The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: thelakelander on June 25, 2018, 12:41:28 PM

Title: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2018, 12:41:28 PM
Good news for Jax. Brightline's success and continued expansion is our best chance for fixed rail connectivity  locally.

https://www.moderncities.com/article/2018-jun-high-speed-rail-plans-from-orlando-to-tampa-underway
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Tacachale on June 25, 2018, 12:48:58 PM
Pretty cool. I wonder where the station in Tampa would be. I'm still worried that if they come to Jax, they'll skip the Prime Osborn for another station of their own somewhere less impactful.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: KenFSU on June 25, 2018, 12:52:02 PM
^I hope not.

The JTA actually just invited a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute to spend a week downtown in order to make recommendations for revitalizing our downtown.

Their number one recommendation was bringing a train station back downtown.

Quote
"Press whoever you have to press to get that to happen," he said, calling that step a "game changer."

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/06/25/national-experts-how-to-fix-downtown-jacksonville.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2018, 12:57:50 PM
I'm a lot more confident in Brightline to plan, invest and implement quality transit service and market rate development over JTA, COJ or any other local public agency. It should be obvious by now what their development strategy and track record is.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Tacachale on June 25, 2018, 01:06:25 PM
I'm a lot more confident in Brightline to plan, invest and implement quality transit service and market rate development over JTA, COJ or any other local public agency. It should be obvious by now what their development strategy and track record is.

Yes - all new stations, including one at an airport. That's what worries me.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2018, 01:27:16 PM
Look at the context. There were no old stations intact to reuse along the FEC in Miami, FTL and WPB. Using Orlando's station on the Sunrail line makes no sense either. Nevertheless, the Miami station is the exact location of the historic station that was razed decades ago.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on July 03, 2018, 12:49:22 PM
Brightline isn't in the business of building train stations.  They are in the office/retail/residential business.  The train just connects their developments.  This strategy was pioneered in Japan byHanku Railway.  If something like Jacksonville Terminal was available they would for sure use it, but they are going to want development rights for all the surrounding land (and probably the convention center parking lot).  It wouldn't surprise me if Brightline was the one buying up Brooklyn.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: FlaBoy on July 03, 2018, 01:13:00 PM
Look at the context. There were no old stations intact to reuse along the FEC in Miami, FTL and WPB. Using Orlando's station on the Sunrail line makes no sense either. Nevertheless, the Miami station is the exact location of the historic station that was razed decades ago.

I think they would either want to reuse the Prime Osborne with the JTA Center there and potentially the return of Amtrack. The one thing that could put them in a different location could be difficulties with getting over the river with the CSX Bridge. Everything else lines up for the type of project they would want with the infrastructure already there to make it happen. They certainly aren't going to the airport and there isn't a great suburban location.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on July 03, 2018, 01:42:43 PM
CSX doesn't own the rail bridge over the river.  That is FEC.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 03, 2018, 01:53:14 PM
Brightline already has rights to run their service on the FEC into Jax. The FEC is that bridge and the track running past the Prime Osborn. CSX isn't a factor.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Steve on July 03, 2018, 02:13:02 PM
I think it will be harder to get Amtrak back downtown vs. Brightline. As Kerry/lake pointed out, the bridge is FECs so using it for Brightline shouldn't be an issue.

Amtrak might be harder as it uses (at least today) the CSX lines. It's sort of an awkward turn to get the train over to the old train station and I believe the tracks have been reconstructed since the 1960s. It's certainly not impossible, but I can see Amtrak wanting COJ or someone else to pay for any track adjustments (which I think the city should).
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on July 03, 2018, 02:19:16 PM
The tracks are all still there.  On it's current alignment Amtrak would have to go a tiny bit out of the way to get to the Prime Osbourne and then backtrack to the westbound CSX tracks.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on July 03, 2018, 05:41:05 PM
I think it will be harder to get Amtrak back downtown vs. Brightline. As Kerry/lake pointed out, the bridge is FECs so using it for Brightline shouldn't be an issue.

Amtrak might be harder as it uses (at least today) the CSX lines. It's sort of an awkward turn to get the train over to the old train station and I believe the tracks have been reconstructed since the 1960s. It's certainly not impossible, but I can see Amtrak wanting COJ or someone else to pay for any track adjustments (which I think the city should).

I would be in favor of the City paying also and using funds from the Bed Tax to do it.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 03, 2018, 08:39:28 PM
The tracks are all still there.  On it's current alignment Amtrak would have to go a tiny bit out of the way to get to the Prime Osbourne and then backtrack to the westbound CSX tracks.
Not all the track. The old track from the terminal to head south down the CSX A line was pulled up years ago.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on July 03, 2018, 08:55:50 PM
The tracks are all still there.  On it's current alignment Amtrak would have to go a tiny bit out of the way to get to the Prime Osbourne and then backtrack to the westbound CSX tracks.
Not all the track. The old track from the terminal to head south down the CSX A line was pulled up years ago.

Yeah but they could just reverse past it and then head straight down.  Otherwise they'd have to turn the train around. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 06, 2018, 08:03:42 PM
I spent the last few days in So Fla. Caught a game at the gorgeous Marlins stadium, had a nice visit to my old stomping grounds, Univ of Miami, and had the chance to ride Brightline from Ft Lauderdale up to WPB and back. It was awesome.  Reminds me of Europe. The trains are 100% American made, and quiet and comfortable. The traffic down there can be maddening and if there is any type of accident then all plans are off. Brightline really enhances quality of life for the folks. You can easily UBER, LYFT,  or walk or rent a bike if you like right at the station. These guys are definitely going to make it work, and they will be looking at routes all over the country.  Also WPB has become a great walkable downtown. Makes Jax look so stale. The new Restoration Hardware Showroom was something else, and a great little restaurant on the top floor was stunning. 

I've been gone from So Fla for 12 years. This trip back was the first time i thought, 'Damn I could live here again.'
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on July 06, 2018, 08:40:48 PM
But if Brightline expands to Jacksonville we will be closer to Miami and Orlando by train than by plane (once you include check in time).
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 07, 2018, 10:33:35 AM
Jacksonville is pretty far down on the cities to be connected to, as I understand it. WPB to Orlando and Orlando to Tampa will come first.

But the point you are making is correct. Brightline is analyzing routes where it is "too long to drive and too short to fly."  Dallas to Houston, Atlanta to Charlotte, these types of routes, with large metro areas already doing lots of commuter business.  There were several others that I heard about.  Brightline offers high speed internet on board as well, so you can definitely work while traveling.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 07, 2018, 12:41:42 PM
Jax isn't far down the list. The original plan is Miami to Orlando, which is under construction now. Tampa and Jax have always been mentioned as the next phases. The far down the list stuff is the out-of-state concepts. The time is now for Jax to be getting its transportation house in order.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on July 07, 2018, 03:52:14 PM
Jacksonville is pretty far down on the cities to be connected to, as I understand it. WPB to Orlando and Orlando to Tampa will come first.

But the point you are making is correct. Brightline is analyzing routes where it is "too long to drive and too short to fly."  Dallas to Houston, Atlanta to Charlotte, these types of routes, with large metro areas already doing lots of commuter business.  There were several others that I heard about.  Brightline offers high speed internet on board as well, so you can definitely work while traveling.

MM you read this site don't ya?  ;D lol. Jax and Tampa are more or less evenly discussed as the next expansion (if it happens).
As for out-of-state, perhaps it could come to pass but hard to see how they pull it off without owning substantial real estate and ROW already. And Dallas-Houston already has two companies bidding for that route
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 08, 2018, 11:47:30 AM
Here is what the Top Dog has said.  Max have you ridden it?  It sure makes going up to WPB from Miami a hell of a lot easier than before.


https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/05/25/fortress-wes-edens-on-brightline-rail-project.html


https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/01/12/brightline-private-rail-opening-to-the-public.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on July 08, 2018, 06:36:41 PM
Here is what the Top Dog has said.  Max have you ridden it?  It sure makes going up to WPB from Miami a hell of a lot easier than before.


https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/05/25/fortress-wes-edens-on-brightline-rail-project.html


https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/01/12/brightline-private-rail-opening-to-the-public.html

They created the LLCs for both Tampa and Jax expansion and have had preliminary discussions with the various entities. As for the out-of-state stuff, I wasn't saying they haven't expressed interest, as it has been mentioned on a few occasions already. I was simply expressing my doubt as I believe it would be unlikely. In the videos you shared, Wes seems to emphasize how it was almost a perfect storm for them here in FL.

No sadly I have not been on it. I was hoping to do so for opening weekend but the weekend they chose I was out of town for a wedding. Since then it's been hectic and we had our second child, so it's hard to take the time out for a leisurely trip up to WPB with two boys in tow. Definitely hope to at some point though! I have used Metrorail and trirail about a dozen times now though, for more "essential" travel.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on July 08, 2018, 06:51:36 PM
I thought I read somewhere that the expansion to Tampa was almost a sure thing. Is that true?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 08, 2018, 09:48:03 PM
It's just as sure as an extension to Jax is. They've said they plan to do both and appear to be doing what they've been stating the last few years.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on July 10, 2018, 02:01:18 PM
The advantage Jax has is A) The rail already exist, B) They have usage rights on that track already, and C) A historic station already exists.

On the downside Jax doesn't have a substantial population compared to other Florida cities, there isn't much reason for visitors to come here and finally, with no rail connection between JIA and downtown we don't make a good passenger feeder.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 10, 2018, 06:43:10 PM
Intercity rail doesn't work the same way airports do. Daytona and St. Augustine, two major tourist destinations would be on a segment to Jax. Those are benefits. Then who says a line has to terminate in Jax? What about an Atlanta to Miami route? In that case, Jax simply becomes a stop on the way. In other words, no need to downplay the validity of a stop in Jax. This is intercity rail we're talking about. Not a metro style subway or LRT.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Steve on July 10, 2018, 07:06:50 PM
The advantage Jax has is A) The rail already exist, B) They have usage rights on that track already, and C) A historic station already exists.

On the downside Jax doesn't have a substantial population compared to other Florida cities, there isn't much reason for visitors to come here and finally, with no rail connection between JIA and downtown we don't make a good passenger feeder.

There are plenty of reasons to come to Jacksonville. A lot of them just aren’t downtown unfortunately.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on July 11, 2018, 12:57:35 AM
Daytona and St Augustine would definitely be two good stops that would bring visitors from the South but I don't see Jax being a destination.  No one from points south are coming here for theme parks, beaches, shopping, or museums and I doubt anyone from Daytona is going to take a train to Jax only to have to Uber it all over once they are here.  I'm not sure what kind of business travel Jax would generate unless we got a lot more companies from JTB/Baymeadows/Avenues to relocate downtown.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 11, 2018, 06:34:39 AM
Jax has 1.5 million people in the MSA. We're not talking about Macon, GA here. We don't have to make a case for or against Jax. Brightline has already stated on multiple occasions that the city on its radar.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Steve on July 11, 2018, 07:57:53 AM
Daytona and St Augustine would definitely be two good stops that would bring visitors from the South but I don't see Jax being a destination.  No one from points south are coming here for theme parks, beaches, shopping, or museums and I doubt anyone from Daytona is going to take a train to Jax only to have to Uber it all over once they are here.  I'm not sure what kind of business travel Jax would generate unless we got a lot more companies from JTB/Baymeadows/Avenues to relocate downtown.

Why would someone not uber? Plus, I’d take it from Jacksonville to Lakeland if it were an option (not sure if a Lakeland stop is planned) versus fighting I-4 through Orlando or going 25 miles around Orlando on 417.

The reverse is true-while I wish we had more people downtown, people would uber from downtown. How fundamentally different is it than an Uber from JIA? Plus, we have about 40k people working between the northbank, southbank, and Brooklyn.

Though, I’m not sure you “want” to get it. It’s much easier to be negative I guess.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 11, 2018, 08:35:30 AM
If you're paying Brightline fares, Uber is certainly an option, regardless of what city you're in. What happens with Amtrak is also something that comes into play with Jax. Jax remains the rail gateway into and from Florida. That infrastructure isn't going anywhere any time soon. It's the only major city in the state where this intercity system could be fed intercity rail riders from outside of Florida. Although we tend to jump on JTA from time to time, they're even investing in a multimodal transit hub next to where a potential station would be. So locally, you will have the option to hop on the JTA Flyer or Skyway to access various destinations in the city.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Tacachale on July 11, 2018, 08:41:28 AM
Daytona and St Augustine would definitely be two good stops that would bring visitors from the South but I don't see Jax being a destination.  No one from points south are coming here for theme parks, beaches, shopping, or museums and I doubt anyone from Daytona is going to take a train to Jax only to have to Uber it all over once they are here.  I'm not sure what kind of business travel Jax would generate unless we got a lot more companies from JTB/Baymeadows/Avenues to relocate downtown.

Why would someone not uber? Plus, I’d take it from Jacksonville to Lakeland if it were an option (not sure if a Lakeland stop is planned) versus fighting I-4 through Orlando or going 25 miles around Orlando on 417.

The reverse is true-while I wish we had more people downtown, people would uber from downtown. How fundamentally different is it than an Uber from JIA? Plus, we have about 40k people working between the northbank, southbank, and Brooklyn.

Though, I’m not sure you “want” to get it. It’s much easier to be negative I guess.

People fly into Jax every day who then take Uber, a cab, or a rental car, and the airport’s a lot farther from stuff than the Prime Osborn is. Not sure why this would be different.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Steve on July 11, 2018, 08:46:29 AM
If you're paying Brightline fares, Uber is certainly an option, regardless of what city you're in. What happens with Amtrak is also something that comes into play with Jax. Jax remains the rail gateway into and from Florida. That infrastructure isn't going anywhere any time soon. It's the only major city in the state where this intercity system could be fed intercity rail riders from outside of Florida. Although we tend to jump on JTA from time to time, they're even investing in a multimodal transit hub next to where a potential station would be. So locally, you will have the option to hop on the JTA Flyer or Skyway to access various destinations in the city.

I've looked into Amtrak to get to Lakeland too (At least I could then work on the trip). The problem is that in looking online, the "on-time" rate of the train isn't great and even if it is, the times for the route are terrible. Not really conducive for business travelers. Works fine I guess for retirees looking to not drive somewhere.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 11, 2018, 09:26:47 AM
Outside of the auto train, you probably wouldn't need Amtrak south running south of Jax if Brightline were extended to Tampa and Jax.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Lostwave on July 11, 2018, 10:22:51 AM
Daytona and St Augustine would definitely be two good stops that would bring visitors from the South but I don't see Jax being a destination.  No one from points south are coming here for theme parks, beaches, shopping, or museums and I doubt anyone from Daytona is going to take a train to Jax only to have to Uber it all over once they are here.  I'm not sure what kind of business travel Jax would generate unless we got a lot more companies from JTB/Baymeadows/Avenues to relocate downtown.

Maybe people from other parts of Florida wouldn't want to take a train to Jacksonville.  But I know I and a lot of other people would love to be able to take a train from Jacksonville to south Florida, Orlando or Tampa.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 12, 2018, 12:58:49 PM
User reviews from South Florida Business Journal:

https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2018/07/10/from-the-editor-business-commuters-embrace.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: itsfantastic1 on July 13, 2018, 03:26:58 PM
Does anyone have any particular insight as to why the Tampa route is being explored prior to the Jax route? I know they have expansion LLCs for both the Tampa and Jax routes, but why does the Tampa one seem to be moving forward and the Jax isn't?

I assume that the revenue is higher for the Tampa route, but wouldn't the cost of all that construction outweigh it when compared to the rail upgrades required for Jax route? On the flip side, could the construction costs be the reason to move forward now? Material prices may increase with tariffs, a potential recession, possibility for the state to do something else in the I-4 median before Brightline builds or loss of interest from the Feds?

I'd love to have a high speed rail go from Miami to Atlanta through Jacksonville, with a side spur to Orlando/Tampa.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Steve on July 13, 2018, 03:49:54 PM
I mean Orlando-Tampa is a lot shorter distance for more people than Jacksonville. It was probably simple as that.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 13, 2018, 05:23:07 PM
Tampa takes longer. There's no infrastructure. By the time something is actually running to Tampa, something to Jax could still be happening simultaneously.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 13, 2018, 05:28:36 PM
Combine Orlando and Polk with the Bay area (roughly 80 miles) and you'll hit at least 7 million residents and who knows how many tourists. Also I-4 really is becoming a parking lot. So the markets aren't comparable either.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on July 17, 2018, 10:13:27 AM
^ Never mind the resident population. The visitor markets aren't remotely comparable.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 19, 2018, 12:15:55 PM
Does anyone have any particular insight as to why the Tampa route is being explored prior to the Jax route? I know they have expansion LLCs for both the Tampa and Jax routes, but why does the Tampa one seem to be moving forward and the Jax isn't?

I assume that the revenue is higher for the Tampa route, but wouldn't the cost of all that construction outweigh it when compared to the rail upgrades required for Jax route? On the flip side, could the construction costs be the reason to move forward now? Material prices may increase with tariffs, a potential recession, possibility for the state to do something else in the I-4 median before Brightline builds or loss of interest from the Feds?

I'd love to have a high speed rail go from Miami to Atlanta through Jacksonville, with a side spur to Orlando/Tampa.


Although the route seems easier to Jax, the construction would be harder and more costly if your not counting the cost of land. Also it becomes a major inconvenience for FEC at times. It’s not as simple as just adding a 2nd track (double main). They have to move crossing gates and cantilevers. Also recable the old locations which is tricky to do while try to not interrupt the current working road crossing. When they have a clear path to Tampa they can “rip and run” as we say. You don’t have to worry about hitting things in the ground like fiber optics, signal cable, power cable, water and gas lines. I’m sure they will run into things here and there but not every crossing like on the Jax route.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 19, 2018, 12:44:19 PM
No, its a hell of a lot more complicated and costly to build new track on a corridor you don't own. An extension to Jax would be similar to the MIA-WPB section that's already in operation.  Getting to Tampa could take just as long as the delayed Orlando segment.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 19, 2018, 01:02:30 PM
Like I said the land acquisition is the X factor.  Watch how fast the get the 528 corridor installed. From Cocoa to Orlando will be the easy part. They are behind because of all the problems we have run into from WPB to Miami.  If the path is clear (ie you have the land) then the construction part will be easier. That’s what I’m saying.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 19, 2018, 01:11:38 PM
It's taken years to get studies and work out agreements to get the easement into Orlando. WPB to MIA didn't take long for construction. The Treasure Coast stuff still didn't stop them from considering running up to Cocoa while waiting for the new line into Orlando to be completed. Tampa won't be any different.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 19, 2018, 01:24:04 PM
Don’t get me wrong I wish they would do Jax first. I couldn’t care less about the Tampa section. From a person who worked on this project and has done Railroad construction for some time (NS, BNSF, FEC, AAF) the easier job in on virgin land. Again as long as you have the path, that includes ownership and all the BS red tape they throw in front of you. Also WPB to Mia is no where near finished, It may not seem like this because the train is running, but IMO they have 2 years of work and testing still needed to be done on the south section. The “second phase” of the project hasnt even decided who won the contract. Only thing they have started is laying fiber. Believe me when I say it’s going to be some time before Tampa or Jax is even a topic of what’s next
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 21, 2018, 06:55:44 AM
Again as long as you have the path, that includes ownership and all the BS red tape they throw in front of you.

Yes, and they don't have the path or necessary approvals to build on a path they don't own, which also isn't virgin land, which is the most time consuming part of the process and must be factored in. That process literally takes years. Market-wise though, Central Florida is light years larger and more significant than Jax. That alone is likely the main driver in trying to extend 80 miles to Tampa and getting the long process started to do so.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 21, 2018, 09:23:06 AM
" Also WPB to Mia is no where near finished, It may not seem like this because the train is running, but IMO they have 2 years of work and testing still needed to be done on the south section"

Not sure what you consider 'finished' but the Miami station opened in May and has 11 departures daily. Going to 16 in August.  Residential and office space (TOD) opening with in a year.

Folks I've talked to here would love to have Brightline connect to Orlando, anywhere within 10 miles of Disney or the airport.. No more I-95 to I-4  BS to put up with.....
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 21, 2018, 01:10:32 PM
Again as long as you have the path, that includes ownership and all the BS red tape they throw in front of you.

Yes, and they don't have the path or necessary approvals to build on a path they don't own, which also isn't virgin land, which is the most time consuming part of the process and must be factored in. That process literally takes years. Market-wise though, Central Florida is light years larger and more significant than Jax. That alone is likely the main driver in trying to extend 80 miles to Tampa and getting the long process started to do so.

Well I hope the process takes forever and they just settle on Jax.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 21, 2018, 01:14:52 PM
" Also WPB to Mia is no where near finished, It may not seem like this because the train is running, but IMO they have 2 years of work and testing still needed to be done on the south section"

Not sure what you consider 'finished' but the Miami station opened in May and has 11 departures daily. Going to 16 in August.  Residential and office space (TOD) opening with in a year.

Folks I've talked to here would love to have Brightline connect to Orlando, anywhere within 10 miles of Disney or the airport.. No more I-95 to I-4  BS to put up with.....

I consider I job finished when the people you are doing the work for say you are finished. You might hire a guy to do something for you and he might say well the job is practically finished but you know he still has a lot to do. The FRA still has to approve a lot of things. 0% of PTC has been implemented. The track work has not been completed. The signal work has not been completed. There’s a lot behind the scenes that needs to be addressed.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 21, 2018, 01:34:24 PM
I'm not sure what your talking about. How do you run a train from Miami to WPB without the track work not complete? Who is your source of info? Do you live down there?  I rode it two weeks ago. It was amazing. Have you ridden it? If so, when? What line did you ride.?

Why are there 11 departures per day (from Miami northbound) if it is not "working"? Are they hiring little mules to pull it?

Watch the link I posted above. Actual riders commuting every day from WPB to Miami, and back!  It's definitely working.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 21, 2018, 02:59:39 PM
Again as long as you have the path, that includes ownership and all the BS red tape they throw in front of you.

Yes, and they don't have the path or necessary approvals to build on a path they don't own, which also isn't virgin land, which is the most time consuming part of the process and must be factored in. That process literally takes years. Market-wise though, Central Florida is light years larger and more significant than Jax. That alone is likely the main driver in trying to extend 80 miles to Tampa and getting the long process started to do so.

Well I hope the process takes forever and they just settle on Jax.
If Jax is viable, they can do them simultaneously. Starting the process to Tampa and still being more than a year from Orlando opening is a good example.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 22, 2018, 12:23:53 PM
Rumor is they are going to select 3 different contractors to do all the work in the second phase. The major hiccup they had with phase one was one contractor (archer western) winning the bid, but had never worked a railroad project. They subbed everything out, and chased their tails on a lot of things, that they weren’t anticipating. Simple things like track protection for workers ended up costing them big bucks
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 22, 2018, 12:35:42 PM
I'm not sure what your talking about. How do you run a train from Miami to WPB without the track work not complete? Who is your source of info? Do you live down there?  I rode it two weeks ago. It was amazing. Have you ridden it? If so, when? What line did you ride.?

Why are there 11 departures per day (from Miami northbound) if it is not "working"? Are they hiring little mules to pull it?

Watch the link I posted above. Actual riders commuting every day from WPB to Miami, and back!  It's definitely working.

Yes I have ridden the train and yes I live down here. The train can run fine right now, the track isn’t unsafe. There are over a hundred joints that need to be welded, they have 3 double crossovers that are currently pointlocked and need to be cut over. One of them still needs signals installed. All this is usually simple work but not when you’re running 20 trains a day. They try moving the work to night time but FEC runs all of it freight at night.  A little inside baseball there but believe me when I say they have a while.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on July 22, 2018, 09:08:20 PM
" Also WPB to Mia is no where near finished, It may not seem like this because the train is running, but IMO they have 2 years of work and testing still needed to be done on the south section"

was just there on Thursday - I bet the southern end of the station is done by spring next year
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 02, 2018, 12:07:01 PM
TheLakeLander question here. What if Grupo Mexico (FECs owners) bought the CSX track between orlando and Tampa?  Obviously they would have to upgrade the track but it gives them a path. I’m. It too familiar with that area. Maybe Brightline who is just a customer to FEC makes a deal with CSX like they did with FEC and pays to use their track.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on August 02, 2018, 12:26:53 PM
CSX has never been interested in selling that line. It serves the state's largest port, several coal burning power plants and Mosiac's phosphate rock empire in Bone Valley. Give that up and they can pretty much get rid of everything south of Jax.

Also, Brightline isn't a FEC customer. I believe they co-own the tracks...or at least it was described that way when the FEC was sold.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 02, 2018, 12:58:55 PM
Direct quote from FEC ceo “Brightline is our customer and we will do everything we can to service them”.  Grupo splashed around a lot of money buying FEC. I know they had people highrail the Baldwin to Pensacola track for sale. I can’t get specific but they didn’t see eye to eye on a few things so the sale prob won’t happen. I’ve been told that Grupo wants to own the state of Florida, basically out a chokehold on it. Plus it’s a good place to put money with a not so friendly administration taking power in Mexico. Either way the future is bright for FEC.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on August 02, 2018, 01:39:57 PM
Here's the quote from earlier this year I was referring too:

Quote
investment group also owns Florida East Coast Industries, the parent company of All Aboard Florida, developer and owner of the Brightlight passenger train system being built from Miami to West Palm Beach and Orlando.

“The sale of the Florida East Coast Railway does not impact Brightline,” said a spokeswoman, AnneMarie Mathews. “Brightline is a separate company that has dual ownership of the corridor and the right to operate passenger service.”

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article141301728.html#storylink=cpy

The CSX A line into Tampa appears to be more significant in value to CSX than the line running through the Panhandle. It's a monopoly for providing rail service in the state's second largest metro, it's largest ports and all the phosphate mines and plants in Polk and Hardee Counties. With that in mind, CSX has rejected to seriously consider previous discussions about selling the line into Tampa east of Uceta Yard.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 03, 2018, 09:36:04 AM
I'm not sure what your talking about. How do you run a train from Miami to WPB without the track work not complete? Who is your source of info? Do you live down there?  I rode it two weeks ago. It was amazing. Have you ridden it? If so, when? What line did you ride.?

Why are there 11 departures per day (from Miami northbound) if it is not "working"? Are they hiring little mules to pull it?

Watch the link I posted above. Actual riders commuting every day from WPB to Miami, and back!  It's definitely working.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-reg-quiet-zone-delay-20180802-story.html

A lot of work still needs to be done. The main worry is will they wait to start the next phase of the project? The only thing that has started is laying the fiber. The track and signal construction keeps getting pushed. The longer the first phase goes over the tougher the road gets for Tampa or Jax.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on August 03, 2018, 10:16:07 AM
I'm not sure about that. Neither Tampa or Jax is getting anything until Orlando is operational anyway. Have they even started construction on the Beach Line segment yet? It will take a while to build all the grade separated crossings they'll need.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 04, 2018, 10:07:06 AM
Beach line?  Are you talking about the new 528 run?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on August 04, 2018, 10:13:40 AM
Yes 528.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on August 04, 2018, 05:10:40 PM
They need to hurry up. Our son was scheduled on a flight from JFK to JAX on Thursday (he originally flew from Europe). It was cancelled, and he was rebooked for Friday. Also cancelled. Delta airlines could not get him on another fight until Sunday. He is currently on Amtrak, arriving tomorrow morning! >:( If we had Brightline to Orlando it would help tremendously in terms of getting on international flights.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: JaxAvondale on August 06, 2018, 07:30:00 AM
I don’t think it would help us get more international flights. Most likely, we would take Brightline to Orlando for international flights.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on August 06, 2018, 08:24:11 AM
Yes, that is what I meant. Take the Brightline to Orlando to catch a flight. It will not have an impact on international flights from Jax.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 07, 2018, 12:40:30 AM
I'm not sure about that. Neither Tampa or Jax is getting anything until Orlando is operational anyway. Have they even started construction on the Beach Line segment yet? It will take a while to build all the grade separated crossings they'll need.

No construction north of west palm has started. When they do start it’ll depend how they bid the job. They may give it to three separate contractors who are responsible for a segment. No one knows yet. If I’m a contractor though, I want the 528 stretch.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 07, 2018, 12:42:11 AM
They need to hurry up. Our son was scheduled on a flight from JFK to JAX on Thursday (he originally flew from Europe). It was cancelled, and he was rebooked for Friday. Also cancelled. Delta airlines could not get him on another fight until Sunday. He is currently on Amtrak, arriving tomorrow morning! >:( If we had Brightline to Orlando it would help tremendously in terms of getting on international flights.
My flight from FLL to LGA got canceled Friday. Had to literally cancel my whole trip, they were getting tornadoes in NY. Just bad luck I guess
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on August 12, 2018, 01:35:58 PM

I wouldn't get too excited about Brightline going to Tampa.  So far they've failed to raise the money needed to build to Orlando.   

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: icarus on November 17, 2018, 04:14:37 PM
https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-ne-brightline-virgin-20181116-story.html (https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-ne-brightline-virgin-20181116-story.html)

Brightline to become Virgin Trains USA
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on November 17, 2018, 06:50:59 PM
I think this is a good sign.  ;D
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on November 20, 2018, 01:47:12 PM

I wouldn't get too excited about Brightline going to Tampa.  So far they've failed to raise the money needed to build to Orlando.

Maybe they will just come to Jax instead.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: itsfantastic1 on November 20, 2018, 04:44:33 PM
What I find interesting is that Brightline/Virgin Trains has some documentation for their IPO where they mention the Tampa/Orlando route and then go on to say they own nothing for that, including the real estate. Then mention the Las Vegas to LA route, which then highlights the Victorville station which is not quite convenient to LA. Wonder if the IPO is meant to fund places they don't have a footprint and once they see what the market holds for them, they'll see if Atlanta to Miami is feasible through Jacksonville.

I just find it highly unusual that no mention for any Jacksonville expansion which could be done at a fraction of their Orlando/Tampa and Vegas/LA route. Then again, all 4 of those markets are much larger than ours so they'd only need like 14% of daily commuters for the Tamps/Orlando route to be profitable.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on November 20, 2018, 04:58:21 PM
2017 MSA populations not included the millions of tourist that travel to all these places:

LA - 13,353,907
Miami - 6,158,824
Riverside - 4,580,670
Tampa - 3,091,399
Orlando - 2,509,831
Vegas - 2,204,079

Jacksonville - 1,504,980

There's a $$$ reason they're being mentioned and made priorities over Jax.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on November 20, 2018, 10:09:05 PM
A route to Jax also includes Daytona Beach and St. Augustine which are pretty healthy tourist draws.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on November 20, 2018, 10:36:14 PM
Yes but peanuts compared to the major cities mentioned on that list.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on November 20, 2018, 10:44:08 PM
Yes but peanuts compared to the major cities mentioned on that list.

Well yes, but the choice is between Jax or nothing if they can't raise the money to get to Orlando.  Surely we can beat 'nothing'.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on November 28, 2018, 06:26:23 PM
Rail line from Orlando to Tampa gets boost
https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/rail-line-from-orlando-to-tampa-gets-boost (https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/rail-line-from-orlando-to-tampa-gets-boost)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on November 28, 2018, 09:05:54 PM
It's cool to see Lakeland/Polk County getting a station. Years of planning went down the tubes when the original HSR plan was killed.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on December 04, 2018, 10:31:37 AM
It's cool to see Lakeland/Polk County getting a station. Years of planning went down the tubes when the original HSR plan was killed.

There is also work progressing on the possibility of a new intermodal/multimodal center in the downtown area - one that combines, local bus, intercity bus, and intercity rail.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 16, 2018, 12:04:41 PM
So did Virgin flat out buy FEC out of Brightline?  Or did they buy a piece of Brightline?  If they bought some of it, what did give in return for that ownership stake?  Cash?   Or something less risky like just the use of their brand and their marketing?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on December 16, 2018, 08:33:47 PM
So did Virgin flat out buy FEC out of Brightline?  Or did they buy a piece of Brightline?  If they bought some of it, what did give in return for that ownership stake?  Cash?   Or something less risky like just the use of their brand and their marketing?

They bought a minority stake and naming rights.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on December 16, 2018, 09:16:13 PM
Jax is also shown as a potential future link in Virgin Trains USA's recent IPO filing.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: KenFSU on March 01, 2019, 12:10:14 PM
Doesn't sound like Jacksonville is much of a priority for Brightline in the mid-term, unfortunately.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2019/02/28/jax-may-not-be-in-brightlines-future-but-heres.html?iana=hpmvp_jac_news_headline

Quote
There are no plans for Jacksonville, [Brightline VP] O'Malley said. The First Coast doesn't boast the ridership potential of Orlando or Tampa, but it does have quick access to destinations like St. Augustine and Daytona, meaning Jacksonville could eventually become a destination hub if Brightline were to partner with other rail carriers, like it does with Metromover, Metrorail and Tri Rail in Miami.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Tacachale on March 01, 2019, 01:16:15 PM
Doesn't sound like Jacksonville is much of a priority for Brightline in the mid-term, unfortunately.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2019/02/28/jax-may-not-be-in-brightlines-future-but-heres.html?iana=hpmvp_jac_news_headline

Quote
There are no plans for Jacksonville, [Brightline VP] O'Malley said. The First Coast doesn't boast the ridership potential of Orlando or Tampa, but it does have quick access to destinations like St. Augustine and Daytona, meaning Jacksonville could eventually become a destination hub if Brightline were to partner with other rail carriers, like it does with Metromover, Metrorail and Tri Rail in Miami.

Lame.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 01, 2019, 01:40:09 PM
Doesn't sound like Jacksonville is much of a priority for Brightline in the mid-term, unfortunately.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2019/02/28/jax-may-not-be-in-brightlines-future-but-heres.html?iana=hpmvp_jac_news_headline

Quote
There are no plans for Jacksonville, [Brightline VP] O'Malley said. The First Coast doesn't boast the ridership potential of Orlando or Tampa, but it does have quick access to destinations like St. Augustine and Daytona, meaning Jacksonville could eventually become a destination hub if Brightline were to partner with other rail carriers, like it does with Metromover, Metrorail and Tri Rail in Miami.

I wouldn't get too upset or down, unless you're of the opinion that they'd be doing something here in 2019.

Quote
Brightline is working hard to expand its high-speed passenger rail network, but don't hold your breath for a route to Jacksonville.

Speaking at the Jax Chamber Transportation & Logistics Council Thursday, Brightline Vice President of Government Affairs Bob O'Malley shared the next steps the railroad is taking in 2019.

Quote
Next up for Brightline: Orlando. The city is a major fixture of Brightline's business plan, and the railroad sees a large market opportunity in the 70 million tourists that visit Orlando every year.

Quote
After Orlando, Brightline plans to extend its network to Tampa, though plans for that line are more tentative than for Orlando....
..Service to Orlando would then start in 2022.

Quote
There are no plans for Jacksonville, O'Malley said. The First Coast doesn't boast the ridership potential of Orlando or Tampa, but it does have quick access to destinations like St. Augustine and Daytona, meaning Jacksonville could eventually become a destination hub if Brightline were to partner with other rail carriers.....

Quote
But Brightline does have easement rights on Florida East Coast Railway's line from Miami to Jacksonville, which makes a future route more feasible.

Quote
"The focus right now is on Orlando," said O'Malley. "I'm sure at some point in the future we'll sit down with JTA and the city and just have the conversation."

2022 is three years away. That's not a lot of time in the infrastructure planning and development world. For comparison's sake, it will take longer than that to to get Lot J opened. It will take longer than that to get the Prime Osborn out of the old station. They also already have the easement rights into Jax.

From a transportation planning perspective, this should tell Jax that it needs to be working on getting its house in order and coordinating the routing of local transit options and supportive land uses around potential station sites. We have a LRTP process that is about to get underway. That's a plan that determines where the next 20 years of multimodal transportation projects should be built and when. Connecting to the Brightline corridor and including local station sites are things that should become a part of this, making it easier to secure funding from a variety of sources. Unfortunately, we're more likely to read this and put our heads in the sand, thus being caught with our pants down when the opportunity materializes.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: itsfantastic1 on March 01, 2019, 02:08:47 PM
What I found interesting about the article was that he states Jacksonville can be a hub for the northeast Florida when partnering with other rail services.

That seems to indicate that AAF/Brightline/Virgin wants to bypass Daytona and St. Augustine stations for speed purposes, but rely on a rail transfer in Jacksonville to still feed into those destinations (hint; JTA's south commuter line). Also; not sure how that would work since both would utilize the same rails line (FEC).

Of course, there is also the potentinal to use Jacksonville as the jump to Atlanta too.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 01, 2019, 02:15:07 PM
Basically, it's what they're doing with Tri-Rail in South Florida. Tri-Rail is going to use their infrastructure to provide commuter rail service to stops in between their three South Florida stops. A local application would be JTA running commuter rail between Jax and St. Augustine and having some stops in between. A intercity example would be extending Amtrak from Jax to Miami via the FEC but Amtrak stopping at cities like St. Augustine, Palm Coast and Daytona while Brightline only stops at Jax. From what I'm understanding with Sunrail, a potential partnership could involve Sunrail being able to use their infrastructure to finally get access into Orlando International Airport.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 06, 2019, 09:56:08 AM
FEC will not let Amtrak run on their tracks. Take that to the bank! There is no money in running amtrack, it just gets in the way of freight and they are already upset with BL for how much they are getting in the way.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 06, 2019, 10:14:20 AM
Why are they letting Tri-Rail run on their tracks in Miami?  Seems like a lot more traffic than intercity rail.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Tacachale on March 06, 2019, 10:21:45 AM
Why are they letting Tri-Rail run on their tracks in Miami?  Seems like a lot more traffic than intercity rail.

Lol, yep.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Ocklawaha on March 07, 2019, 07:55:01 PM
Florida East Coast, Brightline-Virgin, Tri-Rail, all sharing track? Complaints? REALLY?

Certainly there will be a few operating bugs to work out but the future hold nothing but high green signals for this combination. While I don't expect Amtrak (if it even survives as is) to jump on the Daytona, Cocoa, Melbourne, Miami market, it's totally possible. Jacksonville not in the plan? Don't kid yourselves. Here's how I would sort this out:

Tri-Rail/Sunrail are Commuter Lines, nothing more. There is some likelihood that Sunrail might expand toward Tampa and St. Pete, as well as north to Jacksonville. NOTHING OFFICIAL, Just the old railroader looking at the rather obvious sprawl along that whole crescent, density + traffic + severe and growing congestion will demand it. Getting Tri-Rail, into Miami Central along the Virgin-FEC route is simply brilliant. Bring in several million locals annually into downtown and release them next to the hottest ride available to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm, Fort Pierce, Cocoa-Rockledge, Orlando, Lakeland, Tampa... So Tri-Rail, and Sunrail will feed the Intercity Trains of Virgin.

Virgin-All Aboard Florida Jacksonville Segment LLC-Flagler are, read my lips: DEVELOPERS!  They are the first private investors to seek the profit that municipalities around the globe have gained with TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT. in the past a developer such as the Ortega Company would build a Streetcar Line out to the newest community, the crowds followed and they sold homes and lots like hotcakes. Everywhere RAIL goes development follows. From Tampa's Streetcar to Kenosha to Kansas City to... New development swells tax revenues making all but the dumbest city quite a profit on its investment.

The new Florida development seeks to build that same rail line, but then develop the 'Town Centers' around it. They see it working like Publix... You wouldn't go to Publix if they didn't have shopping carts, so the carts are a value added to your experience. Likewise they are betting you won't want to live in Ponte Vedra if they can turn the old Union Terminal (Prime Osborn) into a gateway to a high rent village.

For these reasons Jacksonville doesn't have the mojo of a Miami, Tampa or Orlando, but change is coming. Pushing 2 Million in our Metro Area and being exactly the mid-way point between Miami and Atlanta bodes well for us in the future.

Complaints? Railroad's are in this for money, Amtrak, your track or my track they don't care, lets make a business deal... You do know that NORFOLK SOUTHERN (which ends in Jacksonville) owns trains that cross the river daily racing for it's intermodal center in Titusville, Florida... ON THE FLORIDA EAST COAST!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 09, 2019, 11:20:34 AM
Why are they letting Tri-Rail run on their tracks in Miami?  Seems like a lot more traffic than intercity rail.

Lol, yep.

First of all you’re mistaken TriRail does not run on FEC or Brightline track. TriRail will connect to the Brightline station but run on their own tracks. So no one is clogging up FEC tracks except Brightline with their station which is on the Portlead track that runs separate from the Hialeah yard. The only freight that runs on the portlead is the stuff that comes out of the port of Miami.
Second from West Palm to Jax the majority of the track is single. Unlike south of West Palm which is now double track the whole way. If Amtrak ran from Jax to Miami it would clog up the single track preventing freight from moving freely. I know to the common person it seems like a small burden but it’s not. Dispatchers have to move freight up and down the track all day and night plus you have local trains working industries in different cities. Certain trains are more important than others so they can’t stop, they have to keep moving to meet customer demands. If Amtrak smokes someone at a crossing and is held there clogging up the only track then freight stops, not only does it stop it backs up. Then you have a 2 mile train that needs to get through but can’t proceed because he is too long to sit on the siding that is ahead so he is held 50 miles before the accident. Then here comes another mile and a half train but he has to sit 50 miles the other direction. You see the problem?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 09, 2019, 08:11:35 PM
Tri-Rail's Coastal Link on the FEC corridor is scheduled to start later this year: https://www.miamitodaynews.com/2018/08/07/tri-rail-targets-third-quarter-2019-runs-downtown-miami/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Tacachale on March 09, 2019, 08:41:23 PM
Tri-Rail's Coastal Link on the FEC corridor is scheduled to start later this year: https://www.miamitodaynews.com/2018/08/07/tri-rail-targets-third-quarter-2019-runs-downtown-miami/

Womp womp
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2019, 09:49:26 AM
Tri-Rail's Coastal Link on the FEC corridor is scheduled to start later this year: https://www.miamitodaynews.com/2018/08/07/tri-rail-targets-third-quarter-2019-runs-downtown-miami/

Womp womp

I hope this Womp womp wasn’t for a I proved you wrong cause it clearly says in the article “Downtown Miami Link, funding 26 trains and nine miles of new rail infrastructure. The 450-person capacity of each train will provide a one-seat ride to and from downtown Miami.
Construction of the Tri-Rail portion is to be finished by September, according to South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Jack Stephens.”  9 miles of new track is TriRail track not FEC track. The 9 miles will go into the Brightline station on its own separate track that they control/own/are responsible for. I mean hell the title of the article says it too, “link” is your key flash word. It will link with the Brightline station. NO TriRail train are running on FEC tracks period! If you think that they are then you’re just ignorant to the facts. TriRail will pull into the station on its own tracks.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2019, 09:54:02 AM
Ok, you're getting into semantics now. One would assume if you added passenger rail to the corridor, that would include upgrading the infrastructure for the needed capacity....just like what was done with SunRail and Tri-Rail and typically any other new rail service.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2019, 10:23:53 AM
Why are they letting Tri-Rail run on their tracks in Miami?  Seems like a lot more traffic than intercity rail.

I don’t know if it’s semantics if I’m just pointing out that what you wrote was factually incorrect. See the quote above. Now if you want to assume that FEC went double track the whole corridor (which will hopefully be completed up to cocoa when the BL project is finished) yes you would need something like another party to come in and upgrade the track. Now if Amtrak said here’s $500 million of federal money to make your track double then yes maybe one day Amtrak would run on the FEC corridor. As for right now Grupo (FEC owners) have no reason to spend the money to upgrade that. I’m more interested and hopeful they buy the CSX track for sale that runs to Pensacola. That’s what gets me excited.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2019, 10:58:20 AM
Yes I assumed we're smart enough here to know that there would be capacity upgrades to track on FEC's ROW to accommodate the extra traffic. We've been having these types of discussions where since the forum went live in 2005. Every past FEC passenger rail related project proposed included track capacity improvements on FEC property.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 10, 2019, 12:17:20 PM

What's the over / under in Vegas on Brightline Virgin Trains USA going belly up by the end of 2019?  2020?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2019, 12:29:09 PM
If they don’t get the $900 million they want then I bet they liquidate
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2019, 12:31:59 PM
Regarding Grupo, why would they want CSX's line through the Panhandle? Why does CSX want to get rid of it? Is it profitable? Are there any big industrial customers on that stretch?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2019, 05:08:39 PM
Well it would give them a strangle hold on the state. They already have all the ports on the east coast. CSX has access to Miami but it’s very limited. There’s nothing too big out there, but it gets them a lot closer to the border. Also they own a rail ferry that goes between Mexico and Mobile. It would get them very close to that. CSX has had it for sale for a while but the want too much money for it. It’s in horrible shape and there are major problem that need to be addressed in order to raise the track speed. They almost had a buyer but they backed out last min. Word is they found out how bad the condition of the track was and how much money they would have had to spend.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on March 10, 2019, 10:47:15 PM
Well it would give them a strangle hold on the state. They already have all the ports on the east coast. CSX has access to Miami but it’s very limited. There’s nothing too big out there, but it gets them a lot closer to the border. Also they own a rail ferry that goes between Mexico and Mobile. It would get them very close to that. CSX has had it for sale for a while but the want too much money for it. It’s in horrible shape and there are major problem that need to be addressed in order to raise the track speed. They almost had a buyer but they backed out last min. Word is they found out how bad the condition of the track was and how much money they would have had to spend.

All of the ports on the east cost? 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2019, 10:56:41 PM
^basically West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Not Jax or the much larger east coast ports north of Jax.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on March 11, 2019, 06:48:07 AM
^basically West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Not Jax or the much larger east coast ports north of Jax.


I know, at least in Florida he missed out on Canaveral (no rail access for anyone obviously), Jax, and much smaller Fernandina.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 11, 2019, 07:07:02 AM
Also CSX does have sole access to Florida's largest port in Tampa. Doesn't seem like they're interested in selling the line into Tampa and Bone Valley.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 11, 2019, 12:30:50 PM
^basically West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Not Jax or the much larger east coast ports north of Jax.


I know, at least in Florida he missed out on Canaveral (no rail access for anyone obviously), Jax, and much smaller Fernandina.

   Actually fun fact NASA had its own little railroad at one time. They still move stuff from time to time but it links up with FEC. FEC installed it for them and it goes all the way out on the cape. FEC used to maintain it at one time but it’s rarely used anymore so idk what they do with it now. It’s definitely still there though. No industries really go into that port so it would be kinda stupid to invest in a yard there.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 12, 2019, 10:23:37 AM
https://www.thenextmiami.com/photos-of-downtown-miamis-new-tri-rail-station-where-starbucks-is-now-under-construction/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 12, 2019, 10:54:32 AM
That train station is looking pretty good. I'll have to check it out when I'm back down there in a few weeks.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Todd_Parker on March 12, 2019, 11:26:19 AM
No need to feel envious, Jacksonvillians. Soon, JTA's driver-less porta potties/homeless hostels-on-wheels will put Tri-rail to shame!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on May 29, 2019, 06:43:38 PM
For anyone interested in the latest from Brightline/Virgin Trains....

https://www.worth.com/city-2019-miami/


https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/richard-branson-brightline-havana-special-rum-train-miami/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on May 29, 2019, 08:25:39 PM
Rum train, and Whisky train. Great ideas, using the train as an experience rather than just as a way to get from A to B.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on May 31, 2019, 11:54:24 AM
Rum train, and Whisky train. Great ideas, using the train as an experience rather than just as a way to get from A to B.

  They have already been doing this with Wine tasting trains and there Polar express during the holidays.  Great idea but you're not amazon, you need to show a profit soon or they're going to be in trouble
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on June 18, 2019, 05:21:51 PM
Virgin Trains Update:

Speed Thrills

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article231639063.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 19, 2019, 01:07:11 PM
Good news is good. Wake me up when they start going north of that. I'm heading to UF in the fall, I'd have loved a way to get from Gainesville to Orlando, without spending two hours in a car, or to come home without needing to worry about the speed traps in Waldo.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: blizz01 on June 19, 2019, 06:14:25 PM
Oh, they'd still figure out a way to stop the train in Waldo....and issue citations to all on board.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on June 19, 2019, 09:19:18 PM
or to come home without needing to worry about the speed traps in Waldo.

Good news - those have been eliminated
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 20, 2019, 03:13:40 PM
Oh, they'd still figure out a way to stop the train in Waldo....and issue citations to all on board.

125 MPH in a 35? That's one hell of a ticket.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on June 22, 2019, 06:39:05 PM
Expansion underway.......

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/all-aboard-florida/2019/06/21/virgin-trains-ready-expansion-orlando/1511244001/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on June 22, 2019, 09:25:04 PM
Those people on the Treasure Coast have way too much time on their hands.  I wonder how much money they've wasted fighting this for years now.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 23, 2019, 11:08:57 PM
Quote
“The train is an abomination,” County Commission Chairman Bob Solari said. “There’s no chance in the long run it’s going to be a financial success. Their record already shows it.”

Oh, for Pete's sake.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on June 24, 2019, 07:34:32 PM
More news/info:

https:/vimeo.com/344071536/058ddd1689

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/06/24/virgin-trains-usa-chairman-private-florida-rail-has-seen-increased-ridership-every-quarter.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on June 25, 2019, 02:07:23 PM
Indian River County has to be the most backwards county in the whole state.  They have a long history of stupid decisions.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kiva on June 25, 2019, 06:18:47 PM
Indian River County has to be the most backwards county in the whole state.  They have a long history of stupid decisions.
What, worse than Duval? You are turning into a booster for Jax!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 26, 2019, 03:41:03 PM
Those people on the Treasure Coast have way too much time on their hands.  I wonder how much money they've wasted fighting this for years now.

Considering the number of people that have died in Brightline / Virgin Trains USA accidents during it's short lifespan, it's hardly been a waste.  Speed kills.   A valid argument can be made that Brightline has not sufficiently invested in safety measures.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 26, 2019, 04:48:08 PM
Trespassing kills more than speed. The best safety measure is to stay off the tracks.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on June 26, 2019, 04:54:13 PM
None of those people that have been hit by the train were in high speed zones.  Trains travel the same speed through parts of Jax every day as they do on Brightline at this time.

Call me heartless but I'm not overly concerned about people getting killed by running around crossing gates or randomly trespassing onto FEC property and walking across the tracks without looking.  That's Darwin for you.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on June 26, 2019, 05:03:28 PM
ACME54321  How true. Darwin....  LOL 8)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on June 27, 2019, 09:26:37 PM
You’re just hearing more about the trespassers being struck because it’s a quick headline. Believe me when I say the trains in south Florida have been smoking people long before Brightline was even thought of. Only time a camera crew would come out is if was a major intersection and people wanted to know about traffic.  The conductor and engineer is who you should feel sympathy for. It’s the conductors job to go back and verify the body. It’s tough.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 29, 2019, 12:20:51 PM
The best safety measure is to stay off the tracks.

hey kids, just don't have sex.

see there,. problem solved.  no worries.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 29, 2019, 01:06:12 PM
So what exactly do you want the railroad to do?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on June 29, 2019, 09:17:36 PM
The best safety measure is to stay off the tracks.

hey kids, just don't have sex.

see there,. problem solved.  no worries.

Surely you jest. Ahh, because it is now called Virgin Trains...I get it.

So what exactly do you want the railroad to do?

Mandatory railroad education in middle school!! This would actually be pretty awesome.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 30, 2019, 06:15:34 PM
^Mandatory railroad education in middle school? I love it!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 03, 2019, 08:18:03 AM
More news:

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/kickstarting-red-spike-era-virgin-trains-usa

I'm going down to Miami this weekend to see the Miami station. Maybe meet Max for coffee?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 03, 2019, 08:38:58 AM
More news:

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/kickstarting-red-spike-era-virgin-trains-usa

I'm going down to Miami this weekend to see the Miami station. Maybe meet Max for coffee?

The station is very nice, I haven’t seen the Virgin changes yet and I’m sure it will have a totally different feel when they open up the apartments above the station.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Peter Griffin on July 03, 2019, 08:49:01 AM
^Mandatory railroad education in middle school? I love it!
Wouldn't this class just take one lesson? Like one safety seminar?

"Hey kids, trains cannot stop like cars. It can take miles for a train to make an emergency stop. Stay off the tracks and do not cross when crossing signals are flashing, you will die a gruesome death."
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 03, 2019, 09:59:11 AM
More news:

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/kickstarting-red-spike-era-virgin-trains-usa

I'm going down to Miami this weekend to see the Miami station. Maybe meet Max for coffee?

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Miami/Miami-March-2019/i-Stpb7PZ/0/6aac2187/L/20190328_182723-L.jpg)

You'll like it. It's very impressive. The Central Fare food hall recently opened inside of it.

https://www.thenextmiami.com/first-look-inside-massive-food-hall-now-open-at-virgin-trains-miamicentral/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 06, 2019, 09:30:39 AM
Indeed Lake, it's the nicest train station in Florida by far as far as I can tell. The food options were plentiful. The station is so clean, customer service is tops. For people who regularly commute between WPB and Miami it's a no brainer, I was shocked at how bad the traffic was on
I 95 North bound in Dade county at 11 am....... 

They are trying to work out a stop in Boca Raton as well.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on July 08, 2019, 08:52:04 AM
More news:

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/kickstarting-red-spike-era-virgin-trains-usa

I'm going down to Miami this weekend to see the Miami station. Maybe meet Max for coffee?

Sorry MM I was/am in Asia til end of August. Glad you liked it! I've been to the station a few times but not since the food hall opened.

^Mandatory railroad education in middle school? I love it!
Wouldn't this class just take one lesson? Like one safety seminar?

"Hey kids, trains cannot stop like cars. It can take miles for a train to make an emergency stop. Stay off the tracks and do not cross when crossing signals are flashing, you will die a gruesome death."

I was thinking comprehensive railroad education. TOD, passenger miles, systems around the world, etc. Not just abstinence-only.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Traveller on July 08, 2019, 10:59:36 AM
They are trying to work out a stop in Boca Raton as well.

I live down here in Palm Beach County now & hadn't heard about that one.  The potential Boca station I've read about recently would be a new Tri-Rail station on the CSX tracks, off Military Trail just south of Glades Road.  But that whole Midtown Boca area is in the middle of a big fight between the city and a large developer trying to bring residential to an exclusively commercial district.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on July 09, 2019, 10:23:26 AM
They are trying to work out a stop in Boca Raton as well.

I live down here in Palm Beach County now & hadn't heard about that one.  The potential Boca station I've read about recently would be a new Tri-Rail station on the CSX tracks, off Military Trail just south of Glades Road.  But that whole Midtown Boca area is in the middle of a big fight between the city and a large developer trying to bring residential to an exclusively commercial district.

You’re absolutely right. There is zero plans for Brightline to put a station in Boca. Maybe the TriRail but def not on the FEC side. That being said there is plenty of room for one but it’s not in the greatest area of Boca. Just north of Yamato rd FEC owns a lot of right of way.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 17, 2019, 10:14:11 PM
More news for Brightline/Virgin Trains ...

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2019/07/17/richard-bransons-virgin-trains-usa-lists-pacific.html?iana=hpmvp_sea_news_headline
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 20, 2019, 08:55:47 AM
"There is zero plans for Brightline to put a station in Boca."

Not according to the actual people at Brightline/Virgin Trains.......

https:/www.bocamag.com/brightline-lays-out-proposal-for-boca-raton-station/


https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-op-com-brightline-virgin-train-station-boca-20190719-2kjxhcnl6zfmhdsa73tvp5fd2a-story.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on July 20, 2019, 03:08:48 PM
So what exactly do you want the railroad to do?

Stop killing built by being more safe.   Speed kills.     Reduce the number of grade crossings and less people will get hurt.  This isn't rocket science.  It's a formula long practiced by railroads and proven to work.

But it doesn't even have to involve eliminating grade crossings.  For example, where a man was killed in Boyton Beach the crossing did have pedestrian gates.  Yes, that is true.  But a lot more can easily be done.   Having gates that covered  the road would've prevented the accident.   They have no plans in place to do this depite this being a high pedestrian traffic location.  THis will happen again.

They should also install the same sort of fencing we expect freeways to have.  They don't and then complain when they have trespassers.   

It's ridiculous to suggest that they can take an launch 100s of TONS of steel at 80MPH right up the middle of a city and not even have to be bothered to put up a fence on their property.  While the trespassers are legally in the wrong, that doesn't mean there are not reasonable things the railroad should do to reduce these problems.   

 If they're going to operate at freeway speeds they should be built to freeway standards. 

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 20, 2019, 03:34:09 PM
What was the maximum speed limit along the corridor prior to Brightline/Virgin and the 20th century cities being built around a 19th century line? I also wonder what is the responsibility of the communities that built up around a railroad corridor that predates them? At this point, I'm not sold the railroad should pay the costs of someone else's mistakes and poor land use decisions.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on July 20, 2019, 03:41:49 PM

Your disregard for the importance of built environment in people's behaviors is disturbing.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 20, 2019, 07:50:09 PM
That's fine. I'll still sleep like a baby tonight but yea, I do believe some of the things you think the railroad should fund for dummy proofing, should be funded by the public entity that has created said built environment through poor planning, zoning and accessibility.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on July 20, 2019, 08:12:05 PM
Darwin. Survival of the fittest. If you're killed at a RR Xrossing it's not the RR fault. Even smart dogs are alert to a train coming by....

Just gonna say suicide by stepping in front of a train is an actual thing.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 20, 2019, 08:51:48 PM
^Yes, put up all the barriers and gates you want but none of it will keep someone out who wants to get around them.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Charles Hunter on July 20, 2019, 11:22:36 PM
^ Exhibit "A" - there is a 6' chain link fence down the median of the Arlington Expressway.  People cross it all the time, sometimes leading to pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on July 22, 2019, 03:11:50 AM
They are trying to work out a stop in Boca Raton as well.

I live down here in Palm Beach County now & hadn't heard about that one.  The potential Boca station I've read about recently would be a new Tri-Rail station on the CSX tracks, off Military Trail just south of Glades Road.  But that whole Midtown Boca area is in the middle of a big fight between the city and a large developer trying to bring residential to an exclusively commercial district.

You’re absolutely right. There is zero plans for Brightline to put a station in Boca. Maybe the TriRail but def not on the FEC side. That being said there is plenty of room for one but it’s not in the greatest area of Boca. Just north of Yamato rd FEC owns a lot of right of way.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article232903082.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on July 23, 2019, 04:17:46 PM
I'm not holding my breath for stops in Aventura, Boca Raton, and Port Miami by 2020
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on July 28, 2019, 02:02:01 PM
^Yes, put up all the barriers and gates you want but none of it will keep someone out who wants to get around them.

You can lock you're door.  But if someone really wants in your house, they'll just break the glass reach in and unlock it.  That isn't a reason to not lock your door.

I am glad to hear you admit that there's some use to built environment.    If it's part of the picture, just be forth coming speak it and help us narrow down the part you have an issue with.

The issue with Brightline is they're operating at freeway speeds in a residential environment.  Any they're doing bupkiss to address the risks they're creating.  This isn't any different than the owner of a pool fencing in their pool.      There's a huge body of legal theory behind all this stuff.   

Running these high speed trains makes the bad situations worse.   And you're right, it's not _ONLY_ FEC and Virgin Trains USA's doing.   To my knowledge USDOT, FLDOT, city and county officials do not take into account the affect of closing crossings on non-auto traffic.   Heck, they don't even explicitly track how many pedestrian accidents occur at these closed crossings.  They are part of the issue, too.

Case in point, this spring a 74 year man was killed after being hit by a Virgin Trains USA engine.  Why?  He was tresspassing, carrying his bicycle across the tracks at this closed crossing.

https://www.google.com/maps/@26.2108636,-80.1313044,3a,37.5y,279.37h,92.76t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJKXkngfCOM0wmZYv3tKAeQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

There isn't a place to legally cross the tracks for 2 1/2 miles.  SO this poor elderly man does what any logical person would do.  They take the risk of crossing the tracks to avoid the detour.    And why not, it's wide open.  THERE IS NOT EVEN A SINGLE NO TRESPASSING SIGN.

A couple hundred feet on both sides of the tracks at this closed crossing would eliminate the vast majority of tresspassing.  That's right, it's not a cure-all.  But security isn't something you do ONLY if it's 100% affective.  YOu do it to reduce risks. 

Simple improvements like this would have in all likelihood eliminated more than half of the Brightline's deaths.   We could reduce it even further with pedestrian bridges or, a concept that FRA / USDOT doesn't really have, pedestrian crossings.

A 74 year old man is dead because he took a short cut.  But we also lost a good, kind elderly man because FLDOT, Virgin Trains USA, FEC, Broward County and others have all taken short cuts too. 


https://www.local10.com/news/florida/broward/man-struck-killed-by-train-in-pompano-beach-identified
https://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/pompano-beach/fl-ne-pompano-brightline-fatality-20190412-story.html

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on July 28, 2019, 02:52:55 PM
I am glad to hear you admit that there's some use to built environment.    If it's part of the picture, just be forth coming speak it and help us narrow down the part you have an issue with.

The issue with Brightline is they're operating at freeway speeds in a residential environment.  Any they're doing bupkiss to address the risks they're creating.  This isn't any different than the owner of a pool fencing in their pool.      There's a huge body of legal theory behind all this stuff.

There's a big difference here. I'm not aware of the maximum speed limit being increased in South Florida. Also, what you have is a railroad being in place first, and then development being allowed to built around the corridor in modern times. So the part of your position I don't necessarily agree with is placing the burden on Brightline. Seems like local government should be funding many of the things you're concerned with....like extra grade separated crossings, etc. While the death is tragic, I don't believe you can blame Brightline for the accident. What is Pompano Beach doing to resolve the issues within its limits?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on August 15, 2019, 04:20:33 PM
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article233294042.html


https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190815/new-virgin-trains-usa-is-rebuilding-nearly-all-of-loxahatchee-river-bridge
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on August 15, 2019, 04:41:22 PM
Cool. Rebuilding that bridge will cost a pretty penny. They're also building a grade separated crossing for SR 404/Pineda Causeway near one of my study corridors in Brevard County. We're trying to get a better read on that one right now to see how it impacts the surrounding arterial road network.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on August 16, 2019, 10:11:25 PM
They're also completely replacing the 1600ft long bridge over the Sebastian River.  There are probably more too since these bridges are all similar construction.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on August 31, 2019, 01:26:32 PM
I am glad to hear you admit that there's some use to built environment.    If it's part of the picture, just be forth coming speak it and help us narrow down the part you have an issue with.

The issue with Brightline is they're operating at freeway speeds in a residential environment.  Any they're doing bupkiss to address the risks they're creating.  This isn't any different than the owner of a pool fencing in their pool.      There's a huge body of legal theory behind all this stuff.

There's a big difference here. I'm not aware of the maximum speed limit being increased in South Florida. Also, what you have is a railroad being in place first, and then development being allowed to built around the corridor in modern times. So the part of your position I don't necessarily agree with is placing the burden on Brightline. Seems like local government should be funding many of the things you're concerned with....like extra grade separated crossings, etc. While the death is tragic, I don't believe you can blame Brightline for the accident. What is Pompano Beach doing to resolve the issues within its limits?

The issue of closing crossings is not 100% the railroad's issue.  Nevertheless, it doesn't change the reality that it is _RECKLESS_ and _FOOLISH_ to operate at freeway speeds in a dense urban environment WITHOUT added safety measures.

In this case all the railroad would need to do is spend $1k, likely half that, to put up a simple fence for a 120'.  That's it.  Temptation to tresspass to cross all but gone.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 31, 2019, 02:29:02 PM
If people want to cross a fenced right-of-way, they will.  FDOT put a fence down the median of the Arlington Expressway many years ago - to cut down on car vs. pedestrian accidents.  They are still happening, as pedestrians continue to cross the road, either climbing or cutting the fence.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jcjohnpaint on August 31, 2019, 03:06:59 PM
Saw 2 kids running across the Arlington exp yesterday.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on September 10, 2019, 03:30:31 PM

Are you arguing that FDOT should be removing the fences from the Arlington Expressway?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Peter Griffin on September 10, 2019, 04:16:46 PM

Are you arguing that FDOT should be removing the fences from the Arlington Expressway?

obviously not, and you know that. they're saying that the fences are ineffective, but you already knew that. snarkyness is so hip these days!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on September 14, 2019, 10:40:29 AM
That's the thing.  It's not snark.  I am saying fences are EFFECTIVE.

I am asking if they're seriously claiming that an edge case, an outlier is proof of something being ineffective.  It's doltish but they may think so.  Heck, you PG may think so given you're desire to side with that sort of rhetoric.


You are claiming that because of an outlier, something should not be done at all.  If that's the case, go ahead, stop locking your door.  Someone with the will to get in will still get in.

If someone is hell bent on getting on the tracks, they will.  No one is denying that.

The issue isn't 100% ending but removing the 93% of the problem where it's quite simple.   A couple hundred feet of chain link at closed xing will prevent most people from tresspassing.  They'll just go to the next easiest spot.

Case in point, this spring a 74 year man was killed after being hit by a Virgin Trains USA engine.  Why?  He was tresspassing, carrying his bicycle across the tracks at this closed crossing.

https://www.google.com/maps/@26.2108636,-80.1313044,3a,37.5y,279.37h,92.76t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJKXkngfCOM0wmZYv3tKAeQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192


He's carrying a bicycle.  He would've just biked 5 - 10 minutes to the south and used the grade crossing.  He tresspassed because it's easier. 

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on September 14, 2019, 01:08:05 PM
Can we apply your logic to an assault weapons ban? If we didn't have 20 or 30 million assault weapons in circulation, wouldn't we ALL be safer?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on October 08, 2019, 10:10:12 AM
I'm glad you acknowledge it's silly to oppose something as simple and inexpensive as fencing to highly reduce accidents.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on October 10, 2019, 03:45:30 PM
Lets say the Railroad actually built a fence.  How long do you think before someone cuts a hole in it.  Then someone gets smoked and the railroad gets blamed for not keeping up with the fence.  Also the eyesore it will become for all those people who live in the fancy areas down south where the railroad runs through.  Putting up a fence will just create more problems
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on October 11, 2019, 08:31:41 AM
Lets say the Railroad actually built a fence.  How long do you think before someone cuts a hole in it.  Then someone gets smoked and the railroad gets blamed for not keeping up with the fence.  Also the eyesore it will become for all those people who live in the fancy areas down south where the railroad runs through.  Putting up a fence will just create more problems

No sense to argue, he's not going to change his mind.  The FEC won't get fenced.  Morons will continue to cross the train tracks and get hit by trains.  The world will keep turning.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on October 29, 2019, 02:31:41 PM
No sense to argue, he's not going to change his mind.

We have a fundamental disagreement about what the situation is.   My viewpoint is based upon experience and deal with those sort of issue directly over the years.    I get that y'll enjoy speculating on this stuff.  It's fun.  But have some humility and introspection about how little you understand about the issue at hand.


Lets say the Railroad actually built a fence.  How long do you think before someone cuts a hole in it. 

People lock their door.  They do it even though someone who really wants to get in can just break some glass and get in.

The point is to reduce the trespassing.   

Also the eyesore it will become for all those people who live in the fancy areas down south where the railroad runs through.

The previous examples I cited are not in "fancy areas".  Amazingly enough [note: sarcasm], high housing values do not normally correlate with abutting railroads.
 

  The FEC won't get fenced.

As long as the double standard remains,  they will not fence it.

Morons will continue to cross the train tracks and get hit by trains.

It's human nature to put into as little effort as possible.  We all take shortcuts, cut corners and rationalize our behavior.   We all have moments where we do the right thing.   At other times, we do the wrong thing.   


There are 2 core issues in play:

a) local and state DOTs have eliminated crossings without providing pedestrians and cyclists with replacement routes.   
b) Virgin Trains USA is not being held to safety standards that are required for others.




Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on October 29, 2019, 08:55:51 PM
I took a tour of the Orlando airport intermodal station today. It's pretty nice. It just needs trains. Right now, it's where the engineers working on Virgin happen to be using it for their office.

I had no idea there are 22,000 people employed on airport property. The airport's goal is to become an Aerotropolis.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Orlando/Orlando-International-Airport-ITF-October-2019/i-NBCWZs5/0/cf3b0614/X3/20191029_132543-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Orlando/Orlando-International-Airport-ITF-October-2019/i-Vr9dDn3/0/2940c322/X3/20191029_132705-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Orlando/Orlando-International-Airport-ITF-October-2019/i-tW8wfWk/0/ef12c37b/X3/20191029_132513-X3.jpg)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on October 31, 2019, 09:40:02 AM
^Impressive for sure

I was at a recent presentation from one of Brightline's VP's to the Regional Planning Council's in South Florida. They are exploring adding stations in Port of Miami (just announced yesterday officially), Aventura, Boca, and the Treasure Coast (widely considered to be Stuart and he confirmed they are evaluating sites there). Also, sounds like a Cocoa station is likely as well. The Cocoa station makes it more feasible to create a North Florida link. Hopefully Jax's leadership is lobbying heavily for it.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on October 31, 2019, 10:13:04 AM
What's happening in South Florida is a good example why you get the infrastructure installed and go from there. With the additional stations and TOD coming online along the FEC, what was originally envisioned to be high speed intercity rail is becoming more of a hybrid system now. The additional stops will lead to additional riders, development opportunity and help begin to establish more of a rail oriented culture in South Florida.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on October 31, 2019, 02:43:47 PM
What's happening in South Florida is a good example why you get the infrastructure installed and go from there. With the additional stations and TOD coming online along the FEC, what was originally envisioned to be high speed intercity rail is becoming more of a hybrid system now. The additional stops will lead to additional riders, development opportunity and help begin to establish more of a rail oriented culture in South Florida.

Won't it start to defeat the purpose of HSR if the train is stopping at so many cities so often that it never has the chance to actually reach high speeds?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on October 31, 2019, 02:47:23 PM
What's happening in South Florida is a good example why you get the infrastructure installed and go from there. With the additional stations and TOD coming online along the FEC, what was originally envisioned to be high speed intercity rail is becoming more of a hybrid system now. The additional stops will lead to additional riders, development opportunity and help begin to establish more of a rail oriented culture in South Florida.

Won't it start to defeat the purpose of HSR if the train is stopping at so many cities so often that it never has the chance to actually reach high speeds?
They will likely do a combination of express (high speed trains) and local trains with more stops. This is how rail systems in Western Europe and probably many other places operate.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on October 31, 2019, 03:26:39 PM
^This. Express and local trains. Sort of like Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor and Caltrain in the Bay Area.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on November 01, 2019, 11:32:35 AM
It's interesting how this is helping and hurting TriRail (helping with partnership/infrastructure, hurting by cannibalizing potential riders). I know that was a point of consideration in the approval for the Aventura extension. Anyway, Aventura may pave the way for a Trirail stop in Wynwood which would be pretty sweet.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on November 01, 2019, 12:02:18 PM
I really wonder if Tri-Rail on the FEC will really happen? Seems like for Virgin Train's own success, they'd be better off serving commuters on the corridor themselves.  They've already invested in the infrastructure, rolling stock and currently running right past these potential station sites anyway.....so the lion's share of the O&M cost is already spent. So the more riders and TOD they serve, it would seem the better for their bottom line.  Perhaps they should run them with Tri-Rail and the local government providing some sort of subsidy to reduce the fares for local commuting?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on November 02, 2019, 05:27:28 PM
I really wonder if Tri-Rail on the FEC will really happen? Seems like for Virgin Train's own success, they'd be better off serving commuters on the corridor themselves.  They've already invested in the infrastructure, rolling stock and currently running right past these potential station sites anyway.....so the lion's share of the O&M cost is already spent. So the more riders and TOD they serve, it would seem the better for their bottom line.  Perhaps they should run them with Tri-Rail and the local government providing some sort of subsidy to reduce the fares for local commuting?

This seems to make the most sense. But I don't think that's been considered yet. Incidentally the Metrorail northern extension was just approved, yet again, contingent on federal funding which is almost certainly not gonna happen, yet again.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on November 02, 2019, 05:50:44 PM
https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191030/brightline-plans-direct-portmiami-cruise-line-access-by-late-2020
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 03, 2019, 11:53:55 AM
What's happening in South Florida is a good example why you get the infrastructure installed and go from there. With the additional stations and TOD coming online along the FEC, what was originally envisioned to be high speed intercity rail is becoming more of a hybrid system now. The additional stops will lead to additional riders, development opportunity and help begin to establish more of a rail oriented culture in South Florida.

Won't it start to defeat the purpose of HSR if the train is stopping at so many cities so often that it never has the chance to actually reach high speeds?

Brightline, like most urban rail projects, has always been a property development play.   
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on December 03, 2019, 12:08:02 PM
Yes, just like roads, bridges, water/sewer lines and most infrastructure projects.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 08, 2019, 12:33:22 PM

oh hey look, Virgin Trains USA is saying that they're going to be putting in more fences to reduce the shameful nation leading number of deaths on their line.  Amazing how people in the industry understand the ins and outs of basic problems and know what needs to be to mitigate the risks.


https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/2019/12/02/richard-bransons-high-speed-brightline-train-death-rate-tops-us-railroads/2587666001/

Quote
The company also is erecting fences and plant barriers in problem areas, putting up four-way gates at major road crossings and talking with cities about eliminating side-street crossings.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on December 08, 2019, 02:56:45 PM
From the article:

Quote
None of the Brightline or Virgin Trains deaths was caused by crew error or faulty equipment, according to law enforcement and federal reports. The majority have been suicides, while most others involved impatient motorists, pedestrians or bicyclists who misjudged the trains’ speed and ignored bells, gates or other warnings.

Drugs, alcohol or both have been found in many victims’ systems.

If these people are intentionally jumping into tracks and intentionally ignoring all of the existing warnings, I'm really not sure how much these additional measures you're so excited about will help. The article even points this out:

Quote
Psychologist Lanny Berman, who studies train suicides, said it’s likely the velocity of Virgin trains, their bright color and newness that attracts the suicidal.

“It would be noticed that it has faster speeds and that it is more lethal,” said Berman, a former executive director of the American Association of Suicidology.

Even if suicides could be curtailed, it would do little to stop drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who dash across the tracks trying to beat the train. Virgin wants tougher state penalties for driving around gates, hoping that will give pause.

I think this saying pretty much lays it out:

Quote
If you design something to be idiot proof, the universe will design a better idiot.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on December 08, 2019, 07:36:12 PM
If someone is willing to risk their life by going atound a crossing gate how much more could the fines possibly be to curtail the practice

I could die?  I'll take my chances
Oh, it's a $10,000 fine?  Hmmm, maybe I'll wait.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Ken_FSU on December 09, 2019, 02:41:08 PM
Might be the least of their troubles, at least short-term.

Quote
Virgin Trains will massively underperform 2019 ridership, revenue goals

Virgin Trains will fall well below its 2019 projections for both ridership and revenue.

At the start of the year, Miami-based Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, set a ridership goal of 2.1 million, but a Colliers International South Florida report obtained by the Business Journal says the company is projected to have carried just 933,000 passengers by the end of the year.

That's just 45% of the goal it set in January.

Virgin was more off base when it came to revenue. The company predicted $78 million in revenue for the year, leading to a $14.8 million loss.

In reality, Collier's report shows Virgin is on track to earn approximately $20.4 million in 2019, or 26% of what it forecasted.

Representatives from Virgin Trains declined a request for comment.

Ken Krasnow, Colliers' vice chairman of institutional investor services in Florida and author of the report, told the Business Journal that the report shouldn't be cause for alarm.

“I think lot of people in this market tend to either overestimate or underestimate just how quickly people are going to leave their cars and change their habits," he said. “Overall, the entire evolution is going to take some time.”

The opening of Virgin Trains' Miami Central station in May was touted to be the spark the train line needed to move toward turning a profit. However, Collier's analysis of the company's financials found that ridership and revenue actually fell month-to-month following the station's opening.

Collier's analysis of financial statements also found Virgin Trains does not have enough liquidity to meet its obligations through March 2020. However, it was determined that the company will have access to necessary funds through its parent companies Fortress Investment Group and the Richard Branson-founded company Virgin Group.

Virgin Trains' balance sheet shows the company had $3 billion in net long-term debt by the end of June, 2019, up from $652 million at the end of 2018.

Virgin currently operates train stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

More stations have been approved for PortMiami and Aventura, and the Boca Raton City Council will make the decision on a land lease agreement for Virgin at a meeting scheduled Tuesday.

According to a September revenue and ridership report, Virgin Trains anticipates these three South Florida stations could contribute over 2 million incremental annual passengers once these stations stabilize.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2019/12/09/virgin-trains-will-massively-underperform-2019.html?iana=hpmvp_jac_news_headline
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on December 09, 2019, 03:51:23 PM
They'll need to get the Orlando segment running and add stations in South Florida to boost ridership. With that said, I doubt they'll ever make a profit on the fare box alone. Any numbers on revenue or losses generated from TOD and other ancillary services?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: JaxAvondale on December 09, 2019, 05:56:11 PM
Once they get Orlando running and add the airlines add them to their codeshare for frequent flier benefits, they will pick up some traction.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on December 10, 2019, 09:30:13 AM
They'll need to get the Orlando segment running and add stations in South Florida to boost ridership. With that said, I doubt they'll ever make a profit on the fare box alone. Any numbers on revenue or losses generated from TOD and other ancillary services?

I do know that the Brightline apartments in Downtown West Palm Beach are under performing. There is a ton of new apartment product in the Downtown WPB market and Brightline is not able to get the rents it anticipated. I would imagine their Miami apartments are having an even harder time. The condo market in Miami is a bit of a bubble right now. There has been a ton of product built during the boom and a lot of the owners are investors (institutional and personal). Many of them are renting out to young professionals at very favorable rates right now, so the apartment rental market is struggling to get competitive rents.

Virgin's ridership might also be hurting slightly from the national stories about Florida's red tide in 2018. Even though SE Florida only had minor issues with red tide for a couple days (like Jax), people around the country perceive that all of Florida is a no go zone. My wife's family has a hotel in New Smyrna Beach (Black Dolphin Inn-Cheap plug) and they've noticed a dip in bookings in the past year or so and attribute some of it to the red tide. They even still get calls asking if it's safe to swim at the beaches there. The state has done an atrocious job of publicizing that Florida beaches are clean and safe to visit, though part of the issue is that there is a silent war between Florida and New York and obviously New York controls the media. 

As others have said, Virgin won't really take off until other stations have opened. Boca and Aventura will be the first time it's been heavily used for commuting to work in one of the three downtown's, and I know that Virgin also has big plans for the cruise terminal station. Obviously Orlando will be a major piece of the puzzle.

I live twenty five minutes north of the WPB station and have only taken Virgin to Miami twice out of five trips to Miami in the past year or two. I absolutely love the experience, but many times its just as quick to make the drive and have more mobility once down there. It's great for people that are only going to Miami Beach though. You can ride down from WPB; take an Uber to your hotel, then walk, Citibike, or Uber everywhere. Highly recommended for those that haven't been to Miami Beach in recent years. With Miami Beach's new extended boardwalk for practically the length of the beach to South Point Park, the Citibike experience is much better than it is in NYC (and I love riding it in NYC). When the train extends further north (to Cocoa and Orlando), a lot more people in Florida are going to realize just how awesome Miami (and South Florida) is and I say this as a kid from Jax that grew up hating Miami.   


Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on December 11, 2019, 02:48:13 PM
I believe the Boca Raton station was approved yesterday.

https://cbs12.com/news/local/boca-raton-city-council-considers-brightline-train-station
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Kerry on December 11, 2019, 05:05:54 PM
When the issue comes up with Vero Beach City Commission regarding an Indian River County station I might drive down just to watch.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on December 11, 2019, 08:15:45 PM
I believe the Boca Raton station was approved yesterday.

https://cbs12.com/news/local/boca-raton-city-council-considers-brightline-train-station

yes - at least Boca Raton struck a good deal. Miami-Dade County has agreed to pay $76 million so a station can be built in Aventura - so much for "privately funded" rail.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Ken_FSU on December 18, 2019, 12:56:30 PM
https://www.jacksonville.com/zz/news/20191218/virgin-trains-in-talks-with-disney-for-passenger-station-connection-to-orlando-airport

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on December 18, 2019, 02:02:12 PM
They'll need to play with their fare structure but tying into Disney and SunRail at Meadow Woods Station will be a great way to boost overall ridership.

https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2019/11/22/exclusive-virgin-trains-considers-melbourne.html

Quote
Orlando Melbourne International Airport potentially may get a station for Virgin Trains USA's $4 billion Orlando-to-West Palm route that's now under construction.

The airport is in discussions with the Miami-based train line on the potential to build a station and parking lot there, Greg Donovan, executive director at Orlando Melbourne International Airport, told Orlando Business Journal.

Virgin Trains is talking with several parties on Florida's Space and Treasure coasts and has not confirmed any locations yet, said Virgin Trains President Patrick Goddard.

The Melbourne airport (which uses airport code MLB) has 36 acres "next to the tracks intended for the route,” Donovan said. “Plus, with our latest announcement about [U.K. vacation travel services company] TUI, we anticipate over 200,000 new European travelers coming into MLB and believe the proposed train service would be very popular. The land is ready and available, and would make for a perfect location for a central Brevard station.”

The lesson here is once the infrastructure is in, expansion opportunities will start popping up all along the route.

Quote
The study's highest scoring location in the study was an 88.5-acre site on the southwest corner of State Road 528 and North Cocoa Boulevard in Cocoa — known as the Clearlake Road site. That site scored high in a number of criteria compared to the Melbourne airport, which did not score as high as the preferred sites, Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Georganna Gillette told OBJ. "This location offers great potential to generate ridership and development opportunities for the company. It also provides ideal access to Port Canaveral, while positioning to serve possible Virgin Train expansion to Jacksonville."

Also, Jax continues to pop up with these other cities positioning themselves for TOD and access for stations of their own.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on December 19, 2019, 12:09:38 PM
They'll need to play with their fare structure but tying into Disney and SunRail at Meadow Woods Station will be a great way to boost overall ridership.

The plan is to charge about $10 for the Aventura-downtown ride in Miami - would seem like Meadow Woods might be $5 from OIA - I imagine around $15-$20 to Disney from OIA
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on December 19, 2019, 12:55:14 PM

Quote
The study's highest scoring location in the study was an 88.5-acre site on the southwest corner of State Road 528 and North Cocoa Boulevard in Cocoa — known as the Clearlake Road site. That site scored high in a number of criteria compared to the Melbourne airport, which did not score as high as the preferred sites, Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Georganna Gillette told OBJ. "This location offers great potential to generate ridership and development opportunities for the company. It also provides ideal access to Port Canaveral, while positioning to serve possible Virgin Train expansion to Jacksonville."

Also, Jax continues to pop up with these other cities positioning themselves for TOD and access for stations of their own.

Yeah, I posted the following on the last page after hearing Brightline/Virgin's VP speak about their expansion plans.  "Also, sounds like a Cocoa station is likely as well. The Cocoa station makes it more feasible to create a North Florida link. Hopefully Jax's leadership is lobbying heavily for it."

Not sure if it's in the article (behind paywall), but the Virgin VP said they already own land near the potential Cocoa station, so that is a big selling point, but the potential for St. Augustine/Jax/Daytona was definitely another factor. If Jax wants a piece of the pie, it should start doing some mobility planning to be able to sell Virgin on opportunities to connect riders to Amelia, St. Augustine, JIA, cruise terminal, PVB and the Beaches; and to things to do in proximity to Downtown.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on December 19, 2019, 01:07:17 PM
Quote
Hopefully Jax's leadership is lobbying heavily for it."

Unfortunately, I doubt it. We have leaders who actually believe AVs running down Bay Street will put Jax on the map and attract millennials to DT.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 23, 2019, 10:11:51 AM
Not sure if it's in the article (behind paywall), but the Virgin VP said they already own land near the potential Cocoa station, so that is a big selling point, but the potential for St. Augustine/Jax/Daytona was definitely another factor.

It's is _thee_ selling point.  A key part of their gamble is making big bucks off of real estate.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 23, 2019, 10:13:54 AM
I believe the Boca Raton station was approved yesterday.

https://cbs12.com/news/local/boca-raton-city-council-considers-brightline-train-station

yes - at least Boca Raton struck a good deal. Miami-Dade County has agreed to pay $76 million so a station can be built in Aventura - so much for "privately funded" rail.


hahaha.... that's been part of the scheme the whole time.   Virgin invoke "private" but they're more than happy to make use of the public purse for their own gain.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on December 23, 2019, 10:23:13 AM
^That's the way it works. The system can be privately owned and operated. However, that doesn't mean if a public entity wants in on the action that they won't then toss in some extra money for their benefit. Assuming the Boca Station is a success, it's extra tax revenue (the TOD) for the city and direct access to a privately operated passenger rail system already traveling through the city. That access means better livability for Boca's residents and potential new consumers for its downtown retailers and businesses. In a sense, is it really different from building a road to land a shopping mall, warehouse or manufacturer promising to create higher paying jobs? Jax should be doing the same right now with the Prime Osborn and Amtrak.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on December 23, 2019, 01:56:41 PM
Virgin Trains/Brightline and the upcoming Super Bowl will be a very interesting marketing extravaganza.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on December 23, 2019, 04:09:51 PM
^ Average hotel room price of $500/night in Miami will be also
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on December 23, 2019, 10:04:48 PM
Folks who go to  the Super Bowl are not sweating a $500 room.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on December 24, 2019, 08:35:25 PM
A lot of the people who go down for the Super Bowl will be staying at the new Hard Rock in Ft Lauderdale. It’s a little west of town but then again the stadium is as well. Both are not near the track.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on December 26, 2019, 12:01:17 PM
Folks who go to  the Super Bowl are not sweating a $500 room.

maybe not - but if you're planning to be in Miami for other reason that week (like say work), it might matter
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on December 28, 2019, 05:36:03 PM
There are supposedly 31,000 hotel rooms in Greater Ft Lauderdale, so adding Dade County and Palm Beach County they should be fine.

My kids rode the Polar Express Train event earlier today and loved it!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 29, 2019, 03:02:47 PM
^That's the way it works. The system can be privately owned and operated. However, that doesn't mean if a public entity wants in on the action that they won't then toss in some extra money for their benefit. Assuming the Boca Station is a success, it's extra tax revenue (the TOD) for the city and direct access to a privately operated passenger rail system already traveling through the city. That access means better livability for Boca's residents and potential new consumers for its downtown retailers and businesses. In a sense, is it really different from building a road to land a shopping mall, warehouse or manufacturer promising to create higher paying jobs? Jax should be doing the same right now with the Prime Osborn and Amtrak.

Oh it's just like those which is exactly the issue.   Most of the deals are bad investments and bad for the public. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on January 06, 2020, 06:01:10 PM
https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/news/21119987/fl-virgin-trains-expands-in-florida-will-it-ever-reach-jacksonville?fbclid=IwAR0nOdEfkHP9fKCYTlxgigjeMzyYOPO2GVkukbn5zAmFs-Fv3i7abXH1bqQ
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on January 06, 2020, 06:46:18 PM
Cool. I see some of it has been edited to the point where the transition from Virgin to the Lakeland Amtrak station
economic development example is missing. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 26, 2020, 01:53:41 PM

A lil' bit on Brightline

https://soundcloud.com/user-312824194/conversations-with-brian-solomon-episode-37
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 03, 2020, 11:46:43 AM

Anyone know what happens if Virgin doesn't meet the March 31st deadline with Florida DOT for the Tampa extension?   They've had a couple.


https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2020/01/23/heres-the-latest-on-virgin-trains-planned-disney.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on February 03, 2020, 12:19:18 PM
Who knows. Probably another extension. The last time I heard, the ridership forecast numbers weren't looking good for an expensive extension to Tampa. I would not be surprised if they phase it and focus on getting to Disney and SunRail first instead. Both likely promise just as many riders, if not more, than a through trip to Tampa.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on April 07, 2020, 12:16:58 PM
Brightline has laid off 250 of their 300 employees.  They will be shut down for a while.  Orlando is still the goal, but like i said before stations like Boca Raton will not happen anytime soon.  Its going to be a while before you see another brightline train running.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 07, 2020, 04:24:48 PM
Yes, the virus and South Florida being under a restrict stay at home order, means there's little reason to run a private train system for commuting right now. However, construction to Orlando still continues. I just got off a call today. A lot of transportation infrastructure projects are being advanced since people are off the road. As a result, my days are busier right now.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on April 07, 2020, 05:06:12 PM
Brightline has laid off 250 of their 300 employees.  They will be shut down for a while.  Orlando is still the goal, but like i said before stations like Boca Raton will not happen anytime soon.  Its going to be a while before you see another brightline train running.

Not surprised that the construction is going on right now.  I'm curious what this does to their plans. they had a lot of capital that still needed to be raised.   I'm curious how this is going to affect the capital markets.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on April 07, 2020, 05:14:24 PM

as one would expect - but companies have done crazier things - most of the debt they're taking on for construction is tied in with bonds.  And those bonds are set up so they don't start paying down principal until 2022.

https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/floridas-virgin-trains-suspends-passenger-service-due-to-coronavirus


The debt is part of three allocations of tax-exempt private activity bonds by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those were $600 million issued in 2017 and redeemed last year along with the separate issuance of $1.15 billion and the $950 million.

The $1.15 billion deal set aside funds for certain reserves, but a debt service reserve isn't expected to be funded until passenger rail service begins between Orlando and West Palm Beach in 2022, according to the official statement.

"We’ve pre-paid interest until 2022," Porritt said. "All work related to Orlando continues and we see no adverse impact on our timeline."
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan on April 07, 2020, 09:27:34 PM
My bro-in-law was laid off too. He was Director of Media Relations and Corporate Affairs.  It sucks for him, but he's saved plenty of money and will pick up something new I'm sure.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on April 21, 2020, 10:28:24 AM

Anyone know what happens if Branson goes belly-up?   How may that affect Virgin Trains USA?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 21, 2020, 10:33:33 AM
Probably the same thing that happens when someone builds a structure for a new business and it fails. A new business goes in. 4 Rivers Smokehouse, Metro Diner, most of our craft breweries, etc. are good examples of this. In the case of Virgin, if it fails, at worst we'll have high quality infrastructure connecting Disney to Downtown Miami. That makes it easier for a follow up entity to utilize it, considering they won't have the weight of intial construction costs on their hands.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on April 21, 2020, 10:56:09 AM

Anyone know what happens if Branson goes belly-up?   How may that affect Virgin Trains USA?

he's leveraging his private island as collateral for saving Virgin Airlines :)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on April 26, 2020, 08:58:31 AM

as one would expect - but companies have done crazier things - most of the debt they're taking on for construction is tied in with bonds.  And those bonds are set up so they don't start paying down principal until 2022.

https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/floridas-virgin-trains-suspends-passenger-service-due-to-coronavirus


The debt is part of three allocations of tax-exempt private activity bonds by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those were $600 million issued in 2017 and redeemed last year along with the separate issuance of $1.15 billion and the $950 million.

The $1.15 billion deal set aside funds for certain reserves, but a debt service reserve isn't expected to be funded until passenger rail service begins between Orlando and West Palm Beach in 2022, according to the official statement.

"We’ve pre-paid interest until 2022," Porritt said. "All work related to Orlando continues and we see no adverse impact on our timeline."

    Yes the reason the second phase isn’t stopping is because it’s already funded.  Like I said before they are STILL not finished with the first phase. Yes the train was running but they still have major issues that need to be worked out. The first phase has had all funding cut and everyone has been sent home. That being said when the second phase is completed they will still need to fix things on the first phase before everything is fully operational. 3 years before you see another train running.  Hopefully they don’t run out of money.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 26, 2020, 11:27:39 AM
If they do, then the state will have a state of the art rail network between Orlando and Miami that could be put to a good number of sustainable economic mobility uses.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on April 26, 2020, 11:55:30 AM
If they do, then the state will have a state of the art rail network between Orlando and Miami that could be put to a good number of sustainable economic mobility uses.
   
    If FEC let’s them, also it depends how much is left to do. State will not want to spend a lot of money to finish a project. We will see, we need the economy to pick back up and we need gas prices to get back to normal levels. Cheap gas means trucking the freight is cheaper.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 26, 2020, 12:16:14 PM
One thing I do know is no one is pulling up state of the art rail infrastructure. Especially in the district I work in. If the economy flatlines, expect public investment in all sorts of infrastructure and mobility projects as an attempt to put people to work. Regardless of for freight, passenger rail or both, it will be used.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on April 27, 2020, 08:47:39 AM
Who owns that line going from Cocoa to MCO?  Is all of it owned by FEC?  Afterall that's who Virgin has the lease with.  Or will Virgin own it? 

Or it it all on the central florida expressway authority land with Virgin just owning the rail + leasing the land?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 27, 2020, 09:36:05 AM
CFX and FDOT. The corridor is being built on leased public ROW. If Virgin flops, neither is going to pull up a new, state-of-the-art double tracked rail line connecting Orlando to the coast and Port Canaveral. That becomes a great public mobility asset.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on April 27, 2020, 03:21:07 PM
CFX and FDOT. The corridor is being built on leased public ROW. If Virgin flops, neither is going to pull up a new, state-of-the-art double tracked rail line connecting Orlando to the coast and Port Canaveral. That becomes a great public mobility asset.

   It has to get built first, lets not count our chickens yet. FEC (Grupo) really wanted to be able to run freight on this line but that wasn’t part of the deal. Brightline owns the track on the FEC corridor. The only way I see the state running things is if CSX ended up selling their line that runs parallel with FEC in south Florida. If that were to happen, then you would have work arounds to use either track. Rumor has always been that’s the plan but there is a lot of missing pieces to that puzzle.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 27, 2020, 03:52:53 PM
Like SunRail, FDOT already owns the former CSX line that Tri Rail runs on.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on April 27, 2020, 07:11:52 PM
Like SunRail, FDOT already owns the former CSX line that Tri Rail runs on.

  I’m not sure the state owns the tri rail line. I thought it was a long term lease, with a lot of stipulations.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 27, 2020, 09:52:17 PM
Unless they sold it back to CSX, FDOT purchased the line Tri-Rail runs on back in 1988:

https://www.stb.gov/decisions/readingroom.nsf/9855c1fb354da09b85257f1f000b5f79/e45d7e522a52302a85257d64004fab81?OpenDocument
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on April 28, 2020, 09:09:07 PM
Unless they sold it back to CSX, FDOT purchased the line Tri-Rail runs on back in 1988:

https://www.stb.gov/decisions/readingroom.nsf/9855c1fb354da09b85257f1f000b5f79/e45d7e522a52302a85257d64004fab81?OpenDocument
   
Maybe I’m thinking CSX has exclusive rights for freight.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 29, 2020, 12:00:15 AM
Yes, they have exclusive rights for freight.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on May 14, 2020, 11:29:07 AM
Thats for the info.

If Virgin flops, neither is going to pull up a new, state-of-the-art double tracked rail line connecting Orlando to the coast and Port Canaveral.

It may not be up to them depending on the type and terms of the lease. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on May 21, 2020, 08:36:17 AM

What do you do when you're low on cash and operating means burning through what little you have instead of growing it.  You hunker down and pray things will change for the better before that cash is gone.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/virgin-trains-usa-says-florida-185756831.html


(Bloomberg) -- Virgin Trains USA said Wednesday that it won’t restart its fledgling railroad service in Florida for months, even as the state begins reopening and mass transit reemerges from the coronavirus shutdown in other parts of the country.

The company, which is backed by private-equity firm Fortress Investment Group and billionaire Richard Branson, suspended its Miami-to-West Palm Beach service in March, shortly before Florida’s stay-home order.

“We do not anticipate resuming operating in the coming months,” the company said in a statement.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on May 21, 2020, 08:50:30 AM
Not surprising. At this point, just about every professional organization I'm associated with has switched to virtual conferences through November. Although our offices are eventually reopening, our staff in both of my job locations can continue to work remotely if they aren't comfortable being in the office. It will be months or years before we get back to where we were pre-pandemic. That will impact everything from downtown development, schools, sports and weddings to airport and rail operations and expansions. From Virgin Trains perspective, it would be foolish to start up a privately funded passenger rail service with no pool of commuters or tourist to draw from. If I were them, this is the perfect time to push forward with the Orlando link and additional South Florida stations. Reopen with something that actually connects people to where they want to go and when a market returns.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: fieldafm on May 21, 2020, 10:24:49 AM
Virgin has untapped credit lines, the ability to issue new debt and raise capital through more stock offerings. Frankly, they are better off than some airlines are right now.

They also see a massive amount of capital spending on the horizon as the federal and state government does what it does best.. try to build its way back to growth through large spending projects on infrastructure. They are uniquely primed to benefit from that influx of money in the coming years.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Lunican on May 21, 2020, 04:34:05 PM
In February I canceled a trip to NYC due to Covid-19 and instead went to Miami and spontaneously decided to take a trip on Brightline. Glad I got the chance  and I hope it comes back. It definitely felt like rail service in Europe vs the U.S.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-5FLFLTG/0/5158594b/X3/20200213_094118-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-gJXpDzn/0/67ffc245/X3/20200213_094236-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-bgNHStm/0/2ef633df/X3/20200213_110424_HDR-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-V5cNM3L/0/bac31fec/X3/20200213_110457-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-tqpn5Nd/0/1f6df6f2/X3/20200213_110508-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-dHxpK8k/0/d15941ad/X3/20200213_111640_HDR-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-NzRcf4j/0/974217ae/X3/20200213_111824-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-fQ87S55/0/eff9cec7/X3/20200213_144324-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-7Rsq6hg/0/f2175459/X3/20200213_144332-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-CKTDq9t/0/0650a89f/X3/20200213_155427_HDR-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Transportation/Brightline/i-K5DXKk4/0/bd88ecc9/X3/20200213_155530_HDR-X3.jpg)

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on May 21, 2020, 06:44:16 PM
I popped in the Miami station's food hall after taking Metrorail from the airport back in January. The Virgin Trains food hall was just opening. I feel sorry for those small businesses.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Miami/Miami-January-2020/i-JzxCk7s/0/9729255c/X3/20200112_172123-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Miami/Miami-January-2020/i-BX8WcKN/0/5d4fc92d/X3/20200114_153700-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Miami/Miami-January-2020/i-n9bPVgF/0/f5a4fe05/X3/20200114_153712-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Miami/Miami-January-2020/i-jmjDxhh/0/593beaee/X3/20200114_154225-X3.jpg)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on May 27, 2020, 05:25:27 PM
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article243015006.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on May 27, 2020, 08:34:13 PM
Interesting. So this would essentially replace the plan to run Tri Rail on the FEC corridor? How does the cost of this compare to what taxpayers would have paid to shift and operate Tri Rail on the corridor?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on May 27, 2020, 09:47:19 PM
http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/legistarfiles/Matters/Y2020/201056.pdf
This might answers so questions.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on May 27, 2020, 09:51:13 PM
^ I've been working on an economic mobility and access study of this corridor for the last two years. The interesting thing to note here is that TriRail paid Brightline to add capacity to Miami Central station.

Even if TriRail on the FEC never happens north of midtown, there's a crossover connection between the CSX and FEC around 73rd Street. TriRail's initial plans were to split the end point of their trains between the airport and downtown.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on May 28, 2020, 10:41:38 AM

I can't imagine that TriRail is going to let Virgin in on it's action without a fight and some sort of compensation.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Virgin get help for building it's additional 4 - 6 stations in MIA- WPB corridor that it's been talking about in exchange for TriRail being able to use them.

Not sure what that is worth if TriRail doesn't have funding in place for a third track on the corridor.  It's FEC's line; they're going to need to get their permission to actually operate on it. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on May 28, 2020, 11:53:14 AM
Since Virgin and FEC sleep in the same bed, it would be a waste for TriRail to fight to try and operate on the FEC in Miami at least. Plus TriRail is 100% government funded. If giving money to Virgin to run a better commuter rail service is lower than 100% subsidizing TriRail on the FEC, it would be better to have Virgin do it.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on May 28, 2020, 04:10:11 PM
TriRail running north of the diamond in Miami is not going to happen. Virgin is really talking about the port lead track, which is not mainline. Possibly a stop in a place like Historic Overtown which is in the process of being revitalize. There was rumor of the new soccer stadium going there. South of the diamond you have the Miami people mover which runs along the FEC corridor but is raised. I promise virgin isn’t interested in heading west along the FEC tracks too Hialeah.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on May 28, 2020, 07:13:36 PM

I can't imagine that TriRail is going to let Virgin in on it's action without a fight and some sort of compensation.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Virgin get help for building it's additional 4 - 6 stations in MIA- WPB corridor that it's been talking about in exchange for TriRail being able to use them.

Not sure what that is worth if TriRail doesn't have funding in place for a third track on the corridor.  It's FEC's line; they're going to need to get their permission to actually operate on it.

Virgin/Brightline and FEC share ownership of the corridor.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on May 29, 2020, 03:36:47 PM

I can't imagine that TriRail is going to let Virgin in on it's action without a fight and some sort of compensation.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Virgin get help for building it's additional 4 - 6 stations in MIA- WPB corridor that it's been talking about in exchange for TriRail being able to use them.

Not sure what that is worth if TriRail doesn't have funding in place for a third track on the corridor.  It's FEC's line; they're going to need to get their permission to actually operate on it.

No virgin/Brightline owns the land in some spots like the stations and part of the port. But the majority of the land is owned by FEC (now GrupoMexico) alone. The big unknowing factor in all of this, is Grupo is only interested in freight. They are not getting along with Brightline and go head to head on issues all the time. Brightline owns one of the tracks on the double main but that track is on FEC land. So it’s basically like a 99 year lease. You can upgrade the property all you want but if you go out of business it’s your responsibility to pickup you track and leave (which is not economical).

Virgin/Brightline and FEC share ownership of the corridor.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 03, 2020, 12:15:23 PM
Since Virgin and FEC sleep in the same bed, it would be a waste for TriRail to fight to try and operate on the FEC in Miami at least. Plus TriRail is 100% government funded. If giving money to Virgin to run a better commuter rail service is lower than 100% subsidizing TriRail on the FEC, it would be better to have Virgin do it.

It's good to have an optimistic take.  I'm way too jaded.   It's Miami; I have a hard time getting past the  good ol' boy network that's going to be in play.   

i wouldn't be surprised to see that network throw too much public $$$ at Virgin to build the stations while having TriRail be the operator for those.

Part of that too is that commuter rail isn't something you can operate for a profit; not w/out the govt throwing in big $$$$$$.   Just look at Rock Island's history.  They begged for decades to offload their money Chicago commuter rail operations. 

Just my take.  I appreciate the insights and opinions others are sharing too.  Good stuff.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 03, 2020, 12:26:20 PM
^I'd be interested to see how they identify where to place the extra stations. Seems like a potential TOD bonanza, while getting public money to sustain operations. In general, it's pretty brilliant to combine the two. It's what the railroad and streetcar barons used to do 100 years ago. Typically we just shell out public money on public transit and totally ignore the land use integration side of it (cough...Ultimate Urban Circulator).
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on June 04, 2020, 01:57:36 PM
^ here is the website for the land use & TOD studies. The draft reports should be out next month.

http://www.miamidadetpo.org/smartplan-northeast-corridor.asp
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on August 08, 2020, 12:07:44 PM

Virgin's been given the boot

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-07/brightline-to-drop-virgin-branding-end-branson-relationship

The company had entered into a branding deal with Virgin in advance of a planned initial public offering, which was scrapped indefinitely on pricing day in February 2019.

At the time, the companies touted synergies between the luxury, higher-speed trains and Virgin’s other travel brands, including Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., which was granted U.S. bankruptcy protection Friday. But in a filing Friday, the train company said it is cutting ties for unexplained reasons.

The company said its name will be Brightline Trains LLC and that Virgin had no remaining equity ownership or affiliation. It said it delivered a termination notice on July 29, which Virgin is disputing.

A Virgin spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on August 08, 2020, 01:16:33 PM
Uh… wow.

So does that mean they're dropping the IPO entirely?

And what about stuff like the PortMiami expansion?

They're going to have to change the name back on MiamiCentral, right? Removing all the red paint?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on August 08, 2020, 04:32:14 PM
I don't know about all that but I'm down in Melbourne for the weekend and they are going hot and heavy with the construction.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 09, 2020, 08:50:32 AM
http://biscaynetimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3573:commuter-trains-can-negotiations-stay-on-track&catid=50:community-news&Itemid=258
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on August 09, 2020, 10:44:03 AM
They're still moving full speed ahead with construction into Orlando.  I have a project in Brevard County that we've had to coordinate with and incorporate their plans.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative 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?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer 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://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 (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/ (https://thepointsguy.com/news/richard-branson-virgin-trains-usa-brightline-florida-california/)

Nice picture in Forbes:
(https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/5f1b2a1997e0bc03ab71bab9/960x0.jpg?fit=scale)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg 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
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson 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?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative 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.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson 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
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: fieldafm 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: MusicMan 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg 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.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on August 27, 2020, 11:24:18 AM
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article245262630.html

Wynwood business leaders are backing construction of a train station to serve commuters in the trendy enclave — part of Miami-Dade’s plan to expand local rail in its northeast corridor.

The Wynwood Business Improvement District said Wednesday it has agreed in principle to help build a station at Northeast 27th Street between North Miami Avenue and Northeast 2nd Avenue. Estimated cost: $2 million. The station would also serve Midtown and Edgewater residents.

In a statement, Wynwood BID Chairman Albert Garcia said commuter rail is essential to alleviating road congestion and improving walkability in the fast-growing neighborhoods.

Existing property owners at the proposed site also said they were eager to support the station project in conjunction with private rail company Brightline, formerly known as Virgin Trains.

“It’s clear that a Wynwood/Midtown/Edgewater station would provide the greatest benefit to the most people,” said Bill Rammos, who owns part of the proposed 27th Street station frontage along the FEC/Brightline railway corridor. “My family is committed to facilitating accessible and affordable transit options to and from our community.”

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on August 27, 2020, 02:37:46 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.

Abusiness traveller is just going to hope a plane for 40 minutes and get it done.  Tourist... eh, water cruise, land cruise.... we're just in it for the fun.  Time isn't as important.

Not surprised that the ultra short haul stuff isn't there to make money.  Good to have that clarified.  Gracias.

As for success, we'll know it soon enough.  If they're not making a profit, it won't be successful.    Those loans and bonds gotta be paid.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 10, 2021, 11:22:03 AM
Some updates on the Brightline expansion.

https://www.thenextmiami.com/brightline-says-miami-to-orlando-rail-line-construction-is-now-50-complete-on-schedule/

Quote
Brightline’s construction project to build a rail line between Miami and Orlando is now about halfway complete.

Here’s an exact timeline of when the company expects service to begin or resume:

Miami to West Palm Beach – Third quarter of 2021
Aventura – Third quarter of 2021
PortMiami – First quarter of 2022
Boca Raton – First quarter of 2022
Extension to Orlando – Fourth Quarter of 2022
Station at Disney Springs – Fourth Quarter of 2023

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2021/01/08-new-brightline-details-included-in-$950-million-bond-sale/ (https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2021/01/08-new-brightline-details-included-in-$950-million-bond-sale)

Quote
That said, the memorandum reveals a number of details about Brightline’s operations and plans not previously disclosed. Among them:

— The original five Siemens 4-car trainsets with Charger locomotives at each end cost $264 million.

— Five additional, similarly-configured trainsets, plus an additional locomotive, are being acquired for $162 million. Brightline expects delivery of the first new trainsets in September of this year, with the fifth in early 2023, after service to Orlando is slated to begin at the end of 2022.

— Adding a cafe car to the consist is not mentioned, but a Brightline source tells Trains News Wire that the company has an option to add them for the longer journey

— Service to the Disney Springs station is set to begin in “the second half of 2023, subject to right-of-way acquisition, permitting, final design, and engineering” and is expected to add 800,000 passengers by 2024.

— The Disney extension is estimated to cost $300 million, with two-thirds financed by the bonds

— Including Disney and the three new stations planned south of West Palm Beach at Boca Raton, Aventura, and PortMiami (but not the contemplated Miami commuter operations), total ridership in 2024 is pegged at 3.1 million, with an average fare of $102.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 11, 2021, 04:26:39 PM
Here is another story that will possibly impact Brightline.  Disney will be eliminating its "Magical Expresss" service from the Orlando Airport to Disney's properties in 2022.  It mentions that, at some point, Brightline may be a replacement option for some travelers.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/walt-disney-world-is-eliminating-these-popular-perks-for-hotel-guests-11610397073?siteid=yhoof2 (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/walt-disney-world-is-eliminating-these-popular-perks-for-hotel-guests-11610397073?siteid=yhoof2)

Quote
Starting in 2022, Disney will no longer offer the “Magical Express” — a free shuttle bus that brought guests staying at Walt Disney World hotels to and from Orlando International Airport.

As part of the service, guests could even skip waiting for their luggage at baggage claim by putting special tags on their suitcases. Disney would collect the belongings and then bring them directly to people’s hotels. The luggage-related part of the service was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“As consumer needs and preferences change, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service starting with arrivals in 2022,” a Walt Disney World spokeswoman said. “At the same time, we’re also introducing new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, including early theme park entry for Disney Resort hotel guests.”

In a blog post, Disney noted that the change was made in light of the growing popularity of ride-share services from companies like Uber and Lyft. The blog posted noted that these services “save time and offer more flexibility” to resort guests. Disney will continue to offer transportation within its Walt Disney World complex, including the monorail, buses and the Skyliner gondola service.

Additionally, Brightline, an inter-city rail system in Florida, has announced plans to expand service to Orlando, including stops at the airport and Disney Springs, a shopping center located at the Walt Disney World resort. When completed, the Brightline train service could serve as another option for guests to get to Disney property.....

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on January 11, 2021, 05:59:09 PM
Here is another story that will possibly impact Brightline.  Disney will be eliminating its "Magical Expresss" service from the Orlando Airport to Disney's properties in 2022.  It mentions that, at some point, Brightline may be a replacement option for some travelers.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/walt-disney-world-is-eliminating-these-popular-perks-for-hotel-guests-11610397073?siteid=yhoof2 (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/walt-disney-world-is-eliminating-these-popular-perks-for-hotel-guests-11610397073?siteid=yhoof2)

Quote
Starting in 2022, Disney will no longer offer the “Magical Express” — a free shuttle bus that brought guests staying at Walt Disney World hotels to and from Orlando International Airport.

As part of the service, guests could even skip waiting for their luggage at baggage claim by putting special tags on their suitcases. Disney would collect the belongings and then bring them directly to people’s hotels. The luggage-related part of the service was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“As consumer needs and preferences change, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service starting with arrivals in 2022,” a Walt Disney World spokeswoman said. “At the same time, we’re also introducing new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, including early theme park entry for Disney Resort hotel guests.”

In a blog post, Disney noted that the change was made in light of the growing popularity of ride-share services from companies like Uber and Lyft. The blog posted noted that these services “save time and offer more flexibility” to resort guests. Disney will continue to offer transportation within its Walt Disney World complex, including the monorail, buses and the Skyliner gondola service.

Additionally, Brightline, an inter-city rail system in Florida, has announced plans to expand service to Orlando, including stops at the airport and Disney Springs, a shopping center located at the Walt Disney World resort. When completed, the Brightline train service could serve as another option for guests to get to Disney property.....

This isn’t common knowledge, but Disney is exploring either relocating a significant number of employees from its Cali offices or completely relocating its entire corporate HQ to the Lake Nona area (close to Brightline). If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on January 11, 2021, 06:54:49 PM
Makes sense. Back when the Florida High Speed Rail project was proposed, a part of the plan being considered was to replace the Magical Express with a one ride rail stop between the airport and Disney. Brightline is basically copying that old plan.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on January 12, 2021, 07:48:28 AM
I haven’t heard that news on Disney but it sounds great for Florida.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 13, 2021, 01:21:08 AM
I assume they're still keeping the buses between Disney World and Port Canaveral?

This isn’t common knowledge, but Disney is exploring either relocating a significant number of employees from its Cali offices or completely relocating its entire corporate HQ to the Lake Nona area (close to Brightline). If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.

What a coup for Florida if that happens. C'mon Bob…
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on January 16, 2021, 08:18:12 AM
https://www.thenextmiami.com/investors-cant-get-enough-brightline-bonds-company-says-it-will-pursue-new-real-estate-development-at-miamicentral/?fbclid=IwAR2p4LukxMnAmQcO_n2EpO3zOndLQ4TN3TPAkoVL5Ggdo04AKqFXsrvKlMo

  Like I’ve said before, they still aren’t finished on the first section of the original project. Hopefully the second phase won’t run into these same issues.  What I’ve been told is that the original plans done by Archer Western had a bunch of technology that a sales person told them they could use as PTC. They installed all of It and the FRA came in and said ummm no this doesn’t work, so they had to go back through and change all the software on every crossing and test each individual one. This is what they are doing right now. They need to build the towers, because that’s where the money is.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 02, 2021, 12:00:29 PM
If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.

Say what again?   Why ould they spend a 1/2 billion to do that?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 02, 2021, 01:05:10 PM
Makes sense. Back when the Florida High Speed Rail project was proposed, a part of the plan being considered was to replace the Magical Express with a one ride rail stop between the airport and Disney. Brightline is basically copying that old plan.

The problem with the old plan was that for Orlando - Tampa, that portion was going to be carrying something like 50, 60, 70% of the trips.  Something like that... totally disproportional.  There were a lot of trips projected but not much revenue.  12% of the line be heavily ridden the rest.... welll..... quite the opposite.

What would be different for Brightline is that they're looking to primarily from Miami corridor to Orlando, whether it's airport or disney.  Airport to disney just fills out capacity for a short segement; it augments.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on February 02, 2021, 03:36:03 PM
If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.

Say what again?   Why ould they spend a 1/2 billion to do that?
Same reasons many other companies are looking to bail on Cali.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on February 02, 2021, 03:54:59 PM
Makes sense. Back when the Florida High Speed Rail project was proposed, a part of the plan being considered was to replace the Magical Express with a one ride rail stop between the airport and Disney. Brightline is basically copying that old plan.

The problem with the old plan was that for Orlando - Tampa, that portion was going to be carrying something like 50, 60, 70% of the trips.  Something like that... totally disproportional.  There were a lot of trips projected but not much revenue.  12% of the line be heavily ridden the rest.... welll..... quite the opposite.

What would be different for Brightline is that they're looking to primarily from Miami corridor to Orlando, whether it's airport or disney.  Airport to disney just fills out capacity for a short segement; it augments.

The old HSR plan was eventually going to Miami too. And Brightline is supposed to use the old plan's ROW to expand to Tampa (the title of this thread). The only real differences are the way the focus on this segment was altered by coming from the opposite direction, the existence of SunRail and the change from 100% grade separated new track to using parts of the existing SunRail/CSX line.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 07, 2021, 11:24:26 AM
If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.

Say what again?   Why ould they spend a 1/2 billion to do that?
Same reasons many other companies are looking to bail on Cali.

I'm not asking why Disney would move their HQ.  I'm asking why they'd spend $200, $300, $600million to build a rail connection between their HQ in Lake Nona and Disneyworld.    They don't have such  a connection today between their offices in Burbank and Disneyland.

If Brightline is going to moving people from Miami to MCO, they aren't going to want to make too mny stops.  And not just a couple miles short of MCO
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on February 07, 2021, 12:20:17 PM
If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.

Say what again?   Why ould they spend a 1/2 billion to do that?
Same reasons many other companies are looking to bail on Cali.

I'm not asking why Disney would move their HQ.  I'm asking why they'd spend $200, $300, $600million to build a rail connection between their HQ in Lake Nona and Disneyworld.    They don't have such  a connection today between their offices in Burbank and Disneyland.

If Brightline is going to moving people from Miami to MCO, they aren't going to want to make too mny stops.  And not just a couple miles short of MCO

Um, I think Citylife is saying if they move their employees, and if the proposal he quoted actually comes to fruition, then they will be able to take advantage of the rail connection being proposed. Disney isn't (directly) spending its money on building the rail, it is part of the proposal he's referring to.

If you're asking why Brightline is proposing that, I guess we'll have to wait and see what the details are.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 08, 2021, 03:01:19 PM
In the off chance Disney builds new offices ( aka moving their HQ ), they'll not  be linked by Brightline unless:

a) Disney builds a new HQ at an currently planned Brightline station.  e..g. MCO
b) Disney builds a new HQ at a location at which Brighline would then add a stop

If we're looking at B, it's hard to understand why they'd do that.  Very, very, very expensive to do that.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on February 09, 2021, 10:07:39 AM
In the off chance Disney builds new offices ( aka moving their HQ ), they'll not  be linked by Brightline unless:

a) Disney builds a new HQ at an currently planned Brightline station.  e..g. MCO
b) Disney builds a new HQ at a location at which Brighline would then add a stop

If we're looking at B, it's hard to understand why they'd do that.  Very, very, very expensive to do that.
It's not an off chance. Disney is actively evaluating opportunities there. And yes, they would be linked by Brightline:

The existing 401,000 square foot Team Disney building is located within walking distance of the Disney Springs Brightline stop.
Lake Nona is right next to the Intermodal Center (south of the airport), ergo, a new Disney office would be right next to the Brightline stop at Lake Nona/MCO.

It would be extremely easy for the bulk of Disney's corporate employees to use Brightline to travel between the two office hubs in Orlando.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 10, 2021, 09:09:00 AM


Thank you for clarifying that.

Question - Any rumors or insight into if Disney is serious about moving their _entire_ headquarters?  Or is it just a group or three?

I thought their cruise line group was already out there.  Maybe there's just a group or two where it'd make sense.  Maybe not?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Lunican on February 15, 2021, 09:11:00 PM
Brightline Cocoa Tunnel and State Road 528 Construction - February 14, 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSnGGMe8ecA
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on February 15, 2021, 10:58:59 PM
It's nice to see progress continues to be made.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 05, 2021, 07:35:04 PM
Seems the state is being a bit of a hassle for some reason.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/florida-transportation-officials-place-brightline-under-the-gun/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Adam12 on March 06, 2021, 03:50:00 AM
Seems the state is being a bit of a hassle for some reason.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/florida-transportation-officials-place-brightline-under-the-gun/

They just want money: "Brightline must prepare a study calculating how much toll revenue would be lost to the state if they expand to Tampa and compensate the government for it, according to a March 1 letter from FDOT to the company."

https://www.thenextmiami.com/fdot-demanding-compensation-for-lost-tolls-if-brightline-wants-to-expand-train-service-to-tampa/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 06, 2021, 07:52:03 AM
It really sounds crazy to talk about becoming more environmental friendly and then want compensation for lost potential toll revenue if something that's more environmental friendly, ends up taking some traffic off the highways.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 06, 2021, 04:01:08 PM
So… extortion? That's where we are? The state is extorting a private company to subsidize an uncompetitive project?

It won't happen, but if Brightline were to decide to buy up new ROW elsewhere between Orlando and Tampa, would this still apply to them? Like, is this a condition of building the line in the highway corridor, or a condition of building non-car infrastructure in general?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 06, 2021, 07:06:26 PM
This is the condition of needing ROW along a toll road corridor. The owner of the toll road wants to be compensated.  If Brightside attempted to use CSX ROW, they'd likely have to compensate CSX.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on March 06, 2021, 09:21:57 PM
This is the condition of needing ROW along a toll road corridor. The owner of the toll road wants to be compensated.  If Brightside attempted to use CSX ROW, they'd likely have to compensate CSX.

I've said from the beginning that Brightline could add a surcharge on ticket prices to Orlando (and now to Tampa)...it should be shown as a CFX/FTE fee...and then give the authority the revenue - similar to airport departure fees.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 08, 2021, 08:41:46 AM
For the good of the public, Brightline needs to piss or get off the pot when it comes to Tampa.  Either they're ready to make a meaningful commitment ( $$$$$ ) or not.

And if they're not, that reopens the possibility of others with the means doing it.  Moderator: **Removed content due to language***
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 08, 2021, 09:14:42 AM
No one else is coming. If the numbers don't add up, they should walk. Give it a few years and the new administration in DC would probably give them tax money to extend the system.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 09, 2021, 09:42:21 AM
No one else is coming?


No one else can.

The -- very tiny -- window for other bids has come and gone.

Since then we've seen several private proposals in the US.  They're out there and right now they're not allowed to bid.

Brightline's had several extensions that they've failed to meet.  In the meantime they've been running around Miami playing with commuter rail and had a few failures at their Las Vegas to a Cali-high-desert-town-where-no-one-lives project.

Oh, and Virgin's suing them for a quarter of a billion dollars.


FDOT may not be saints.  But Brightline's track record is a D+.  There's a bad chance they can't complete the Tampa route negotiations because they don't have the cash to do it.  Not to build the line, but what would be needed to complete the agreement.


I wish them well.  But it doesn't look good at this point.


Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 09, 2021, 10:41:45 AM
I'd selfishly prefer they skip the expensive Tampa extension for a no frills, no ROW needed route to Jax. But I get it that Jax will generate lower ridership than a connection to Florida's second largest metropolitan area.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on March 09, 2021, 02:36:04 PM
No one else is coming?

No one else can.

The -- very tiny -- window for other bids has come and gone.

Since then we've seen several private proposals in the US.  They're out there and right now they're not allowed to bid.

Brightline's had several extensions that they've failed to meet.  In the meantime they've been running around Miami playing with commuter rail and had a few failures at their Las Vegas to a Cali-high-desert-town-where-no-one-lives project.

Oh, and Virgin's suing them for a quarter of a billion dollars.

FDOT may not be saints.  But Brightline's track record is a D+.  There's a bad chance they can't complete the Tampa route negotiations because they don't have the cash to do it.  Not to build the line, but what would be needed to complete the agreement.

I wish them well.  But it doesn't look good at this point.
I'm optimistic. Brightline West is negotiating ROW access for a station at LA Union, which gives the route great feet. The Orlando extension can easily be blamed on the coastal counties that forced them to go through a few rounds in the courts. The Tamp extension problems are then COVID-related.

I don't think the Virgin lawsuit goes anywhere. If it does, my optimism for Brightline will start plummeting.

Check out "The Roaming Railfan" Youtube channel to get an idea of how far they are on the Orlando extension. They're about 50% through construction. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbr6nOYIcuf9HbWQ4XX2bAg

I'd selfishly prefer they skip the expensive Tampa extension for a no frills, no ROW needed route to Jax. But I get it that Jax will generate lower ridership than a connection to Florida's second largest metropolitan area.
Honestly, Jacksonville will likely happen when an extension north of Florida occurs to Atlanta. I don't think Jacksonville would have enough traffic to justify its own construction.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 09, 2021, 02:42:13 PM
Yeah, like Tampa needing that Disney stop, Jax wouldn't have enough ridership on its own. We'd have to rely on the strength of the corridor and tourist destinations like St. Augustine and Daytona Beach as well. Then even if it isn't Brightline, something similar should be explored via an Amtrak intercity corridor service. With the recent change in the White House, the next four years might be the best opportunity for funding since the Amtrak Flagler Line proposal went up in smoke.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer on March 09, 2021, 03:03:40 PM
^ Anecdotally, two decades or more ago, Southwest use to have at least 7 round trips on a 135 seat 737 every day to Ft. Lauderdale, all full.  Plus, all the other airlines that were flying to FTL, WPB or MIA (American, Continental, etc.) too.  I would imagine the demand would be much greater now given just the growth in population.  Wonder what traffic volumes Brightline needs to justify an expansion to Jax.

Not sure of Brightline's travel times, but if they could make Jax-South Florida, center city to center city, in, say, 4 hours or less, that could be appealing to business travelers and maybe more (e.g. cruise ship passengers) as a foundation for the service.

An express connection to MIA might do even better.  I  would also think it would help Jax attract more international attention given MIA's gateway to much of the world.

Of course, Brightline could draw passengers from the airlines so there might be some trade-offs if it doesn't serve to grow the market or pull people off the interstates.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 09, 2021, 10:29:49 PM
^ Seeing as Brightline expects to make the ~170 miles from West Palm Beach to Orlando in ~2 hours (avg speed of 85 mph), the ~330 miles between Jacksonville and Miami should be doable in under 4 hours if they can maintain the same average speed or better. Any slower than that and they're beyond that timeline. A 110 mph average (presumably some kind of express direct service after track upgrades) could get you there in 3 hours.

I'd like to think that Brightline's early support for service along the entire mainline would make Jacksonville more likely than not, but that still probably depends on how much we care as a city about putting in the effort to get them here. And a South Florida-style service of Jax-St.Aug-Daytona would likely be critical in making it all work, plus their need for TOD in the vicinity of wherever they build.

Then even if it isn't Brightline, something similar should be explored via an Amtrak intercity corridor service. With the recent change in the White House, the next four years might be the best opportunity for funding since the Amtrak Flagler Line proposal went up in smoke.

Wouldn't that require repealing the requirement for corridor service (<800 miles I think?) to be funded by the state? And would FEC allow Amtrak on at this point, or would Brightline need to approve it?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on March 09, 2021, 10:41:35 PM
^ Seeing as Brightline expects to make the ~170 miles from West Palm Beach to Orlando in ~2 hours (avg speed of 85 mph), the ~330 miles between Jacksonville and Miami should be doable in under 4 hours if they can maintain the same average speed or better. Any slower than that and they're beyond that timeline. A 110 mph average (presumably some kind of express direct service after track upgrades) could get you there in 3 hours.

I'd like to think that Brightline's early support for service along the entire mainline would make Jacksonville more likely than not, but that still probably depends on how much we care as a city about putting in the effort to get them here. And a South Florida-style service of Jax-St.Aug-Daytona would likely be critical in making it all work, plus their need for TOD in the vicinity of wherever they build.
You can't assume the same speed for the route from MIA to Jax. The portion of the route between ORL and the coast is the only true high speed rail segment, so it will skew your average speed high. The at grade crossings on the FEC mainline restrict the speed in that corridor. A better comparison would be calculating the average speed between West Palm and MIA to extrapolate to Jax.

This assumes Brightline only upgrades the tracks while keeping the at grade crossings like they did on the rest of the FEC mainline.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 09, 2021, 10:57:16 PM
^ Hence using the average speed.

Quote
if they can maintain the same average speed or better.

is a big if, I know. They're at least projecting the ~70 mile route from MIA-WPB to run at ~79 mph or so, in which case MIA-JAX is going to be 4 hours and 10 minutes. Although, WPB-Cocoa is supposed to run at 110 mph, so that would skew the average higher. And I don't think it's entirely out of the question that they might upgrade, say, Cocoa-Daytona to run at similar speeds to WPB-Cocoa, or the portion of St. Augustine-Jax that runs through basically nowhere along US-1, which could also reduce times.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2021, 08:30:29 AM
^ Seeing as Brightline expects to make the ~170 miles from West Palm Beach to Orlando in ~2 hours (avg speed of 85 mph), the ~330 miles between Jacksonville and Miami should be doable in under 4 hours if they can maintain the same average speed or better. Any slower than that and they're beyond that timeline. A 110 mph average (presumably some kind of express direct service after track upgrades) could get you there in 3 hours.

I'd like to think that Brightline's early support for service along the entire mainline would make Jacksonville more likely than not, but that still probably depends on how much we care as a city about putting in the effort to get them here. And a South Florida-style service of Jax-St.Aug-Daytona would likely be critical in making it all work, plus their need for TOD in the vicinity of wherever they build.
You can't assume the same speed for the route from MIA to Jax. The portion of the route between ORL and the coast is the only true high speed rail segment, so it will skew your average speed high. The at grade crossings on the FEC mainline restrict the speed in that corridor. A better comparison would be calculating the average speed between West Palm and MIA to extrapolate to Jax.

This assumes Brightline only upgrades the tracks while keeping the at grade crossings like they did on the rest of the FEC mainline.

Actually the maximum authorized speed between Mia and WPB is 79mph. From WPB to Cocoa is 110mph, and then the cut down the beeline (528) is 120mph. That being said you could prob keep the 110 to St Augustine. There is a lot of rural area that doesn’t have too many crossings where you can rip and run. Absolutely you will have to slow down for a few curves and little downtown areas but I think you could prob increase that average a bit. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on March 10, 2021, 10:27:37 AM
The big challenge with the northward extension is that St. Augustine is the golden goose. That is where people from South Florida/Orlando and out of state visitors want to visit for vacation. It is also a highly desirable place to live and offers a charming, quaint small-town feel that no places on the Brightline corridor offer. That same quaintness and protection of the small town-feel will prevent Brightline from making any major TOD moves in St. Auggie, which is a key aspect of their business model.

Daytona Beach offers virtually nothing in terms of tourism for people that typically use Brightline. Tickets are not that cheap, as it is somewhat of a premium rail service. Nobody from South Florida would go to Daytona for the beach and if you live in or are visiting Orlando and have the option of South Florida or Daytona for a beach vacation, 99% of people will choose South Florida. Palm Beach County and portions of Dade are expensive for oceanfront hotels, but it's really not that much more expensive to stay at a lot of oceanfront resorts in Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach than Daytona.

So it ultimately comes down to Jax as a big driver of an extension. Living and working in South Florida, when I tell people in the development and planning world that I'm from Jax, a common question that comes up is, "what is wrong with Downtown, I was there and it is a ghost town" (we're talking pre-Covid visits). People are genuinely fascinated with it.  If people want Brightline, Downtown Jax absolutely has to get it's act together, or it will be an afterthought.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2021, 10:56:38 AM
The big challenge with the northward extension is that St. Augustine is the golden goose. That is where people from South Florida/Orlando and out of state visitors want to visit for vacation. It is also a highly desirable place to live and offers a charming, quaint small-town feel that no places on the Brightline corridor offer. That same quaintness and protection of the small town-feel will prevent Brightline from making any major TOD moves in St. Auggie, which is a key aspect of their business model.

I believe St. Auggie offers TOD potential. It will just be to the north of the historic district, near the old FEC railroad station or the airport.

Quote
Daytona Beach offers virtually nothing in terms of tourism for people that typically use Brightline. Tickets are not that cheap, as it is somewhat of a premium rail service. Nobody from South Florida would go to Daytona for the beach and if you live in or are visiting Orlando and have the option of South Florida or Daytona for a beach vacation, 99% of people will choose South Florida. Palm Beach County and portions of Dade are expensive for oceanfront hotels, but it's really not that much more expensive to stay at a lot of oceanfront resorts in Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach than Daytona.

Daytona could be a special event draw. It's more than low income people attending the big race events and some of the things going on there. I haven't thought much about Palm Coast, but that's a rapidly growing retirement/resort community as well. It should be getting close to 100k permanent residents in city limits now.

Quote
So it ultimately comes down to Jax as a big driver of an extension. Living and working in South Florida, when I tell people in the development and planning world that I'm from Jax, a common question that comes up is, "what is wrong with Downtown, I was there and it is a ghost town" (we're talking pre-Covid visits). People are genuinely fascinated with it.  If people want Brightline, Downtown Jax absolutely has to get it's act together, or it will be an afterthought.

Definitely agree. I think Jax also has an opportunity to pull Amtrak connections from other areas of the country and leveraging its proximity to Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra, the area's beaches and Jax's own historic urban core neighborhoods. So even from that perspective, the FEC as an intercity rail connection to Brightline in Cocoa would still have some legs if the Brightline extension into Jax isn't feasible from a ridership perspective.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2021, 11:31:57 AM
The big challenge with the northward extension is that St. Augustine is the golden goose. That is where people from South Florida/Orlando and out of state visitors want to visit for vacation. It is also a highly desirable place to live and offers a charming, quaint small-town feel that no places on the Brightline corridor offer. That same quaintness and protection of the small town-feel will prevent Brightline from making any major TOD moves in St. Auggie, which is a key aspect of their business model.

I believe St. Auggie offers TOD potential. It will just be to the north of the historic district, near the old FEC railroad station or the airport.

Quote
Daytona Beach offers virtually nothing in terms of tourism for people that typically use Brightline. Tickets are not that cheap, as it is somewhat of a premium rail service. Nobody from South Florida would go to Daytona for the beach and if you live in or are visiting Orlando and have the option of South Florida or Daytona for a beach vacation, 99% of people will choose South Florida. Palm Beach County and portions of Dade are expensive for oceanfront hotels, but it's really not that much more expensive to stay at a lot of oceanfront resorts in Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach than Daytona.

Daytona could be a special event draw. It's more than low income people attending the big race events and some of the things going on there. I haven't thought much about Palm Coast, but that's a rapidly growing retirement/resort community as well. It should be getting close to 100k permanent residents in city limits now.

Quote
So it ultimately comes down to Jax as a big driver of an extension. Living and working in South Florida, when I tell people in the development and planning world that I'm from Jax, a common question that comes up is, "what is wrong with Downtown, I was there and it is a ghost town" (we're talking pre-Covid visits). People are genuinely fascinated with it.  If people want Brightline, Downtown Jax absolutely has to get it's act together, or it will be an afterthought.

Definitely agree. I think Jax also has an opportunity to pull Amtrak connections from other areas of the country and leveraging its proximity to Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra, the area's beaches and Jax's own historic urban core neighborhoods. So even from that perspective, the FEC as an intercity rail connection to Brightline in Cocoa would still have some legs if the Brightline extension into Jax isn't feasible from a ridership perspective.

FEC corporate headquarters used to be in St Aug, and as much as the railroad has done for that city, I don’t think there will be pushback. St Aug loves FEC and the railroad has donated a lot of land to the college and the city. They still own a lot of land there that gives them plenty of room to maneuver a station whoever they want. Plus there is only a fraction of rod crossings compared to south Florida. Jax is the driver I agree but st Augustine should fall in line with minimal issue IMO.

This whole talk of Amtrak is a pipe dream on the FEC line. They are the most profitable railroad in the country per mile of track. They don’t want a train that requires more scrutiny, and can never seem to run on time clogging up their tracks. The last few CEOs have been very against Amtrak because of this. Also now Mexico is have headache after headache with Brightline, they don’t need another train that’s just going to cost them money instead of making it.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer on March 10, 2021, 11:58:14 AM
^ Curious, if FEC has Brightline running on its tracks, how much more of a leap is it to handle Amtrak?  Is there room in the ROW to add a dedicated passenger rail track to avoid most conflicts with freight?

Seems a stop in St. Augustine would be similar to the Sun Rail/Amtrak stop in Winter Park in terms of ambiance and positioning.  How is that stop working out for the rail lines and Winter Park?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Sonic101 on March 10, 2021, 01:17:38 PM
Been awhile since I've heard anything on the redevelopment of the Broudy's site in St. Augustine. Plans included a train station, but I can't imagine Brightline using a station that's not theirs.

https://www.staugustine.com/news/20190513/st-augustine-commissioners-express-excitement-but-caution-over-broudys-proposal (https://www.staugustine.com/news/20190513/st-augustine-commissioners-express-excitement-but-caution-over-broudys-proposal)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2021, 02:07:10 PM
This was from the 2014 Amtrak proposal:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-pc3sFLP/0/XL/i-pc3sFLP-XL.jpg)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2021, 02:23:32 PM
(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-cMRnmzR/0/XL/i-cMRnmzR-XL.jpg)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on March 10, 2021, 02:48:54 PM
The big challenge with the northward extension is that St. Augustine is the golden goose. That is where people from South Florida/Orlando and out of state visitors want to visit for vacation. It is also a highly desirable place to live and offers a charming, quaint small-town feel that no places on the Brightline corridor offer. That same quaintness and protection of the small town-feel will prevent Brightline from making any major TOD moves in St. Auggie, which is a key aspect of their business model.

I believe St. Auggie offers TOD potential. It will just be to the north of the historic district, near the old FEC railroad station or the airport.

Quote
Daytona Beach offers virtually nothing in terms of tourism for people that typically use Brightline. Tickets are not that cheap, as it is somewhat of a premium rail service. Nobody from South Florida would go to Daytona for the beach and if you live in or are visiting Orlando and have the option of South Florida or Daytona for a beach vacation, 99% of people will choose South Florida. Palm Beach County and portions of Dade are expensive for oceanfront hotels, but it's really not that much more expensive to stay at a lot of oceanfront resorts in Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach than Daytona.

Daytona could be a special event draw. It's more than low income people attending the big race events and some of the things going on there. I haven't thought much about Palm Coast, but that's a rapidly growing retirement/resort community as well. It should be getting close to 100k permanent residents in city limits now.

Quote
So it ultimately comes down to Jax as a big driver of an extension. Living and working in South Florida, when I tell people in the development and planning world that I'm from Jax, a common question that comes up is, "what is wrong with Downtown, I was there and it is a ghost town" (we're talking pre-Covid visits). People are genuinely fascinated with it.  If people want Brightline, Downtown Jax absolutely has to get it's act together, or it will be an afterthought.

Definitely agree. I think Jax also has an opportunity to pull Amtrak connections from other areas of the country and leveraging its proximity to Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra, the area's beaches and Jax's own historic urban core neighborhoods. So even from that perspective, the FEC as an intercity rail connection to Brightline in Cocoa would still have some legs if the Brightline extension into Jax isn't feasible from a ridership perspective.

FEC corporate headquarters used to be in St Aug, and as much as the railroad has done for that city, I don’t think there will be pushback. St Aug loves FEC and the railroad has donated a lot of land to the college and the city. They still own a lot of land there that gives them plenty of room to maneuver a station whoever they want. Plus there is only a fraction of rod crossings compared to south Florida. Jax is the driver I agree but st Augustine should fall in line with minimal issue IMO.

This whole talk of Amtrak is a pipe dream on the FEC line. They are the most profitable railroad in the country per mile of track. They don’t want a train that requires more scrutiny, and can never seem to run on time clogging up their tracks. The last few CEOs have been very against Amtrak because of this. Also now Mexico is have headache after headache with Brightline, they don’t need another train that’s just going to cost them money instead of making it.

The concerns from St. Augustine are fear of overdevelopment, not being anti-railroad. From Brightline's model, they want large multi-family projects to help drive their expansion. For instance, they developed 816 units at their Miami stop and 290 at their WPB stop.

I just don't see the City of St. Augustine going for a large-scale multi-family project within the city limits. You have to go all the way north to the St. Johns County Complex (roughly 3 miles north of the historic district) or west of the San Sebastian on King Street to be able to develop anything outside of the city limits, and neither area is where Brightline wants to be or where you would be able to build high grade multi-family.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 10, 2021, 03:48:35 PM
^ This is very ironic, seeing what the rest of the county looks like, and the kind of leadership they keep electing. Odds are Brightline just needs to start donating to political campaigns, same way the road builders and real estate developers do, and things will generally fall into place. Whether it's the old FEC station or a new one at Carrera Street, I would be surprised if they really said no to "luxury" ~4-story, historically-styled apartments along the mainline. If Brightline proposed building a high rise like what they have in WPB (they won't), then maybe the tune would be different.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 10, 2021, 05:35:14 PM
^ Curious, if FEC has Brightline running on its tracks, how much more of a leap is it to handle Amtrak?  Is there room in the ROW to add a dedicated passenger rail track to avoid most conflicts with freight?

Seems a stop in St. Augustine would be similar to the Sun Rail/Amtrak stop in Winter Park in terms of ambiance and positioning.  How is that stop working out for the rail lines and Winter Park?

   To your first question, they would have to upgrade the crossings from Cocoa to Jacksonville in order to run the Amtrak faster than 60 miles an hour. Also they would have to go back on all the work they’ve done from Cocoa to Miami and rip out all the new crossings to fit a third track. That’s not gonna happen. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 10, 2021, 05:59:56 PM
^ Do they even have the ROW for three tracks? Honestly, the only way I could see Brightline adding anything else to what they've already built or likely to build is if they end up expanding to Atlanta or something in another decade, and the expected passenger numbers somehow justify it.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 10, 2021, 06:50:43 PM
Yes they have the ROW and yes it's possible for intercity rail, Brightline and/or Amtrak to run down the FEC into Jax. The question that remains to be answered is if it is worth it from a financial, liability and ridership perspective.  Time will tell on that one.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer on March 10, 2021, 07:58:58 PM
^ Curious, if FEC has Brightline running on its tracks, how much more of a leap is it to handle Amtrak?  Is there room in the ROW to add a dedicated passenger rail track to avoid most conflicts with freight?

Seems a stop in St. Augustine would be similar to the Sun Rail/Amtrak stop in Winter Park in terms of ambiance and positioning.  How is that stop working out for the rail lines and Winter Park?

   To your first question, they would have to upgrade the crossings from Cocoa to Jacksonville in order to run the Amtrak faster than 60 miles an hour. Also they would have to go back on all the work they’ve done from Cocoa to Miami and rip out all the new crossings to fit a third track. That’s not gonna happen.

Yes they have the ROW and yes it's possible for intercity rail, Brightline and/or Amtrak to run down the FEC into Jax. The question that remains to be answered is if it is worth it from a financial, liability and ridership perspective.  Time will tell on that one.

Thanks for the info.  To be clear, Pottsburg, are you saying that Amtrak would require upgrades beyond what Brightline would require?

Also, if Brightline is willing to pay for a brand new rail from Cocoa to Tampa (at some point) where they also have to establish new ROW rights and pathways, why wouldn't they be willing to do so within the already existing FEC ROW?  I get that its not inexpensive but, if the traffic demand might be there, why not leave that option on the table?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on March 11, 2021, 10:03:02 AM
Odds are Brightline just needs to start donating to political campaigns, same way the road builders and real estate developers do, and things will generally fall into place. Whether it's the old FEC station or a new one at Carrera Street, I would be surprised if they really said no to "luxury" ~4-story, historically-styled apartments along the mainline. If Brightline proposed building a high rise like what they have in WPB (they won't), then maybe the tune would be different.

Lol. That is not how things work in real life in St. Augustine and many other places. St. Augustine's 5 member commission is made up of three historic preservationists as Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and councilmember and a professor of natural sciences at Flagler that is an staunch environmentalist. There are countless developers that would love to build large  or even medium multi-family projects in the city of St. Augustine, but yet there are none. The citizens of St. Augustine will only elect people that have come up through the ranks of their historic preservation boards and groups. These are people that do not need and would not take bribes and they run solely on the platform of protecting the character of St. Augustine.

But that's beside the point. It's extremely difficult to assemble enough land in the core of St. Augustine for anything with a substantial amount of units that is under 6 stories. For comparison, Vista Brooklyn is 308 units and is 10 stories. The monstrosity at River City is only 335 units. The senior housing at Newnan and Ashley is 6 stories with only 120 units (and a low parking count). The Southbank Apartments are only 185 units (is underparked) and is 7 stories.  Brightline will need a bare minimum of 200 units to make it worth their while.

Like I said, the most feasible option is going outside of the city limits and that is near the airport in unincorporated SJC and that isn't going to move the needle for Brightline.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 11, 2021, 10:43:55 AM
The closest logical spot for a Brightline station in St. Augustine would be the former FEC train station at US 1 and San Marco Avenue, a mile or two north of the historic district. That's one of the larger undeveloped tracts of land in St. Augustine and they already own it. I'm not sure that it would be dramatically different from the sites they are considering in Brevard and St. Lucie.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on March 11, 2021, 11:03:37 AM
^That's roughly 2.5 miles to Flagler College on US-1 and 2 miles to Castillo on San Marco. I just don't think premium multi-family works in St. Augustine unless it's in walking distance to the historic district.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 11, 2021, 11:36:48 AM
The historic district along San Marco Avenue extends quite a bit north of Flagler. Definitely up to SR A1A and the Vilano Bridge. Nevertheless, there's very little difference between a St. Augustine site and those being considered along the Space Coast. Cocoa's station will be next to a Walmart:

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/all-aboard-florida/2019/10/25/virgin-trains-likely-pursue-station-cocoa-and-leaning-toward-stuart/4092824002/

If something in that area can work, then something similar may be feasible in St. Augustine on the edge of the walkable historic stretch along San Marco Avenue.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on March 11, 2021, 12:32:11 PM
There is a difference between building stations (and TOD) along the existing path of Brightline, and completely extending service to reach Jax/St. Auggie/Daytona though. The initial point I was making was that NE Fla has to make it very desirable for Brightline to extend. Daytona isn't that sexy, though you did make a good point about ridership to events there; St. Auggie, while a great tourism location, doesn't have an ideal spot or opportunity for dense, walkable TOD, imo; Jax has tons of TOD potential, but can't get out of it's own way.

Goes back to my original point that Jax has to be the driver of the expansion and give Brightline no other option but to come. Throw some of that new gas tax money at a Brightline station, offer them the royal treatment for TOD incentives, profit. 
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 11, 2021, 01:29:53 PM
I guess from my perspective, based on their original plan and what they've done to date, Jax is a part of their plan. They already secured the rights to expand on the FEC into Jax. Even the selection of the Cocoa station site was done with an eventual northward expansion in mind. I definitely agree with you that Jax is the ultimate answer to when that happens.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer on March 11, 2021, 02:16:54 PM
There is a difference between building stations (and TOD) along the existing path of Brightline, and completely extending service to reach Jax/St. Auggie/Daytona though. The initial point I was making was that NE Fla has to make it very desirable for Brightline to extend. Daytona isn't that sexy, though you did make a good point about ridership to events there; St. Auggie, while a great tourism location, doesn't have an ideal spot or opportunity for dense, walkable TOD, imo; Jax has tons of TOD potential, but can't get out of it's own way.

Goes back to my original point that Jax has to be the driver of the expansion and give Brightline no other option but to come. Throw some of that new gas tax money at a Brightline station, offer them the royal treatment for TOD incentives, profit.

My observation is that Daytona-Orlando is becoming a merging "metro" area with many already commuting between the two.  Could a subset of Tampa-Orlando-Daytona (the I-4 corridor) be used to support part of the line to Jax (i.e. Cocoa-Daytona segment)?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on March 11, 2021, 04:50:44 PM
Don't people commute between Jacksonville and St. Augustine? That could be a portion of the ridership, like what they are doing in South Florida. In fact, the most likely way to get commuter rail in Jacksonville might be through Brightline as the operator, like the Tri-rail Coastal Link in South Florida.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: FlaBoy on March 11, 2021, 05:26:06 PM
Don't people commute between Jacksonville and St. Augustine? That could be a portion of the ridership, like what they are doing in South Florida. In fact, the most likely way to get commuter rail in Jacksonville might be through Brightline as the operator, like the Tri-rail Coastal Link in South Florida.

There just isn't the population base to really make it work in my opinion yet. Brightline will be the closest thing for the next decde if they put a stop in St. Augustine. However, for commuter rail, you would really need another stop (which is unlikely without a big push) maybe near the Avenues Mall or Nocatee.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 11, 2021, 05:57:52 PM
Yeah, there's no population base or land use strategy in place to make commuter rail feasible between Jax and St. Augustine at this time. The best bet is to hope for an intercity rail line that also happens to have stops in DT Jax and St. Augustine. If something like an intercity corridor service was in place, maybe you end up with a stop in a location like Avenues Walk. Get stops in DT, Avenues Walk and St. Augustine and then I'd question if commuter rail on the FEC would ever make sense. After all, the First Coast Flyer already runs down Philips between Avenues Walk and Downtown.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 11, 2021, 10:17:44 PM
^ Curious, if FEC has Brightline running on its tracks, how much more of a leap is it to handle Amtrak?  Is there room in the ROW to add a dedicated passenger rail track to avoid most conflicts with freight?

Seems a stop in St. Augustine would be similar to the Sun Rail/Amtrak stop in Winter Park in terms of ambiance and positioning.  How is that stop working out for the rail lines and Winter Park?

   To your first question, they would have to upgrade the crossings from Cocoa to Jacksonville in order to run the Amtrak faster than 60 miles an hour. Also they would have to go back on all the work they’ve done from Cocoa to Miami and rip out all the new crossings to fit a third track. That’s not gonna happen.

Yes they have the ROW and yes it's possible for intercity rail, Brightline and/or Amtrak to run down the FEC into Jax. The question that remains to be answered is if it is worth it from a financial, liability and ridership perspective.  Time will tell on that one.

Thanks for the info.  To be clear, Pottsburg, are you saying that Amtrak would require upgrades beyond what Brightline would require?

Also, if Brightline is willing to pay for a brand new rail from Cocoa to Tampa (at some point) where they also have to establish new ROW rights and pathways, why wouldn't they be willing to do so within the already existing FEC ROW?  I get that its not inexpensive but, if the traffic demand might be there, why not leave that option on the table?

From Jax to Cocoa would need to be upgraded unless you ran the train at 60mph. If you kept it at 60 between those points you could get away with not upgrading a lot of stuff.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 11, 2021, 10:22:41 PM
The closest logical spot for a Brightline station in St. Augustine would be the former FEC train station at US 1 and San Marco Avenue, a mile or two north of the historic district. That's one of the larger undeveloped tracts of land in St. Augustine and they already own it. I'm not sure that it would be dramatically different from the sites they are considering in Brevard and St. Lucie.

This building was just leased out for a multi year deal.  Another big parcel of land closer to downtown is right on the water where the track curves. Westside of US1 about the area where Carrera St and Malaga come together.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Sonic101 on March 12, 2021, 09:43:33 AM
King St needs to be reconstructed, the Palatka-STA State Trail is supposed to go down King St to get to A1A, and Brightline needs a station. W King St could be having a moment if those could all be coordinated.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on March 12, 2021, 09:57:58 AM
You better believe that if Brightline is going to put a station in St Augustine they will figure out how to put it on the parcel that have at the curve.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: fieldafm on March 12, 2021, 10:03:32 AM
Up the street, the owner of the Broudy's Liquor store has plans to possibly integrate a train station platform into a potential mixed-use redevelopment of the site.

(https://www.news4jax.com/resizer/eQI2sl5aggHeSukma4Q4fvbdzKw=/1600x900/smart/filters:format(jpeg):strip_exif(true):strip_icc(true):no_upscale(true):quality(65)/d1vhqlrjc8h82r.cloudfront.net/05-14-2019/t_c77f6a6a77c54ecb8b103303492a9d77_name_image.jpg)

(https://www.news4jax.com/resizer/q6tJBqXCByKs5gxSSlNurF5IJtc=/1280x720/smart/filters:format(jpeg):strip_exif(true):strip_icc(true):no_upscale(true):quality(65)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-gmg.s3.amazonaws.com/public/HRK5GMRL25G5ZFRKAW7JOIAHNU.jpg)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 13, 2021, 01:13:45 PM
Up the street, the owner of the Broudy's Liquor store has plans to possibly integrate a train station platform into a potential mixed-use redevelopment of the site.

(https://www.news4jax.com/resizer/eQI2sl5aggHeSukma4Q4fvbdzKw=/1600x900/smart/filters:format(jpeg):strip_exif(true):strip_icc(true):no_upscale(true):quality(65)/d1vhqlrjc8h82r.cloudfront.net/05-14-2019/t_c77f6a6a77c54ecb8b103303492a9d77_name_image.jpg)

(https://www.news4jax.com/resizer/q6tJBqXCByKs5gxSSlNurF5IJtc=/1280x720/smart/filters:format(jpeg):strip_exif(true):strip_icc(true):no_upscale(true):quality(65)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-gmg.s3.amazonaws.com/public/HRK5GMRL25G5ZFRKAW7JOIAHNU.jpg)

   Brody’s can’t even make their building nice. They need to worry about other things first. From the picture you can see the lot I was talking about from a previous comment. It’s a good spot for a station.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: icarus on March 13, 2021, 09:21:34 PM
Sad to say, but a St. Augustine Station to me is more economically feasible than a Jacksonville station in terms of ridership.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on March 13, 2021, 10:44:29 PM
Brightline to Disney - opening in 2025/2026!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Charles Hunter on March 13, 2021, 11:07:25 PM
Brightline to Disney - opening in 2025/2026!

Source?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 14, 2021, 02:12:07 PM
Brightline to Disney - opening in 2025/2026!

Source?

Looks like this Orlando Sentinel article (https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/transportation/os-prem-ne-brightline-disney-tampa-route-20210311-ehaxz2gcjjfgtl6mbx2r2be5ye-story.html).

I’m a little surprised that it’s going to cost a billion dollars just to build 17 miles across Orlando. That’s nearly $60 million per mile.

It’s also concerning that a decade ago, $2.4 billion was supposed to cover building HSR between Orlando and Tampa, but now nearly all of that would have only gotten them from the airport to Disney via the convention center.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Charles Hunter on March 14, 2021, 03:31:23 PM
Sadly, the article is behind Orlando Paywall's sentinel - or the Sentinel's paywall.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on March 14, 2021, 03:37:53 PM
They're about to box jack the Cocoa Tunnel, which is one of the most significant milestones for this project. More info and visuals here: https://youtu.be/-9j1mxZFi6c
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 14, 2021, 03:42:34 PM
Brightline to Disney - opening in 2025/2026!

Source?

Looks like this Orlando Sentinel article (https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/transportation/os-prem-ne-brightline-disney-tampa-route-20210311-ehaxz2gcjjfgtl6mbx2r2be5ye-story.html).

I’m a little surprised that it’s going to cost a billion dollars just to build 17 miles across Orlando. That’s nearly $60 million per mile.

It’s also concerning that a decade ago, $2.4 billion was supposed to cover building HSR between Orlando and Tampa, but now nearly all of that would have only gotten them from the airport to Disney via the convention center.

The 170 mile WPB to Orlando segment is currently under construction for $2.7 billion. That's roughly $16 million per mile. However, that's significantly cheaper because a large chunk involves adding capacity to an existing railroad corridor and building new track in a largely rural stretch between Cocoa and the airport. Getting to Disney isn't as easy as the area is significantly more urbanized. On the other hand, the airport to Disney stretch will cost a lot more per mile than Disney to Tampa. Much of I-4 between Disney and Tampa was widened years ago to allow for either rail or more lanes in the median. Some key points from the Orlando Sentinel article:

Quote
Brightline disclosed on Thursday its most detailed explanation so far on costs for a corridor between the airport and a Disney World station, preferring a $1 billion route piggybacking on Road 417 through Hunters Creek over a more than $2 billion route along State Road 528 to International Drive.

Passenger service of nearly 17 miles from Orlando International Airport to a station at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs is slated to start in five years, said Brightline’s executive vice president of infrastructure development, Michael Cegelis.

By the time Disney station is operating, the privately owned Brightline is likely to be at an advanced stage of constructing more than 68 miles of rail from the theme park to a station between downtown Tampa and Ybor City, Cegelis said.

The choice of following portions of S.R. 417 or S.R. 528 on the way to Disney Springs has been contentious. Hunters Creek residents are worried about noise and vibration from trains running parallel to S.R. 417 and proponents of the S.R. 528 alternative want Brightline to link International Drive’s tourism business and Orange County Convention Center hotels with Orlando’s airport.

But Cegelis said that from the standpoint of Brightline making extension to Disney financially viable for his private company, the cost and construction challenges vastly favor the S.R. 417 route and discourage attempting to thread a maze of private and public lands between the airport and International Drive.

“We think there are better, other ways to connect the important convention center area and I-Drive to the airport. That needs to happen. It’s imperative,” Cegelis said. “We think there are other, more efficient ways to do it than an hourly, intercity train.”

Quote
Brightline is building additional stations within that corridor at Aventura and Boca Raton, and is 50 percent complete in a $2.7 billion extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando’s airport that is to begin passenger service in 2023.

Quote
The S.R. 417 alignment would cost $1.03 billion, require 342,000 square feet of bridges, involve three private properties and offer efficient sharing of corridor space with a proposed SunRail link between the airport and its main line.

The S.R. 528 alignment would cost $2.1 billion, require 1.9 million square feet of bridges, affect 76 private properties and involve a complex arrangement with SunRail.

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/transportation/os-prem-ne-brightline-disney-tampa-route-20210311-ehaxz2gcjjfgtl6mbx2r2be5ye-story.html
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 14, 2021, 09:56:04 PM
^ Right, my bad forgetting the paywall.

Here are two slides from a Brightline presentation, showing the difference between the two routes:

(https://www.orlandosentinel.com/resizer/YF7DyxtgmFDqy2uGWcNTlCzc1MA=/1400x0/top/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/tronc/JRI2SZJK6FHK5MSGKVW7Z2X5UE.jpg)

(https://www.orlandosentinel.com/resizer/s195fDcNPNJNauJGMB3TrRPEXWU=/1400x0/top/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/tronc/ZPHBFRIQGZHIHI3H6SZP2AAVB4.jpg)

The 170 mile WPB to Orlando segment is currently under construction for $2.7 billion. That's roughly $16 million per mile. However, that's significantly cheaper because a large chunk involves adding capacity to an existing railroad corridor and building new track in a largely rural stretch between Cocoa and the airport. Getting to Disney isn't as easy as the area is significantly more urbanized. On the other hand, the airport to Disney stretch will cost a lot more per mile than Disney to Tampa. Much of I-4 between Disney and Tampa was widened years ago to allow for either rail or more lanes in the median.

I guess that tracks, but I feel like it's reasonable to assume that the Disney-Tampa portion isn't only ~$550 million at $8 million per mile (assuming the inflation calculation is correct). Especially seeing as Brightline hasn't demonstrated any plan for a station in Lakeland, and aren't electrifying the corridor. Which leads me to wonder if perhaps Rick Scott was right in some way, and Florida HSR would have cost more than expected. Doesn't necessarily mean we shouldn't have built it, but I do find it concerning.

Quote
But Cegelis said that from the standpoint of Brightline making extension to Disney financially viable for his private company, the cost and construction challenges vastly favor the S.R. 417 route and discourage attempting to thread a maze of private and public lands between the airport and International Drive.

“We think there are better, other ways to connect the important convention center area and I-Drive to the airport. That needs to happen. It’s imperative,” Cegelis said. “We think there are other, more efficient ways to do it than an hourly, intercity train.”

Hasn't there been a proposal for light rail connecting International Drive to the airport? Whatever happened to that? I don't blame them for trying to piggyback on Brightline, but shouldn't that plan still exist? Maybe Val Demings can try to get that into the big infrastructure bill being planned.

Quote
By the time Disney station is operating, the privately owned Brightline is likely to be at an advanced stage of constructing more than 68 miles of rail from the theme park to a station between downtown Tampa and Ybor City, Cegelis said.

Which also means they might be in the planning stages for service to Northeast Florida. It's a question of leadership whether we'll be ready for them, or continuing to trip over our own two feet.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 15, 2021, 01:55:15 PM
If that happens, their existing offices near Disney Springs will be linked by Brightline to their new offices.

Say what again?   Why would they spend a 1/2 billion to do that?

Correction- a billion

Hard to see Disney getting a stop w/out Disney investing into Brightline and running the line to Tampa.

In the meantime, Brightline's got $4billion in bonds to pay off.  Folks are going to have to settle for those $20 uber rides


Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 15, 2021, 02:23:35 PM
^ I don’t think Disney needs to. This is (I think) the first time there’s been a passenger rail plan that Disney has agreed to with any degree of enthusiasm, and it’s possible that them being the only intermediate entertainment stop (vs the convention center & Universal or SeaWorld) has something to do with that. Odds are the Disney line is going to be the most profitable on top of that (kinda has to be, seeing as there aren’t really any TOD opportunities besides maybe Meadow Woods).
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on March 15, 2021, 02:36:50 PM
Hasn't there been a proposal for light rail connecting International Drive to the airport? Whatever happened to that? I don't blame them for trying to piggyback on Brightline, but shouldn't that plan still exist? Maybe Val Demings can try to get that into the big infrastructure bill being planned.
It's been studied a few times. The proposal is light rail from OIA to the I-Drive area. The most recent study recommended BRT due to funding issues. Brightline is completely right that the corridor doesn't make sense for them. Disney is isolated and has an internal transportation system that effectively makes it a very concentrated stop, while I-Drive is spread out and wouldn't have as much demand. It makes more sense for I-Drive to have LRT.

This report is a bit old but gives a good overview of the project: https://metroplanorlando.org/wp-content/uploads/OIA-Refresh-Alternatives-Analysis-Final-Report1-Feb-2016.pdf

Another point, while Sunrail and Brightline could share tracks, sharing of tracks between LRT and the typical heavy rail is generally discouraged. You'll find exceptions, like the trolley in Tampa, but those are under special conditions, like how rail traffic is low in the area. Brightline likely thinks they can get a cost-share with Sunrail for the 417 corridors.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: JaxAvondale on March 15, 2021, 08:35:54 PM
^ I don’t think Disney needs to. This is (I think) the first time there’s been a passenger rail plan that Disney has agreed to with any degree of enthusiasm, and it’s possible that them being the only intermediate entertainment stop (vs the convention center & Universal or SeaWorld) has something to do with that. Odds are the Disney line is going to be the most profitable on top of that (kinda has to be, seeing as there aren’t really any TOD opportunities besides maybe Meadow Woods).

Agreed! I don’t think Disney was ever going to agree with even with a train passing by International Drive especially with Epic Universe being opening within the next 4-5 years.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 15, 2021, 09:30:57 PM
Another point, while Sunrail and Brightline could share tracks, sharing of tracks between LRT and the typical heavy rail is generally discouraged. You'll find exceptions, like the trolley in Tampa, but those are under special conditions, like how rail traffic is low in the area. Brightline likely thinks they can get a cost-share with Sunrail for the 417 corridors.

Yes, Sunrail isn't LRT but I suspect they'll still operate on their own track within the Brightline rail ROW. Also, the Tampa trolley operates on its own track but it does cross a seldom used freight rail line in Ybor. The San Diego Trolley is one of the rare exceptions where I've seen LRT and freight on the same track. I assume the freight must run overnight on some of the industrial spurs on that system.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on March 16, 2021, 12:38:37 AM
Another point, while Sunrail and Brightline could share tracks, sharing of tracks between LRT and the typical heavy rail is generally discouraged. You'll find exceptions, like the trolley in Tampa, but those are under special conditions, like how rail traffic is low in the area. Brightline likely thinks they can get a cost-share with Sunrail for the 417 corridors.

Yes, Sunrail isn't LRT but I suspect they'll still operate on their own track within the Brightline rail ROW. Also, the Tampa trolley operates on its own track but it does cross a seldom used freight rail line in Ybor. The San Diego Trolley is one of the rare exceptions where I've seen LRT and freight on the same track. I assume the freight must run overnight on some of the industrial spurs on that system.
I know the Tampa system, and you're right. I oversimplified a bit. I didn't know that about the San Diego LRT. I assume that's on the extension south as the corridor was mostly industrial last I saw.

I disagree that they won't share tracks though. The Tri-rail coastal link (well a version of it) is going to be operated by Brightline on the same 2 tracks that FEC freight and Brightline passenger trains run every day. Brightline would probably only build 1 track without Sunrail, like they are doing next to SR528. With Sunrail, they'll likely build 2 tracks with at least one shared. Sunrail needs 2 tracks to get headways similar to the mainline.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 16, 2021, 11:07:18 PM
This should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but Brightline's Twitter responded to me (https://twitter.com/gobrightline/status/1372009471325638657?s=21) "#NeverSayNever" about an eventual service to or through Tallahassee.

Of course, it was in response to me pointing out that any such service wouldn't happen this decade, which I'm more than confident is still true. If Orlando opens in late 2022/early 2023, and Disney is anticipated by 2025/26, that means Tampa will probably be no earlier than that, which leaves Jacksonville (assuming they make the same track improvements as they have in South Florida) at best being the tail end of the decade, unless they start working on that concurrently with perhaps the latter half of the Tampa expansion. Which would leave Tallahassee NET the early-mid 2030s, which is still pretty out there unless they decide to build to Atlanta through there, which wouldn't really make much sense.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: JaxAvondale on March 16, 2021, 11:53:33 PM
This should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but Brightline's Twitter responded to me (https://twitter.com/gobrightline/status/1372009471325638657?s=21) "#NeverSayNever" about an eventual service to or through Tallahassee.

Of course, it was in response to me pointing out that any such service wouldn't happen this decade, which I'm more than confident is still true. If Orlando opens in late 2022/early 2023, and Disney is anticipated by 2025/26, that means Tampa will probably be no earlier than that, which leaves Jacksonville (assuming they make the same track improvements as they have in South Florida) at best being the tail end of the decade, unless they start working on that concurrently with perhaps the latter half of the Tampa expansion. Which would leave Tallahassee NET the early-mid 2030s, which is still pretty out there unless they decide to build to Atlanta through there, which wouldn't really make much sense.

I think you are right here. My other response here would be I could see some timelines accelerated if Biden/Congress approved a big infrastructure bill after midterms.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 17, 2021, 12:59:55 AM
^ There are better odds of them passing an infrastructure bill later this year or early next year than after midterms. The talk right now is $2 trillion by the end of the year.

The bigger questions there would be how Brightline would set up to accept federal money, and whether that does in fact work for their timelines. The other X-factor is that it's unclear if Florida would actually accept the money to build any infrastructure. Sure, Rick Scott isn't Governor anymore, but DeSantis might sing a different tune if it's infrastructure money as opposed to vital COVID relief money.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 26, 2021, 01:53:26 PM
Attended a brown-bag lunch for Brightline today. Ben Porritt says there's no specific timeline for Jacksonville yet, they're still focused on South and Central Florida. Probably something we already knew, just putting it out there.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 26, 2021, 04:01:50 PM
Yes, that's the plan. Jax should be working on other supportive transit initiatives in the meantime.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: jaxlongtimer on March 26, 2021, 06:49:45 PM
Interesting comment by Nat Ford to St. Johns County officials today.  Not holding my breath.

Quote
...Ford noted Friday morning that a portion of the $3.36 million devoted to JRTC Rail Terminal Project Development as part of the Jobs For Jax infrastructure program proposed by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry would go toward funding the design of, and receive cost estimates for a commuter light rail system that would connect St. Augustine to the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla.

Ford cautioned more examination is needed about commuter light rail, but discussions have already transpired.

"The better we move (people) the better Northeast Florida will become," Ford said....

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2021/03/26/st-johns-county-transportation-seminar.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=ae&utm_content=ja&ana=e_ja_ae&j=23339953 (https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2021/03/26/st-johns-county-transportation-seminar.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=ae&utm_content=ja&ana=e_ja_ae&j=23339953)
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 26, 2021, 07:01:47 PM
Wow, a portion of just $3.4 million. Really showing the commitment there.

But over a hundred times that amount for a system that becomes irrelevant the moment Tesla figures out how to make self driving work? Sounds great!
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 26, 2021, 11:15:12 PM
Who ever reported this is somewhat off. There is no commuter light rail. I assume they meant commuter rail down the FEC. I doubt commuter rail is feasible or really should be invested in on the FEC. That's a corridor I'd wait out to see what happens with Brightline.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 27, 2021, 11:34:16 AM
This should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but Brightline's Twitter responded to me (https://twitter.com/gobrightline/status/1372009471325638657?s=21) "#NeverSayNever" about an eventual service to or through Tallahassee.



Brightline is quickly looking to only be viable with government money.  NOt good for shareholders nor taxpayers.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 27, 2021, 03:05:57 PM
Who ever reported this is somewhat off. There is no commuter light rail. I assume they meant commuter rail down the FEC. I doubt commuter rail is feasible or really should be invested in on the FEC. That's a corridor I'd wait out to see what happens with Brightline.

So you're saying it'd make the most sense to focus on establishing commuter rail on the North and Southwest routes first, and let Brightline take care of the FEC for us? Interesting idea, although I imagine there'd be some difficulty in arguing for the less popular routes first. Although I suppose these timelines are long enough that Brightline negotiations might actually happen before any real discussion begins on commuter rail service again.

One thing I'm curious about is how in the time since the last commuter rail study, new rolling stock like Stadler's FLIRT is finally legal in America, and now it's being used or looked at in Texas, California, and probably other states in the early stages. JTA showed a preference for self-propelled cars in its study, now that it's more possible to do so I wonder where their thinking on that would be.

Also, I forgot to mention, Brightline also said (perhaps unsurprisingly) that it's likely Tri-Rail's rolling stock will just be used on the FEC for the commuter service being discussed. Nothing fancy.

Brightline is quickly looking to only be viable with government money.  NOt good for shareholders nor taxpayers.

Modern transportation in general is only viable with government money. The government pays for roads, and airports, and seaports. Florida built the Orlando terminal Brightline is now using, and the Meadow Woods station it will connect to, and the two toll roads they're using the ROW for, and I-4 which was widened specifically for rail. No country anywhere has a completely privatized transportation network, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on March 27, 2021, 03:38:40 PM
Who ever reported this is somewhat off. There is no commuter light rail. I assume they meant commuter rail down the FEC. I doubt commuter rail is feasible or really should be invested in on the FEC. That's a corridor I'd wait out to see what happens with Brightline.

So you're saying it'd make the most sense to focus on establishing commuter rail on the North and Southwest routes first, and let Brightline take care of the FEC for us? Interesting idea, although I imagine there'd be some difficulty in arguing for the less popular routes first. Although I suppose these timelines are long enough that Brightline negotiations might actually happen before any real discussion begins on commuter rail service again.

I don't have much faith in JTA getting a commuter rail system off the ground. It's just not their wheelhouse and Jax will be challenging, given the sick conditions of the downtown core and limited traffic congestion. Other than spending millions on more studies, I also don't see much of a scenario where JTA gets far enough along to do commuter rail on the FEC before Brightline starts to seriously look at that corridor. In the event that Brightline was ever extended into Jax, that intercity service could pretty much serve as a "no frills" commuter rail link between St. Augustine and downtown, with the First Coast Flyer being the parallel connection that makes stops in between the rail stations.

Also, the commute in and out of Clay County is worse than the commute between St. Johns and Jax. I would not be surprised if commuter rail made more sense between downtown and Clay County than it does between downtown and St. Johns. So, if they were phased, I'd focus on the CSX A line first, with the anticipation that a Brightline based investment could resolve things on the Southside and St. Johns County side of the river.

Quote
One thing I'm curious about is how in the time since the last commuter rail study, new rolling stock like Stadler's FLIRT is finally legal in America, and now it's being used or looked at in Texas, California, and probably other states in the early stages. JTA showed a preference for self-propelled cars in its study, now that it's more possible to do so I wonder where their thinking on that would be.

It's so far out in the future, the technology will likely have changed again by the time it becomes realistic locally.

Quote
Also, I forgot to mention, Brightline also said (perhaps unsurprisingly) that it's likely Tri-Rail's rolling stock will just be used on the FEC for the commuter service being discussed. Nothing fancy.

This would be sufficient. Nothing wrong with the no frills approach to the started. I wish more would go no frills than doing nothing until they secure funding for all the bells and whistles additions.
Title: public money for private profit
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 27, 2021, 03:59:17 PM

Modern transportation in general is only viable with government money. The government pays for roads, and airports, and seaports. Florida built the Orlando terminal Brightline is now using, and the Meadow Woods station it will connect to, and the two toll roads they're using the ROW for, and I-4 which was widened specifically for rail. No country anywhere has a completely privatized transportation network, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that.


You're avoiding the issue.  Brightline is a private corporation.  At the start their brand was we're going to do this privately.   So they're going to connect to the intermodal station at MCO.  Not a big deal.   In a mixed economy, there will be some overlap.

Since then, they've struggled to privately raise money.  This is a the richest capital markets ever.. like by a gillion miles richer than ever.

Then out of the blue, they're working with Miami to run commuter rail?



Sooo..... let's pivot to sports teams.  One of the current means local government use to subside sports teams ( public money for private profit ) is they give them stupidly fate contracts for things liek "managing the arena" and stuff like that on top of building the stadiums and arenas.


This is where my mind goes with the Miami stuff.  Is that just a way of pushing some $$$ there way?  Maybe it's not.  Devil's in the details.  But one detail that seems missing is an open bidding process for ongoing operating contract.

The problem isn't some weird purity thing like "oh no, Greyhound uses public streets".  It's liek hey, are they going to use this to shovel an extra $5, $10, $20 million a year brightline's way.  After all, no skin off their back.  It ain't their money.  And they get the immediate boost of having something shiny to claim as their doing.

RTD used this sort of public-private partnership to get around debt restrictions.   

It raises the question of what Brightline's angle on all fo this is going be.  They can barely raise the money in an easy capital market.  The boomers are retiring.  Capital markets are going to shrink.

yadda, yadda, yadda.

I'm not saying bad things are happening.  I'm just saying it has a smell.    Brightline's got billions in debts racked up and they're not even running.  They're going to be in bad need of cash flow.  Real bad.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: Pottsburg on March 28, 2021, 02:04:16 PM
If Brightline does make it, and eventually comes to Jax.  That’s when the city should step in and say hey I see you’re (FEC) going to double track, why don’t you just go to triple track and then the burden of slowing down freight is almost gone. Definitely would need major federal money though. There’s a running joke that a part cost 10x as much if it’s a railroad part.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on April 08, 2021, 12:55:30 PM
This is maybe not relevant, but did y'all know that LeAnna Cumber's husband, Hussein Cumber (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Husein_Cumber), is Chief Strategy Officer at Brightline's parent company? He even authored this report (https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/37735420/industry-report-all-aboard-florida-by-husein-cumber) when they were still All Aboard Florida a few years ago. I had no idea.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on April 13, 2021, 01:38:13 PM
^ indeed - the company has several Jax connections - but that hasn't made an extension up here likely anytime soon.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 13, 2021, 02:06:17 PM
They've been consistent the entire time since the AAF days. Miami to Orlando first. Orlando to Tampa second. Jax and anything else after those two are complete and up and running. The best thing Jax can do to prepare is the same thing as it was back in 2014. Make it worth their while to extend. Do things locally that will stimulate and feed riders into intercity rail and plan this stuff with TOD and other revenue producing opportunities in mind.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: ProjectMaximus on April 21, 2021, 02:00:16 AM
Brightline expanding service west of Miami? Yes please. This would connect to my hood :D

https://www.thenextmiami.com/brightline-rumored-to-be-negotiating-new-connection-to-west-miami-dade/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 21, 2021, 07:44:08 AM
They are building quite the system down there. I'd be interested to see how they'd get that line east of the airport to the main FEC corridor? Would it veer north near the airport and make that connection north of Little Haiti or do they have a new corridor in mind?
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on April 21, 2021, 11:25:55 AM
They are building quite the system down there. I'd be interested to see how they'd get that line east of the airport to the main FEC corridor? Would it veer north near the airport and make that connection north of Little Haiti or do they have a new corridor in mind?

I'd have a hard time thinking they would do something other than using their exisiting ROW.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 21, 2021, 11:38:51 AM
Can they get to Doral on ROW that they already own? I think they'd need to work with other stakeholders.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on April 21, 2021, 01:53:48 PM
The report attached to The Next Miami's article includes a map of rail ownership in the area on page 10. They can get some distance to their destination using their current ROW that ends just west of MIA, but they'll need to either build their own line or utilize the CSX ROW to the Turnpike.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on April 21, 2021, 02:44:56 PM
I see it now. I was wondering if they had a plan to directly connect the gap between the airport and their station in downtown Miami, since the FEC line runs well to the north.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on April 21, 2021, 04:02:18 PM
My bad I thought that line out to the Cemex plant was FEC.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: tufsu1 on April 21, 2021, 04:19:18 PM
Brightline expanding service west of Miami? Yes please. This would connect to my hood :D

https://www.thenextmiami.com/brightline-rumored-to-be-negotiating-new-connection-to-west-miami-dade/

This would be interesting indeed
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: WAJAS on April 22, 2021, 07:42:18 PM
All aboard? Plans for passenger rail service between Savannah and Atlanta getting on track
https://amp.savannahnow.com/amp/7138126002

Could high-speed rail running from Atlanta to Savannah connect with Brightline in Jacksonville? If Brightline wasn't so focused on the Tampa and Orlando extensions, I'd expect them to throw their hats in the ring as operators of the Savannah to Atlanta line as an extension of their future MIA to JAX service.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: acme54321 on April 22, 2021, 07:58:36 PM
Savannah's station is in almost as bad a spot as ours.  Imagine if it was in one of the old stations at the foot of I-16 downtown.  I'd ride the train there for that.  Well, if our station was downtown too...
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 10, 2021, 01:36:40 PM
Lol. That is not how things work in real life in St. Augustine and many other places. St. Augustine's 5 member commission is made up of three historic preservationists as Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and councilmember and a professor of natural sciences at Flagler that is an staunch environmentalist. There are countless developers that would love to build large  or even medium multi-family projects in the city of St. Augustine, but yet there are none. The citizens of St. Augustine will only elect people that have come up through the ranks of their historic preservation boards and groups. These are people that do not need and would not take bribes and they run solely on the platform of protecting the character of St. Augustine.

But that's beside the point. It's extremely difficult to assemble enough land in the core of St. Augustine for anything with a substantial amount of units that is under 6 stories. For comparison, Vista Brooklyn is 308 units and is 10 stories. The monstrosity at River City is only 335 units. The senior housing at Newnan and Ashley is 6 stories with only 120 units (and a low parking count). The Southbank Apartments are only 185 units (is underparked) and is 7 stories.  Brightline will need a bare minimum of 200 units to make it worth their while.

Like I said, the most feasible option is going outside of the city limits and that is near the airport in unincorporated SJC and that isn't going to move the needle for Brightline.

I took some time this afternoon and gave one of St. Augustine's commissioners a call, and had a short discussion about where their thoughts were on transportation and associated development. I got an interesting response in the form of "we're nearly fully developed." But also, that JTA is apparently involved with the proposed Broudy development on King Street (https://www.news4jax.com/news/2019/05/14/proposed-development-could-be-game-changer-for-st-augustine/), and unless Brightline purchases property elsewhere that's where they expect rail access to be at. I guess it's comforting to see that's still being worked on two years later, but I don't know about the rest.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 10, 2021, 04:54:24 PM
Brightline/FEC already have a station site they own behind the Winn-Dixie on US 1 near San Marco Avenue. If and when they come, I don't expect them to defer to JTA on where they will place their station. However, I don't think it will become an issue because I also don't see JTA having a commuter rail line up and running within the next generation or two.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 11, 2021, 11:33:41 AM
All aboard? Plans for passenger rail service between Savannah and Atlanta getting on track
https://amp.savannahnow.com/amp/7138126002

Could high-speed rail running from Atlanta to Savannah connect with Brightline in Jacksonville? If Brightline wasn't so focused on the Tampa and Orlando extensions, I'd expect them to throw their hats in the ring as operators of the Savannah to Atlanta line as an extension of their future MIA to JAX service.

Amtrak's got cash.  They're running around everywhere pushing the idea of these services.  Since their a corp, the money the state legislatures would pay them would count as revenue from Amtrak's point of view.

I haven't seen anything out of Georgia that looks like there's strong support state leg.  Maybe there is but it looks like Amtrak's usual dog and pony show to try to drum up some biz.   
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 23, 2021, 10:38:27 AM

Brightline just announced they're not going to be doing their Brightline West -connecting with Las Vegas with nowheresville in the Cali high desert - anytime soon.

So far not much has been said about it.  It could be that they found a big private investor and don't need to the public bonds.  More likely though is that yet again they were looking to see bonds on the market and not enough investors were interested.

Not sure what this means for a Tampa extension.  Orlando - Tampa should require less $$$ up front.  Although wiggling through the rest of Orlando from MCO is going to be pretty expensive but it'll at least have the perceived advantage of adding a direct Disney stop.

Maybe this really means nothing for the Tampa extension.  If it's cuz the capital markets don't like the business plan and aren't buying the bonds, that's probably not good for Tampa, either.   

Either way, IMHO, if one wants a smell at how badly these operations are bleeding money, note that Brightline still hasn't started back up.  And they have NOT made any __FIRM__ commitments as to when they're going to do that.  IMHO they're bending over backwards to conserve what cash they have in hopes of finishing up that Orlando extension.    If that WPB - FLL - MIA run was generating cash, they'd be a lot more anxious to get it started up and rolling.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 23, 2021, 01:04:20 PM
I thought it was accepted that they would reopen when the Orlando segment is complete. It doesn't make sense to run an incomplete project during a pandemic that still has millions not vacationing in Florida and thousands of South Floridians still working from home.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 23, 2021, 04:52:13 PM

Well, it made sense for them to run the incomplete project before.  The incomplete part didn't matter before.

And everything else is open and running, not only buses and airline flights but also Amtrak.   


So ya, it could be the pandemic.  But it's funny how for nothing else the pandemic is stopping it from running.  I mean, if Amtrak's safely operating why not Brightline?

I'm a lil curious if they didn't more or less lay off all the employees they had for operations and now need to rebuild from scratch.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 23, 2021, 05:03:54 PM
Aren't they also still in the process of signal testing from the switchover to PTC they did during the pandemic? Is that complete yet?

So far, if I remember correctly, Brightline's stated target for reopening MIA-WPB has been end of this year. They certainly haven't missed that yet.

And in terms of Amtrak, they're technically still in the process of reopening. They only started running their longer-distance trains daily in the last few weeks once the American Rescue Plan funding came in. They're just starting now to bring traditional dining back to those trains.

Meanwhile, airlines are in a hiring crisis because they won't pay their workers enough, and buses are largely simple enough that many of them never actually suspended service entirely, although I think it was only a few weeks ago that JTA announced they were getting ready to lift their capacity limits.

It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility for Brightline to see how the transportation industry is weathering the storm and deciding that there's not a serious business case for restarting hobbled service now when they can wait a few more months, get things they needed to do anyway checked off (PTC) and reopen fully later in the year.
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: CityLife on June 23, 2021, 05:55:47 PM
So far, if I remember correctly, Brightline's stated target for reopening MIA-WPB has been end of this year. They certainly haven't missed that yet.

Yeah, it makes more sense for Brightline to be open during "season" (Late Fall to Spring) when they make far more revenue than to rush to open during summer.  Also, as you said, there is a huge service employee shortage and business travel (a big share of Brightline's users) is still not back to normal.

As to the money issues BL8 speculated about, they've actively been finishing up a lot of their railroad crossings north of WPB, so all indications are that things are still moving along fine.

Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: thelakelander on June 23, 2021, 06:21:02 PM
This was a comment in another forum about Brightline's delay to 2022 on the Las Vegas project:

Quote
Brightline is stalling for time because they have a good shot of getting billions from the Federal infrastructure bill.

When Trump was president they had to go it alone and were prepared to do so (those state bonds are a loan that needs to be paid back, after all). Now there's a chance Uncle Sam might kick in a few billion in free money, so why not wait?

https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=198371&page=89


Quote
Las Vegas-LA high-speed rail plan delayed until 2022

The company behind a planned high-speed rail line from Las Vegas to Victorville, California, is putting on the brakes until at least 2022.

Brightline West said Monday that it will wait until next year to request private activity bonds from Nevada and California that are essential for funding the project.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/tourism/las-vegas-la-high-speed-rail-plan-delayed-until-2022-2383729/
Title: Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
Post by: icarus on June 23, 2021, 08:05:37 PM
There construction of the Orlando line has not slowed down at all during the pandemic.  The company has already started hiring back employees  to resume rail service by the end of the year.

The company has also been in dicussions about offering more frequent service (hourly) in the completed section.

I doubt moving ahead with the Las Vegas line made mch sense during the pandemic and ceertainly a lot could be said for taking a wait and see approach on that project.