Author Topic: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa  (Read 55006 times)

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #255 on: August 10, 2020, 05:31:43 PM »

Not surprised to see that construction that already had funding in place - largely via a public component - is moving forward.

The question is since Virgin doesn't have cash to bring to the table........ where does it come after this? 

This may speak more to the precarious cash position Virgin LTDz are in right now than Brightline.

Or maybe something else happened that we don't know of yet?

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #256 on: August 10, 2020, 08:17:53 PM »
The behind-the-scenes story will be an interesting one. It appears Brightline is divorcing Branson but he's refusing to go.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #257 on: August 11, 2020, 01:18:02 AM »
Looks to me like the deal with Virgin was mostly a brand licensing deal.  No doubt, Virgin doesn't want to give up the revenue from it and Brightline probably thought the brand was worth much less or nothing after Virgin Atlantic Air filed bankruptcy and Virgin Trains in the UK ended service after 22 years.

Also, its been reported that Virgin never delivered the funds for the small investment it was supposed to make in Brightline.  Brightline revenues dropping due to COVID suspensions may have further forced the issue.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/business/2020/08/10/brightline-ends-relationship-with-virgin-trains/

https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/5f1b2a1997e0bc03ab71bab9/960x0.jpg?fit=scale

Virgin's name will be dropped in both Florida and California:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/richard-branson-virgin-trains-usa-brightline-florida-california/


Nice picture in Forbes:

Pottsburg

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #258 on: August 11, 2020, 10:54:57 PM »
COVID is just an excuse for the suspension of service.  Until they updated to the PTC standards the government mandates the train will not run. I have heard from several people this won’t happen anytime soon. Year or years
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #259 on: August 12, 2020, 02:04:48 AM »
COVID is just an excuse for the suspension of service.  Until they updated to the PTC standards the government mandates the train will not run. I have heard from several people this won’t happen anytime soon. Year or years

Why would a rail service that started construction in 2014 have not updated to standards that were signed into law in 2008?
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #260 on: August 12, 2020, 11:15:42 AM »
The behind-the-scenes story will be an interesting one. It appears Brightline is divorcing Branson but he's refusing to go.

That's the piece that got me wondering what is really going on.   Did some other Brighline owners decide they are going to use Virgin's other distractions as a way to give them a boot?   Are they in such a weak position that they're worried if they don't kick Virign out, Brandon & co will gobble their passenger railroad up on the cheap?

IMHO this is a lot of smoke...... surely there are some fires.  And not just any ol' fires, but the sort that get started from people fighting each other.

Pottsburg

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #261 on: August 13, 2020, 01:13:18 PM »
COVID is just an excuse for the suspension of service.  Until they updated to the PTC standards the government mandates the train will not run. I have heard from several people this won’t happen anytime soon. Year or years

Why would a rail service that started construction in 2014 have not updated to standards that were signed into law in 2008?

Because they let a sales person talk them into buying a technology that he said would be efficient.  Brightline made a lot of bad decisions in the first phase that has cost them millions.
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #262 on: August 17, 2020, 01:41:08 PM »
If Brightline can't run trains cuz of covid19 or PTC, it's costing them hundreds of millions.   You can't sink billions into something and not have those sort of costs involved if you're not running.

I'd be curious to know more about the PTC situation.  That won't be cheap to address, not in terms of calendar time nor money.   Have they been able to roll that cost into that of building the Orlando line ( legit? )?  Or do they need to get hold of another $30-100MM to sort it out?


Question - Is this the end of Brightline?  It was a dodgy proposition in the best of times.  The tourist industry's been gutted.   With ginormous fixed costs a 20% drop in volume may not be enough to service the debts, let alone cover operating costs.


marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #263 on: August 17, 2020, 02:18:17 PM »
Found an interesting article about them in Trains Magazine.

https://www.gobrightline.com/sites/default/files/2020-08/Trains%20Magazine%202020.pdf
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fieldafm

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #264 on: August 17, 2020, 02:55:57 PM »
Question - Is this the end of Brightline?  It was a dodgy proposition in the best of times.  The tourist industry's been gutted.   With ginormous fixed costs a 20% drop in volume may not be enough to service the debts, let alone cover operating costs.


Quote
You can't sink billions into something and not have those sort of costs involved if you're not running.

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Brightline.  Construction hasn't stopped and there is no shortage of funding sources. The train side, drives the real estate side.  Neither of those sides were reliant on being cash flow positive within a few years.

Pottsburg

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #265 on: August 17, 2020, 03:05:40 PM »
Question - Is this the end of Brightline?  It was a dodgy proposition in the best of times.  The tourist industry's been gutted.   With ginormous fixed costs a 20% drop in volume may not be enough to service the debts, let alone cover operating costs.


Quote
You can't sink billions into something and not have those sort of costs involved if you're not running.

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Brightline.  Construction hasn't stopped and there is no shortage of funding sources. The train side, drives the real estate side.  Neither of those sides were reliant on being cash flow positive within a few years.

   stole my thunder here, you have to remember Brightline is not just trains.  They now own two towers of apartment rental space in downtown Miami (over the station), and more apartments in downtown (city place) WPB.  Not running the train right now is actually saving them money.
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thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #266 on: August 17, 2020, 03:13:59 PM »
They're probably kissing the feet of COVID-19 right now. It gives them a chance complete the system without burning operation money in the short term.
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ProjectMaximus

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #267 on: August 17, 2020, 06:50:42 PM »
Found an interesting article about them in Trains Magazine.

https://www.gobrightline.com/sites/default/files/2020-08/Trains%20Magazine%202020.pdf

Oops...somebody needs to update that article, especially since the magazine has a September date. The last paragraph of the article refers to the name and branding transitioning to Virgin Trains...

Question - Is this the end of Brightline?  It was a dodgy proposition in the best of times.  The tourist industry's been gutted.   With ginormous fixed costs a 20% drop in volume may not be enough to service the debts, let alone cover operating costs.


Quote
You can't sink billions into something and not have those sort of costs involved if you're not running.

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Brightline.  Construction hasn't stopped and there is no shortage of funding sources. The train side, drives the real estate side.  Neither of those sides were reliant on being cash flow positive within a few years.

   stole my thunder here, you have to remember Brightline is not just trains.  They now own two towers of apartment rental space in downtown Miami (over the station), and more apartments in downtown (city place) WPB.  Not running the train right now is actually saving them money.

And they sold the office buildings at Miami Central last year. I originally thought the sale was premature, but with COVID they may be very happy they got out of there.

MusicMan

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #268 on: August 18, 2020, 09:32:53 PM »
Spoke at length to my bro in law in Boca over the weekend. He is now consulting PR for a real estate company. He says the real play, the big money, and the big bet, is on the Orlando to Miami route, not the commuter rail. That's part of it, but the hope is tourist's will flood the trains from Orlando to Miami and back.  Millions of them every year.  Domestic and International.  So we aren't going to know if it's truly successful for a while. As noted the construction of the Miami-Orlando line is going full tilt.

Pottsburg

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #269 on: August 18, 2020, 11:00:22 PM »
Spoke at length to my bro in law in Boca over the weekend. He is now consulting PR for a real estate company. He says the real play, the big money, and the big bet, is on the Orlando to Miami route, not the commuter rail. That's part of it, but the hope is tourist's will flood the trains from Orlando to Miami and back.  Millions of them every year.  Domestic and International.  So we aren't going to know if it's truly successful for a while. As noted the construction of the Miami-Orlando line is going full tilt.

  This is exactly what a few of us have been saying the entire time. Brightline will not come back until phase 2 is complete. They will save so much money doing this. When they open the full route look for the trains to get longer with possibly a bar car separating first and second class.
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