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Why did Brightline go top-and-tail instead of push-pull?

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Mailliw

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Why did Brightline choose to put locomotives at each end of their trainsets instead of just have a locomotive at one end and a cab car at the other? Why do they need two locomotives?
 

jis

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Why did Brightline choose to put locomotives at each end of their trainsets instead of just have a locomotive at one end and a cab car at the other? Why do they need two locomotives?
I asked their then Chief Mechanical Engineer (who BTW came from Amtrak Acela Program) and his answer was that a single SCB-40 did not have enough power to meet schedule performance requirements with a targeted 10 car train, specially at 125mph. Given that you need two it made sense to put one at each end and make it a nice looking train set.

It did not make sense to create special cab cars for the interim period when shorter trains were to be operated before full service was inaugurated with full length trains.
 

daybeers

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When are they going to put out that order? Siemens is already building many cars for many other operators, so if Orlando does in fact open in 2022, when will the additional cars for additional and lengthened trainsets come? :confused:
 

jis

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When are they going to put out that order? Siemens is already building many cars for many other operators, so if Orlando does in fact open in 2022, when will the additional cars for additional and lengthened trainsets come? :confused:
Presumably before 2022. It is possible that Brightline has reserved slots in production sequence as part of their original purchase. It is likely that those have been pushed back as things got delayed in execution of the infrastructure plan.

The main issue is going to be new car types that are involved. In principle they do not have to have 10 car sets at the getgo, and from some recent rumblings I suspect they plan to have maybe 6 or 7 car sets as a starter, but they do have the new car types for food service and more luggage space for checked bags AFAIR.
 

joelkfla

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Presumably before 2022. It is possible that Brightline has reserved slots in production sequence as part of their original purchase. It is likely that those have been pushed back as things got delayed in execution of the infrastructure plan.

The main issue is going to be new car types that are involved. In principle they do not have to have 10 car sets at the getgo, and from some recent rumblings I suspect they plan to have maybe 6 or 7 car sets as a starter, but they do have the new car types for food service and more luggage space for checked bags AFAIR.
Are they actually planning to have a cafe car? Miami to Orlando is expected to be just a 3 hour ride.

They already serve snacks, drinks, and deli meat+cheese trays from carts. They could easily add a couple of cold sandwich selections, if they want to offer something more substantial.
 

jis

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Are they actually planning to have a cafe car? Miami to Orlando is expected to be just a 3 hour ride.

They already serve snacks, drinks, and deli meat+cheese trays from carts. They could easily add a couple of cold sandwich selections, if they want to offer something more substantial.
Originally they did plan to have a food service car. Of course much water has flowed down the St. johns River since then :)
 

Mailliw

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They could do a half cafe/half seating car. How long would Miami to Tampa be? Maybe they're planning cafe cars for that expansion?
 

daybeers

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I don't see why they haven't put in the order yet though. Wouldn't they be at the back of the line compared to all the other orders Siemens is swamped with?

I hope they have a food service car. I think that would fit with their premium service model. I like the half cafe/half seating idea.
 

MARC Rider

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I hope they have a food service car. I think that would fit with their premium service model. I like the half cafe/half seating idea.
Acela First Class does fine without a dedicated food service car. Presumably the same can be said for Bightline. Good cart service at your seat is probably fine for coach passengers. Maybe they could set up an app where you can order and pay for food ahead of time, so whoever is pushing the cart can just pull your order out and give it to you. I can't see that a Miami toTampa trip would be that much longer than a Washington to Boston trip. Elaborate dining, especially in coach, isn't really needed.
 

joelkfla

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They could do a half cafe/half seating car. How long would Miami to Tampa be? Maybe they're planning cafe cars for that expansion?
It's 84 miles by road from MCO to Tampa Union Station. They've estimated 1 hour travel time in the past, and 3 hours Miami to MCO, so about 4 hours total.

I can't see that a Miami toTampa trip would be that much longer than a Washington to Boston trip.
Much shorter, in fact.
 
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Mailliw

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Personally I prefer having a cafe car to at seat service (too airline like), but if VIA can manage with trolley service on the Corridor so can Brightline. VIA pulls off better catering than Amtrak too. Brightline West should definitely have cafe/bar cars on their trainsets though. That would be cool.
 

Chris I

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The cart works pretty well, and they have a lot of food options in the stations. I don't think they plan on buying cafe cars, and I don't think they need to.
 

jruff001

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It's 84 miles by road from MCO to Tampa Union Station. They've estimated 1 hour travel time in the past, and 3 hours Miami to MCO, so about 4 hours total.
That's about the same as driving, plus people will have to add time and hassle to get between the stations and final point of origin / destination in the TPA/MIA areas.

I don't see them getting much TPA-MIA traffic if that is their model.
 

MARC Rider

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That's about the same as driving, plus people will have to add time and hassle to get between the stations and final point of origin / destination in the TPA/MIA areas.

I don't see them getting much TPA-MIA traffic if that is their model.
Is that estimate of driving time with or without traffic jams? :)
1) Other corridor rail service is also not that much faster than driving, yet people ride it to avoid the hassle factor of driving in large metro areas.
2) Brightline's business model involves heavy real-estate development adjacent to the stations, thus providing a pool of potential customers do don't have to spend a lot of "time and hassle" getting to and from the stations. This, of course is highly desirable from a policy perspective, as it has the potential to reduce driving.
 

Qapla

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Google lists the trip from MCO to Tampa Union Station as 1:17 - keep in mind that they are calculating that at "speed" and that time does not allow for red lights, traffic, congestion and the crazy drivers that cause accidents on a daily basis.

Additionally, since Tampa also has an International Airport - will there be that many people who want to go from MCO to Tampa on the train. However, since Brightline will make other stops, including Disney, the number of passengers going from Tampa to Orlando may be substantial as well as those who come from other areas of Orlando heading to Tampa
 

joelkfla

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That's about the same as driving, plus people will have to add time and hassle to get between the stations and final point of origin / destination in the TPA/MIA areas.

I don't see them getting much TPA-MIA traffic if that is their model.
The comfy seats have large tray tables, power outlets, and good wi-fi. For business people, that's work time rather than drive time.

Stations have adjacent parking garages, and the last mile is not as much of a hassle as it used to be with the ubiquity of Uber/Lyft.
 

VentureForth

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However, since Brightline will make other stops, including Disney...
Ooo. I'm moving to Melbourne and would love this. And a stop in Lakeland. I get that the Brevard County stop is going in at Cocoa, but I would love to eventually see a stop in Melbourne.

Back to topic, I don't think a food car is necessary. Shinkansen phased theirs out in the 90s but maintains pay trolley service. Non/Low revenue cars are just cash guzzlers. Dollars per mile for the speed, the Japanese Bullet Train is much cheaper than Acela. Haven't analyzed comparison vs Brightline MIA - TPA or even MCO. The seats are cheaper in Japan but there is no free food, even in first class. Keep overhead costs down, basic tickets as low as possible, and upsell onboard amenities that have low spoilage and high quality.

For the record, I don't believe that should ever be Amtrak's model on overnight trains.

Oh. That wasn't the topic. It was Top n Tail... I like their current train set. Reminds me a bit of the now almost completely unsearchable Bombardier Jet Train concept. Except for the turbines. I think they planned that as a non-electric version of Acela.
 
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cirdan

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Acela First Class does fine without a dedicated food service car. Presumably the same can be said for Bightline. Good cart service at your seat is probably fine for coach passengers.
I'm speaking from a European perspective here but i know of one succesful sales guy in our company who says that when closing a sale, he typically rides with the customer and they order some fine food and wine in the cafeteria or train restaurant. Likewise there are plenty of stories of important government deals having been worked out between senior ministers in the nightcap bar of the Caledonian Sleeper. You can't do that on an airplane and you can't do it in an all seats with trolley service train. Some have even claimed it was an important selling point for business travellers versus the airlines.
 

cirdan

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It did not make sense to create special cab cars for the interim period when shorter trains were to be operated before full service was inaugurated with full length trains.
Plus, with the high number of road crossings and latent risk of a serious collison with a heavy truck, it is always preferable to have a heavy locomotive at the front of the train than a not so heavy cab car.
 
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