woods
station and depart the SunRail ROW at Highway 417. From there, following 417 to Disney World.

There’s not much sharing of SunRail ROW, but getting FDOT to pay for that section of track could be a good deal.
OK, I see that. It's only 1.6 mi. of SunRail track, but it would avoid them having to find new ROW to get from the spur to 417. I'd forgotten that they were negotiating for 417 median as well as I-4 median.
 

rickycourtney

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OK, I see that. It's only 1.6 mi. of SunRail track, but it would avoid them having to find new ROW to get from the spur to 417. I'd forgotten that they were negotiating for 417 median as well as I-4 median.
Right. I feel like there’s more to be negotiated:
  • There’s 1.6 miles of SunRail track that Brightline wants to use (wye to 417).
  • There’s 2.0 miles of Brightline track that SunRail wants to use (Brightline shop to MCO).
  • That leaves 3.5 miles of Orlando Utilities Commission track that needs to be upgraded (wye to Brightline shop)
Not sure how the funding will work... but going 50/50 would be a cost savings for both SunRail and Brightline. The other benefit of the partnership is that SunRail already has already completed a study of that 3.5 mile section.
 
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west point

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It will be too expensive but provision in the future for the east track at the wye to flyover both legs of the wye. With the present proposals it will be desireable for there to be a crossover from the west track to the east track just north of the north leg of the wye going south. As well south of the south leg a crossover from the east track to the west track.going south.
Since I did not pay attention to the present lay out there someone else will have need to enlighten us as to how much of this is already in place ?
Again if eventually the east track flys over the 2 legs of the wye there will not be a much more fluid operation. That intersection will have in an hour of time ======= 6 Sun rail main line, 4 sunrail to airport, Brightline to / from Disney 4 - 8., Amtrak 1 sometimes 2. There might also be some local freight moves during the day to rearrange the yard ? So maybe 15 - 20 movements during some hours. The is a receipt for some delays.

Have not considered that a full CP east of the wye if the track from the wye to airport is 2 main tracks.
 

jis

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Brightline was planning to run on the Sunrail ROW using separate parallel tracks through Meadow Woods station with an interchange station there anyway. All that they are discussing now are:

1. Crossover tracks north of Meadow Woods allowing southbound Sunrail train to potentially access WDW.

2. Potentially using the Power House siding ROW for OIA to Meadow Woods access.

3. Building out the north east quadrant of the Wye connecting southbound Sunrail to the OIA - Meadow Woods segment allowing Sunrail from downtown to access OIA station, together with building a platform with two tracks at OIA for Sunrail low level door trains at OIA. There is space set aside for such an eventual development at the OIA station that has been built.

This will save both some money which they can then spend on doing the interchange connections better.

It does not substantially change what Brightline planned to do south of Meadow Woods to get to WDW, except that the WDW station will need an additional low level platform for SunRail trains to serve that station.
 

rickycourtney

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So I guess my question is... if SunRail and Brightline are going to share a stop at MCO, should both still serve Meadow Woods station? Also, are the SunRail tracks so busy that Brightline really needs to build parallel tracks?
 

jis

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So I guess my question is... if SunRail and Brightline are going to share a stop at MCO, should both still serve Meadow Woods station? Also, are the SunRail tracks so busy that Brightline really needs to build parallel tracks?
Brightline apparently wants to keep their Tampa trains as separate as possible from the local Orlando Airport - Disney service, and those would probably by pass Meadow Brook if they can interchange with Sun Rail at WDW. I would surmise that Brightline would have a grade separate pair of tracks for their Tampa Service, with a connecting track somewhere around Meadow Woods.

Something like Ashford International is in Southeast England which is shared between Chunnel High Speed service, some of which stop there, but most don;t, and the high speed local service from London to Kent Coast using the Hitachi Javelin sets. It is more of a quality of service rather than track capacity issue. Chunnel HS service is only 3TPH or so in each direction that bypasses Ashford International, but it does so at 300kph, not something one would do by a platform. There is a similar arrangement at Stratford International too in the outskirts of London.
 
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TRoberts

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That makes sense, I'm guessing the Orlando Airport to Disney World trains will be busy enough to justify a dedicated shuttle service.
 

jis

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That makes sense, I'm guessing the Orlando Airport to Disney World trains will be busy enough to justify a dedicated shuttle service.
Yes. That segment would certainly see more frequent service.

In the rail advocacy community there is now a mention of cobbling together a SunRail East-West Corridor anchored on the WDW - OIA segment by extending SunRail beyond OIA all the way to International Way on SR528 with a few stops on the way - specifically talked about are Heintzelman Blvd and Narcoosee Rd. At present that is mostly in the shall we say "day-dreaming" stage, but it does make sense at some level given some of the locus of development.
 

Palmland

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It sure has impacted me...I haven't been to my Queens apartment since January 4th. :(
Brightline was planning to run on the Sunrail ROW using separate parallel tracks through Meadow Woods station with an interchange station there anyway. All that they are discussing now are:

1. Crossover tracks north of Meadow Woods allowing southbound Sunrail train to potentially access WDW.

2. Potentially using the Power House siding ROW for OIA to Meadow Woods access.

3. Building out the north east quadrant of the Wye connecting southbound Sunrail to the OIA - Meadow Woods segment allowing Sunrail from downtown to access OIA station, together with building a platform with two tracks at OIA for Sunrail low level door trains at OIA. There is space set aside for such an eventual development at the OIA station that has been built.

This will save both some money which they can then spend on doing the interchange connections better.

It does not substantially change what Brightline planned to do south of Meadow Woods to get to WDW, except that the WDW station will need an additional low level platform for SunRail trains to serve that station.
Interesting. Does this mean that potentially Amtrak could stop at Meadow Woods for transfer to Brightline for Tampa/south FL or to Sunrail for WDW?
 

jis

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Interesting. Does this mean that potentially Amtrak could stop at Meadow Woods for transfer to Brightline for Tampa/south FL or to Sunrail for WDW?
That potential does exist.

Though I suspect such a transfer may be viewed as a negative for Amtrak by Amtrak aficionados, since it would appear to be a transfer to a competing service, it does open up all of the east coast of Florida south of Cocoa to Amtrak travelers as stops get added on Broghtline between Cocoa and West Palm Beach. Eventually when Brightline extends service from Cocoa to JAX, there will also be potential for transfer at JAX serving the same purpose, assuming that Amtrak and Brightline actually serve the same terminal at JAX.
 
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rickycourtney

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I know that Amtrak aficionados won't love hearing this... but when Brightline reaches Tampa, I think it will be necessary to have a discussion about the future service pattern for the Silver Service trains.

Why continue to have the Silver Star make 1 hr, 20 min detour to Tampa when Brightline will make several trips per day between the cities? Why not just offer thru ticketing? Also, thru ticketing to Disney World would be a much better experience than today's experience: hail a cab or take a 90-minute, two transit bus ride.

Also, Brightline's service between Orlando and Miami will be vastly superior to Amtrak's... making the trip 3 hours faster and dropping passengers at a station in Downtown Miami instead of Amtrak's station that's in the middle of a rail yard and is a half-mile walk to the Metrorail station.

But hey, Amtrak has -- umm -- nostalgia?
 

joelkfla

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Also, thru ticketing to Disney World would be a much better experience than today's experience: hail a cab or take a 90-minute, two transit bus ride.
Just FYI, Kissimmee is the closest station to WDW, and it's a 58 minute ride on one bus.

Granted, the 18 mi. from Orlando to Kissimmee does take an additional 37 minutes on the train when traveling south, including the Orlando smoking stop. Consider it more time to enjoy(?) lunch.
 

TRoberts

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Just FYI, Kissimmee is the closest station to WDW, and it's a 58 minute ride on one bus.

Granted, the 18 mi. from Orlando to Kissimmee does take an additional 37 minutes on the train when traveling south, including the Orlando smoking stop. Consider it more time to enjoy(?) lunch.
I've used both Orlando and Kissimmee when traveling to and from Disney World. Both are about the same Uber price.

The Lynx bus from Kissimmee is from the Transportation and Ticket Center Only. From Orlando, you can get on and off by Disney Springs and walk to any Disney Springs hotel or take a Disney bus to your resort although I'm guessing that will no longer be an option if/when Disney Springs adds security checkpoints and prohibits luggage.
 

rickycourtney

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Didn't consider Kissimmee... but I would argue that both are worse passenger experiences than a transfer to Brightline for a quick trip to the Disney World station, which will almost certainly have a Disney Transportation hub.
 

joelkfla

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I've used both Orlando and Kissimmee when traveling to and from Disney World. Both are about the same Uber price.

The Lynx bus from Kissimmee is from the Transportation and Ticket Center Only. From Orlando, you can get on and off by Disney Springs and walk to any Disney Springs hotel or take a Disney bus to your resort although I'm guessing that will no longer be an option if/when Disney Springs adds security checkpoints and prohibits luggage.
True. Officially, no luggage is allowed on any form of Disney Transport, so the final mile should be rideshare or taxi, anyway, unless you have just a backpack or carry-on. The Lynx stop is very close to taxi & rideshare at both locations.
Didn't consider Kissimmee... but I would argue that both are worse passenger experiences than a transfer to Brightline for a quick trip to the Disney World station, which will almost certainly have a Disney Transportation hub.
No argument; just clarifying the facts.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Why continue to have the Silver Star make 1 hr, 20 min detour to Tampa when Brightline will make several trips per day between the cities? Why not just offer thru ticketing? Also, thru ticketing to Disney World would be a much better experience than today's experience: hail a cab or take a 90-minute, two transit bus ride.
Amtrak generally has plenty of room for luggage. Connecting to Brightline is only desirable if there's an easy way to bring your long haul luggage without dragging it up and down stairs or blocking aisles. I've only visited Disney World a couple times (Disneyland kid) but it seemed like everyone was packing the kitchen sink in both directions.
 
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jis

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Amtrak generally has plenty of room for luggage. Connecting to Brightline is only desirable if there's an easy way to bring your long haul luggage without dragging it up and down stairs or blocking aisles. I've only visited Disney World a couple times (Disneyland kid) but it seemed like everyone was packing the kitchen sink in both directions.
Purely as a hypothetical possibility Brightline does have checked baggage, so potentially there could be interline checked baggage. But I am sure, this being the country that it is, people will discover/invent a hundred reasons why that could never happen. 🤷‍♂️
 

TRoberts

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True. Officially, no luggage is allowed on any form of Disney Transport, so the final mile should be rideshare or taxi, anyway, unless you have just a backpack or carry-on. The Lynx stop is very close to taxi & rideshare at both locations.
Oh, I didn't realize that. I used to transfer from Lynx to Disney Transportation regularly at TTC or Disney Springs. As recently as last January I used Disney Springs. Hopefully, the new Brightline Station will have regular transportation to the various resorts so you don't need to use UBER / Taxi.
 

rickycourtney

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So as long as we are playing hypotheticals here... I'll point out that Disney World has offered checked baggage intercept at MCO as part of it's "Magical Express" bus service to the Disney owned hotels in the park. (I believe the baggage service is currently on hold due to the pandemic.)

Before you depart you put a special yellow bag tag on your luggage, then you check the bag at your origin airport. When flights arrive at MCO with these yellow tags, they are diverted to Disney World. Once bags at arrive at hotels, the bell desk delivers them directly into the room.

So for most guests, they arrive at MCO and without stopping at baggage claim, they hop on a bus that takes them to their hotel, they check-in at the hotel, then head out to have fun at the resort, and when they arrive at their rooms that night, the bags are waiting. I used the service during my visit and it was pretty "Magical" from a user experience perspective.

There's no reason why Brightline couldn't offer a similar checked baggage intercept system in the future, especially since, presumably, many families will travel between MCO and Disney World on Brightline. I'm sure the only reason why it's not currently offered from the Amtrak station is there's not enough passengers to justify the expense.
 

me_little_me

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That potential does exist.

Though I suspect such a transfer may be viewed as a negative for Amtrak by Amtrak aficionados, since it would appear to be a transfer to a competing service, it does open up all of the east coast of Florida south of Cocoa to Amtrak travelers as stops get added on Broghtline between Cocoa and West Palm Beach. Eventually when Brightline extends service from Cocoa to JAX, there will also be potential for transfer at JAX serving the same purpose, assuming that Amtrak and Brightline actually serve the same terminal at JAX.
That would be good for both but so much better for customers (given, of course, that Amtrak doesn't arrive after the last Brightline train). Both Amtrak and Brightline would likely gain customers and Amtrak could eliminate two diverging trains and instead have two trains a day that follow the same path in Florida. Of course, Brightline and Amtrak would need to interline baggage.
Look how much customers would benefit - they could get an edible meal included if they go first class on Brightline or have the option to buy one, if in coach. :)
Of course, they could also wonder why Amtrak couldn't provide real service!
 
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If brightline track is good and fast, Amtrak could very well use the same track the way it does with other freight lines.
 
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