Author Topic: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa  (Read 87994 times)

WAJAS

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #345 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.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 02:38:47 PM by WAJAS »

JaxAvondale

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #346 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.

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #347 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.
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WAJAS

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #348 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.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #349 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 "#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.
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JaxAvondale

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #350 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 "#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.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #351 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.
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #352 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.
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thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #353 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.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #354 on: March 26, 2021, 06:49:45 PM »
Interesting comment by Nat Ford to St. Johns County officials today.  Not holding my breath.

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...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

marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #355 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!
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #356 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.
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #357 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 "#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.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #358 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.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #359 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.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali