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Lakelander Mar 22, 2012 7:45 PM

The Brightline/Virgin Thread
 
Jacksonville-based FEC has just announced they are moving forward with developing their own statewide passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami. They plan to have it up and running by 2014 before expanding it to Tampa and Jacksonville.

http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/...ographic-L.jpg

Quote:

Nation’s First-of-its-Kind Privately Owned and Operated System Will Connect Florida’s Largest Cities

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. (FECI), the owner of Florida’s premier passenger rail corridor, is developing a privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail service to connect South Florida and Orlando, which will be operational in 2014. By connecting the most visited city in the United States with South Florida’s business and vacation destinations, the passenger rail project, called All Aboard Florida, is designed to serve Florida’s growing number of business travelers, as well as families and tourists traveling for pleasure.

The All Aboard Florida passenger rail project will connect South Florida to Orlando through a 240-mile route combining 200 miles of existing tracks between Miami and Cocoa and the creation of 40 miles of new track to complete the route to Orlando. Eventually the system could be expanded with connections to Tampa and Jacksonville.

More than fifty million people travel between South and Central Florida annually, largely over highly congested highways. All Aboard Florida is envisioned to transform the way people travel throughout the state, offering a faster, safer, and more enjoyable mode of transportation between Florida’s two largest metropolitan areas.

Targeted to begin service in 2014, the approximately $1 billion project will operate on a regular schedule throughout the day transporting business and leisure passengers between South Florida and Orlando in approximately three hours.
Full article: http://www.businesswire.com/news/hom...-Plans-Private

Rail>Auto Mar 22, 2012 8:11 PM

This is great news. What kind of speeds is FEC planning on? Unfortunately I doubt it will be the full 220 mph high speed rail but I'm hoping it will be faster than Amtrak.

Lakelander Mar 22, 2012 9:06 PM

The top speed would be 110mph.

Quote:

The train, with a top speed of 110 mph, would target the millions of people who travel between Central and South Florida. The trip would take about three hours.

If the route is as successful as FECI hopes, it could be expanded to Tampa and Jacksonville, the company said.

Fares were not announced, nor were exact stops. Barney said feasibility, revenue and ridership studies could be ready within a couple of months.

It is unclear how the train would get the 40 miles from the east coast to Orlando, and whether it would link with Orlando International Airport or Walt Disney World. The most likely way to get to Orlando would be along the right of way of the BeachLine Expressway, which is jointly owned by the state and Metro Orlando's expressway authority.

The proposed route appears similar to the second leg of a high-speed train system that Gov. Rick Scott scuttled last year. Many experts said the Miami-Orlando leg would have had more potential than the Tampa-to-Orlando route that Scott nixed.

Few public officials and transit experts in Central Florida had heard of the proposal Thursday.

MetroPlan, which sets transportation policy in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, had not been notified, said spokeswoman Cynthia Lambert.

And officials at the Florida Department of Transportation had only seen the news release.

But FDOT spokesman Dick Kane said, "The department is always willing to listen to private sector proposals to the tune of $1 billion."
full article: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...ssenger-trains


I'm guessing that this is a way for them to become a freight player in Orlando and Tampa. Currently, CSX is the only major rail carrier in those metros. This should be big news around the state over the next couple of days, as the details come out.

bobdreamz Mar 22, 2012 10:17 PM

Interesting proposal to say the least. If it does come to fruition it will probably kill Amtrak's route between Miami & Orlando. I have personally riden the Amtrak route and it takes about 6 hours since they stop at every podunk town in between so this would be a vast improvement.
As for building an extra 40 miles of track between Cocoa & Orlando I wonder if the state and the Orlando Expressway Authority would cede a right of way to the FEC since the SR 528 / Bee Line Expressway is a tolled road.
If it follows the Bee Line route it will obviously connect to the Orlando Airport & continue west until it would eventually intersect with Sunrail whenever that gets down to Orlando.

sammyg Mar 22, 2012 10:20 PM

How much track do they currently control? It seems like it would take longer than 2 years to build out that line, with stations.

Lakelander Mar 22, 2012 10:37 PM

They already have 200 miles of track in place and in great condition. To get to Orlando, they would need to build 40 miles of track. I assume they'll probably want the median of the BeachLine, which is what the HSR project Rick Scott killed was going to use. That would give them a straight shot right into OIA, International Drive, Sunrail connectivity and Disney. I imagine, this will kill Amtrak's horribly operated service statewide, assuming the two entities don't end up teaming resources for this system (ex. like California's Amtrak corridor operations).

Quote:

FECI also can count on the backing of U.S. John Mica, R-Winter Park, chairman of the House transportation committee.

"This is the type of private sector initiative that has my strong support," Mica said in a statement. "Hopefully this project will be a national model to demonstrate the efficiencies of private sector transportation projects that do not put the taxpayers at risk."

Barney said FECI has not reached out to Disney or most public officials. The announcement, she said, was a way to let people of their intentions. "Today really begins our conversation," she said.

Probably the biggest potential hurdle to the train is finances. Few mass transit systems are privately run because they are so expensive to start and operate. Government often underwrites them instead.

But Barney said FECI should be able to overcome the expense because its rail company already owns 200 miles of what would be a 240-mile route from Miami to Orlando. It also owns trains, but they haul freight, not passengers.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...ssenger-trains

hammersklavier Mar 22, 2012 11:58 PM

Like all American railroads of a certain age, the FEC once operated passenger trains, too.

Lakelander Mar 23, 2012 12:52 AM

Yeah, they basically built Florida a century ago. It appears like their dusting off Henry Flagler's old game plan of using rail infrastructure to spur supporting land development.

ardecila Mar 23, 2012 12:54 AM

Hmm... Financially this is very unusual. It's certainly possible for FEC to recoup their operating costs from ticket sales, but to also recoup $1B in capital expense? That's a very tall order.

It makes me think that FEC will be demanding a grant from the Feds somehow (which requires the Feds to HAVE a grant program...) Maybe Mica will support additional HSR funding if private groups like this step up to operate.

I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm strongly in favor of additional and better rail service for the US and don't really care whether it's Amtrak or private, so long as it interfaces well with the national system. Amtrak has strong institutional inertia and a resistance to change, which is only reinforced by the subsidies they get year after year regardless of their ridership. It sounds like FEC has already committed to providing a good customer experience with frequent service, wifi, and good food.

Lakelander Mar 23, 2012 1:06 AM

For years, there has been talk about connecting Orlando to the Port Canaveral area with freight rail services. While this is being billed as passenger rail, there's no reason the track could not be used to get FEC and NS into two major Florida markets (Orlando and Tampa) where CSX is currently the only major player. Over the next few months, we'll find out more about their real game plan but I wouldn't doubt if freight access to Orlando, Tampa, and Port of Tampa is a "side benefit." It also looks like they'll probably want the State to donate the ROW that was set aside for HSR. This should be interesting.

ardecila Mar 23, 2012 1:33 AM

If the track is built to high-speed standards with the possibility of future electrification, that's fine by me.

llamaorama Mar 23, 2012 2:24 AM

Something I noticed about the FEC's line looking at maps is that it very directly and conveniently serves the center of all the coastal cities in Florida.

If there was a freight line that could be repurposed for passenger use, that would be it.

Kngkyle Mar 23, 2012 2:34 AM

This makes a lot more sense than the Tampa to Orlando line proposed a few years ago.

electricron Mar 23, 2012 2:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5638138)
If the track is built to high-speed standards with the possibility of future electrification, that's fine by me.

Look at the Beeline Expressway using Google Earth or another mapping program. It's almost straight as an arrow. Building within the median of the tollway would require grade separation, at least on the new tracks. So, it'll be perfect for upgrading to HSR operations in the future.
The only real problems I see with using the median of the Beeline is once that corridor reaches Orlando. There's several highway bridges over the Beeline, I assume with concrete pillars in the median holding the overpasses up that the rail line would have to avoid, while at the same time the width of the median shrinks to almost nothing just north of the airport property. Of course, the rail line could leave the median and enter airport property. It'll have to to reach the existing wye just south of the Beeline anyways. I'm just not sure of the geography of that area, if such a rail routing would be possible. Don't forget, freight trains don't like grades, and we all know FEC would also want to run freights over the new line.

electricron Mar 23, 2012 2:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kngkyle (Post 5638213)
This makes a lot more sense than the Tampa to Orlando line proposed a few years ago.

Tampa to Orlando, had projected costs over $2 Billion, and was less than 100 miles long. This proposal early projections has projected costs around $1 Billion, and is 240 miles long.

What worries me most about this proposal is the lack of stations between Orlando and West Palm Beach. You would think a station in Melbourne/Coco area would be appropriate, if only to connect to the cruise terminals at Cape Canaveral.

tayser Mar 23, 2012 2:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5638138)
If the track is built to high-speed standards with the possibility of future electrification, that's fine by me.

125mph/200kph would be perfect over this distance, the economics would probably skew off the rails (pardon pun). Having trouble finding the main / existing line already in situ to have a look at the type of curvature and the like.... anyone want to help out? lol

Miami-Orlando - what would a potential stopping pattern me?

Miami - For Lauderdale - West Palm Beach - Melbourne - Orlando? Too many stops would slow the service down too much if you go above 125m/200kph top speed trains

tayser Mar 23, 2012 2:59 AM

Actually found it (mainline) - it's incredibly straight which is conducive to higher-speeds outside the urban areas but three issues I can see just looking at Sat maps:

1) a lot of single track
2) heavily urbanises around the track
3) level crossings galore!

Lakelander Mar 23, 2012 3:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5638219)
Tampa to Orlando, had projected costs over $2 Billion, and was less than 100 miles long. This proposal early projections has projected costs around $1 Billion, and is 240 miles long.

What worries me most about this proposal is the lack of stations between Orlando and West Palm Beach. You would think a station in Melbourne/Coco area would be appropriate, if only to connect to the cruise terminals at Cape Canaveral.

They haven't announced station locations yet. I'm sure there will be a lot more stations along the corridor. The graphic is just for illustrative purposes. Also, the Tampa/Orlando HSR project cost so much because it was HSR. This will be traditional trains at speeds of 110mph using a line where 200 miles of track are already in place. I'm interested to see if it will be strictly long distance intercity rail, corridor service like the Pacific Surfliner, or a mix of both. I'm hoping its a mix of both because Florida needs corridor service moreso than rail that skips past population centers (ex. Daytona, Melbourne, St. Augustine, Lakeland, etc.) between the four major metros.

goat314 Mar 23, 2012 3:36 AM

Yeah...Private Rail! Only a billion dollars for hundreds of miles of rail. Wow! Let me guess...they only need $999 million in public assistance. :rolleyes:

Lakelander Mar 23, 2012 3:51 AM

200 of the 240 miles are already in place and used by the FEC for freight service.

http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/...48_p295A-L.jpg

http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/...82_XLJso-L.jpg

Many of the cities already have existing stations still remaining in their downtown cores from the time when FEC ran passenger trains (they stopped in 1968). The last 40 miles appear to be state owned ROW in the middle of the Beach Line Expressway, which would connect the FEC directly with Orlando International Airport and Sunrail (now under construction). We're all waiting for more detail but I wouldn't be surprised if the plan calls for the State to let them use the ROW that had been reserved for the HSR project Rick Scott killed last year.

Also, FECI has a real estate development arm called Flagler Development.

Quote:

BIRTH OF A LEGACY

Our company was founded in 1892 by Henry M. Flagler, an American pioneer who played a key role in Florida’s development.

It was Henry who recognized Florida’s potential. He developed dozens of resorts along Florida’s east coast and his Florida East Coast Railway system to transport visitors. His rail line stretched 351 miles from Jacksonville to Miami. This essential infrastructure led to and supported the major agricultural and commercial boom that took place in Florida in the early 1900s.

While expanding his railroad, Henry amassed a significant portfolio of Florida land, which laid the foundation for our real estate company. Throughout the nineties, Florida East Coast Industries—the holding company for the railroad and Henry’s land portfolio—grew into one of Florida’s commercial real estate leaders with 55 office and industrial buildings and 19,000 acres of land in Jacksonville, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

WE ARE THE LEGACY

In 2007, Florida East Coast Industries was purchased by Fortress Investment Group. Shortly thereafter, Fortress separated the railroad and real estate subsidiaries into two separate companies—Flagler and Florida East Coast Railway—so each could focus on its primary line of business.

Today, Flagler is positioned as a private real estate investment trust (REIT) and is recognized as Florida’s most trusted and proven full-service commercial real estate company.
http://www.flaglerdev.com/

They operate somewhat different from larger companies like CSX. Don't be surprised if opening additional land up to TOD and industrial development is a part of their long term strategy.

Policy Wonk Mar 23, 2012 5:40 AM

They just hired Eugene Skoropowski out of retirement who ran the Capital Corridor in California to run the operation.

In any event - this proposal is mostly born out of the state republicans desire to privatize Tri-rail and Sunrail.

My understanding is they are going for MotivePower locomotives and Bombardier Bi-Level coaches. Top speed 111mph.

ardecila Mar 23, 2012 5:56 AM

That bodes well. The Capital Corridor is extremely well-run by American standards.

brickell Mar 23, 2012 3:17 PM

Bring it back!

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5299/5...3aab49b2_b.jpg

eternallyme Mar 23, 2012 3:24 PM

More "local" stations would be good, I agree. That kind of service should have an "Express" level service (only the big cities) and a "Local" level service (mid-sized cities also served)

electricron Mar 23, 2012 5:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eternallyme (Post 5638740)
More "local" stations would be good, I agree. That kind of service should have an "Express" level service (only the big cities) and a "Local" level service (mid-sized cities also served)

Aren't TriRail and SunRail formed for the purpose to provide that "Local" service? Leave FEC to run the more lucrative and profitable "Express" service. It's going to be hard to achieve 3 hours between Miami and Orlando if the "Express" trains have to stop at every station cities might build along the line.
Here's a refresher course for elementary school math:
240 miles / 3 hours = 90 miles/hour average.
240 miles / 4 hours = 60 miles/hour average.
240 miles / 5 hours = 48 miles/hour average.
Note: Amtrak - per their pdf train schedules - takes 5 hours and 3 minutes to traverse 265 rail miles between Orlando and Miami, averaging 53 miles/hour. Some of that is probably schedule padding. Never-the-less, the FEC route is 15 miles shorter, and possibly two hours faster. Much of the time savings will come by having fewer stops along the way, along with going faster.
Amtrak's trains at least stop at *Orlando*, Kissimmee, Winter Haven, Sebring, *West Palm Beach*, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, *Fort Lauderdale*, Hollywood, and *Miami*. Four stops vs ten, which do you think will be faster? With ten stops Amtrak averages 26 miles between stations, while with 4 stops FEC would average 60 miles between stations. How far are people willing to drive to catch a train, 30 miles on average or 13 miles?
I suggest having many more stops will just slow the train down. FEC is probably correct limiting station stops to as few as possible to increase average speeds of the trains. Personally, I would like to see another station added near Melbourne for capturing cruise line passengers at Port Canaveral, but that's about it for the "Express" service.
Combining "Express" and "Local" services on the same tracks would require far more passing sidings, more signals, and therefore far more money. I don't think FEC desires to get into the "Local" train business. Having two types of services automatically requires having two train sets. A single train set capable of transversing the route in 3 hours, could make two, possibly three round trips in a day, and still have 6 hours layup time for daily maintenance.

J. Will Mar 23, 2012 6:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5638942)
here's a refresher course for elementary school math:
240 miles / 3 hours = 90 miles/hour average.
240 miles / 4 hours = 60 miles/hour average.
240 miles / 5 hours = 48 miles/hour average.

ok

aquablue Mar 23, 2012 7:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J. Will (Post 5638972)
ok

That's funny. If it really average 90mph, that would be faster than Acela! So much for America's premier rail service:yuck:

I would have preferred if they electrified the line though. Diesel trains are so yesterday. If they electrified the rail they could have run tilting trains at 125-150 mph.

electricron Mar 23, 2012 7:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5639068)
That's funny. If it really average 90mph, that would be faster than Acela! So much for America's premier rail service:yuck:

I would have preferred if they electrified the line though. Diesel trains are so yesterday. If they electrified the rail they could have run tilting trains at 125-150 mph.

Florida gets hit by hurricanes fairly often. As is, FEC closes up when hurricanes are predicted to hit shore. Can you imagine taking months to resort service replacing downed power lines every time. With diesel locomotives, you don't need to wait for replacing downed power lines. Just waiting for the tracks to be cleared of fallen trees is already long enough.

aquablue Mar 23, 2012 7:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5639083)
Florida gets hit by hurricanes fairly often. As is, FEC closes up when hurricanes are predicted to hit shore. Can you imagine taking months to resort service replacing downed power lines every time. With diesel locomotives, you don't need to wait for replacing downed power lines. Just waiting for the tracks to be cleared of fallen trees is already long enough.

Good point, but so does Taiwan and Southern China. It hasn't stopped them. I don't buy that excuse. Come on now!

Anyway, if it really averages 90 with a top speed of 110mph, that is impressive for a diesel service! The tracks must be straight as an arrow if it can do this with few curves to slow it down. 3 hours is a decent time to compete with a plane. I assume the flight would be around 40mins or so.

They need to bring the train into downtown Miami though to make it convenient.

N830MH Mar 23, 2012 7:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail>Auto (Post 5637673)
This is great news. What kind of speeds is FEC planning on? Unfortunately I doubt it will be the full 220 mph high speed rail but I'm hoping it will be faster than Amtrak.

Yes, this is world fastest train. I like more speed. How about 300mph? Can they do that?

aquablue Mar 23, 2012 7:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N830MH (Post 5639090)
Yes, this is world fastest train. I like more speed. How about 300mph? Can they do that?

?

Are you OK? World's fastest train in Florida? HAHAHAHA

NO, it requires MAGLEV for that. This is America, where they can't even get a regular High Speed rail line that France had in the 60's.

N830MH Mar 23, 2012 8:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5639095)
?

Are you OK? World's fastest train?

NO, it requires MAGLEV for that.

Oh yes, I feel fine. I don't have any problem at all but, thanks for your concern.

Lakelander Mar 23, 2012 8:25 PM

Don't forget that this is a freight rail company. The goal isn't making a HSR line. It's providing efficient reliable intercity rail service at an affordable cost.

tayser Mar 24, 2012 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5639088)

Anyway, if it really averages 90 with a top speed of 110mph, that is impressive for a diesel service!

Many of the mainlines in the UK have been doing 125mph/200kph since the 70s.

Video Link

ardecila Mar 24, 2012 3:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5639083)
Florida gets hit by hurricanes fairly often. As is, FEC closes up when hurricanes are predicted to hit shore. Can you imagine taking months to resort service replacing downed power lines every time. With diesel locomotives, you don't need to wait for replacing downed power lines. Just waiting for the tracks to be cleared of fallen trees is already long enough.

Power lines get destroyed because trees or buildings fall on them. Power lines or railroad catenary has very little cross-section in the wind, so I doubt there would be much of an issue if the poles have strong foundations and any nearby trees are removed along the line.

You could also use a third-rail system, but that's not a good idea in flood-prone areas for obvious reasons.

aquablue Mar 24, 2012 4:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tayser (Post 5639497)
Many of the mainlines in the UK have been doing 125mph/200kph since the 70s.

Video Link

What do they average on a similar journey length?

waltlantz Mar 24, 2012 8:52 AM

There has got to be more to this than meets the eye.

Then again it is a Florida only service and I doubt the freight companies would take on extra duties if they didn't think they could make some money off of it.

I don't know how much of an effect this will have on influencing companies and governments nationwide though. On the one hand it could show that rail IS viable in America today. On the other it could set up the prerequisite of "100% private or bust". And then what of places that have extensive commuter services that constantly have to haggle with the freight companies.

Sure Japan and the UK do have private service, but they are remnants of an even LARGER public service before, in many cases passenger service would be brand new to the public (as few people take Amtrak outside the Northeast regularly).

Again VERY INTERESTING, but I wanna see some more info..

tayser Mar 25, 2012 1:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5639668)
What do they average on a similar journey length?

There's more variables to take into account.

In 2006 I was on the Flying Scotsman (the name historically given to the 10am departure from King's Cross to Edinburgh on the East Coast Mainline) - only stopped at Peterborough, York and Newcastle before Edinburgh. If memory serves me correctly it was 4h and 20 minutes.

The ECML is 632km / 393m long, so the average speed would have been roughly 160kph/100mph

Lakelander Mar 25, 2012 1:12 AM

More details:

Quote:

Private passenger train vision calls for double-tracking Florida East Coast
TRAINS.com

March 23, 2012

MIAMI – Even if 40 miles of new track are not built by 2014, a new privately-run passenger service in Florida may run anyway, the head of passenger rail development for Florida East Coast Industries tells Trains News Wire.

Eugene Skoropowski, who was named senior vice president of passenger rail development earlier this month, said the railroad would run on the existing FEC from Miami to Cocoa, and until the new extension was completed, it could offer connecting service at Cocoa to Orlando.

Skoropowski said that while months of studies remain, the company envisions operating trains on one-hour headways. He told Trains columnist Fred Frailey that the existing FEC would need to be double-tracked for the service. “The FEC once was double track, and all the sub-ballast and the bridges are still there,” Skoropowski said...

Skoropowski, well known in the railroad industry for his successful management of California's Capitol Corridor passenger service, said he looks at the new service as "Capitol Corridor East" but with a much bigger market.

...Financing the project may not be as large a hurdle as it would appear. Florida East Coast Industries’ parent Fortress Investment Group has $43.7 billion in assets and raised $4.2 billion in capital during 2011... Florida East Coast Industries has real estate expertise since it also owns Flagler Development Group, one of South Florida’s largest development companies. It owns 5,000 acres of land in the state, including nine acres in downtown Miami that would be used for new development, including a new passenger station.

Skoropowski said if the project moves ahead, the railroad would likely run trains at 79 mph from Miami to West Palm Beach, 110 mph from West Palm Beach to Cocoa, and 125 mph on the new segment to Orlando. He said two possible alignments are under consideration for the new Orlando route.
http://www.trainorders.com/discussio...721261,2722298

ardecila Mar 25, 2012 2:37 AM

Wait, they're not asking for government money? This is amazing.

I don't get how the FEC is a "much larger market" than the Capital Corridor, though. SF Bay + Sacramento have more people than South Florida + Orlando.

Lakelander Mar 25, 2012 2:45 AM

My guess is that they are adding up all the mid sized metropolitan areas between the two and the tourist population as well. Florida's East Coast is continuously populated with an assortment of beach communities.

Kngkyle Mar 26, 2012 5:22 AM

Here are some thoughts on the station locations:

--------
1. Downtown Miami. Link it up with the metrorail, which is currently being expanded to the airport and is almost done iirc. Shuttle buses to the port will connect the cruise ship passengers.

Port of Miami: 4.3m passengers
Miami Intl: 35.7m passengers
--------
2. Fort Lauderdale. Hook it up with the airport and tri-rail and again have shuttle buses to the port, which is very close to the airport.

Port Everglades: 3.7m passengers
Ft. Lauderdale Intl: 22.4m passengers
--------
3. West Palm Beach. Station at airport with tri-rail connection.

Port of Palm Beach: 500k passengers
Palm Beach Intl: 5.9m passengers
--------
4. Cape Canaveral / Port Canaveral

Kennedy Space Center: 1.5m visitors
Port Canaveral: 2.8m passengers
--------
5. Orlando. Station at airport, which is a straight shot along the BeachLine, connect with sunrail.

Orlando Intl: 34.9m passengers
--------
6. Disney World, assuming they are willing to build their own station & tracks. They may even want some of their own trainsets to ferry visitors between Port Canaveral (disney cruise lines), the airport, and Disney world. Definitely a partnership opportunity with Disney.

--------

Lots of potential here, hopefully it's done right.

Mr Man Mar 28, 2012 6:31 PM

100% privately built and operated rail service in Florida?

Is this an early April Fools joke?

I thought the Orland to Tampa HSR proposal was silly with unrealistic ridership growth projections. I was pleased to hear the money was reallocated to other areas where it made more sense for rail investment. (And don't bash me on this one -- I take a bus to and from work every day in one of the most auto dependent cities in the country. I support transit when it makes sense, but the Orlando to Tampa was just a political stunt IMHO because the demand was not there to justify the cost. It would make much more sense to connect two city centers that have very strong intercity transit networks. Orlando and Tampa don't even come close to say Chicago and St. Louis.)

But I kinda wish there was federal dollars invested in this one. Here you have a company willing to build and operate the entire thing itself. I wish there was a grant program to reward a rail company for taking such an investment. Maybe offering a 50% subsidy on operating costs or something... my two cents... I'm still in shock over this proposal.

Serenade Mar 28, 2012 6:55 PM

No way is this going to be profitable. Passenger rail needs public funding for a reason. The reason Amtrak exists in the first place is because Nixon bailed the freight rail companies (CSX, UP, BNSF) by releasing them of passenger rail obligation. I can't imagine this venture surviving more than a couple of years. This is Florida's pitiful attempt to spit at Obama but with major fail written all over it. Can't wait for Obama and Amtrak to tell them "told you so" when Florida finds out privatized passenger rail cannot survive.

brickell Mar 28, 2012 7:32 PM

:shrug: Well whatever Amtrak is doing down here is not working either. 2 daily departures from Miami, one of which takes 7 hours to reach Orlando.

Whether it's public or private, I'm just glad someone is stepping up to the plate.

Lakelander Mar 28, 2012 9:59 PM

FEC is also working with Amtrak and FDOT to have Amtrak operate on this corridor between Jax and Miami by 2015. This is setting up to be a huge money maker for FEC. Don't under estimate the amount of freight and real estate revenue they stand to profit.

202_Cyclist Apr 19, 2012 6:20 PM

New high-speed rail effort won't preclude train service on Treasure Coast
 
New high-speed rail effort won't preclude train service on Treasure Coast


By Henry A. Stephens
Treasure Coast Palm
April 18, 2012

"Treasure Coast officials and Amtrak supporters. who have been working for about 13 years to bring passenger service back to the Florida East Coast Railway, say they don't see All Aboard Florida as a threat.

"We're pleased to hear about All Aboard Florida," Amtrak Government Affairs Director Thomas "Todd" Stennis told his company's supporters last month. "Passenger rail is truly beneficial for everyone. The (All Aboard) and Amtrak projects are different projects with different interests. Both operations will benefit everyone on the FEC corridor."

His comments followed the announcement from Florida East Coast Industries, a Coral Gables real estate and transportation company affiliated with the Jacksonville-based railway, of plans to start an estimated $1 billion private passenger service that would cater to business travelers and tourists going between Orlando and South Florida with no stops in between..."

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/apr/...reclude-train/

Lakelander May 15, 2012 10:04 AM

FEC's ridership study will be complete next month. If it proves what they believe, construction will start next year. Also, it appears it will have four to five stops tops between Miami and Orlando.

Quote:

Miami to Orlando train proposal rolling down the planning tracks

So far, Cumber said, four stops appear certain for the train that has been dubbed All Aboard Florida: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The exact locations remain uncertain, except for Miami, where FECI owns nine acres downtown.

Missing as a possible stop is Cocoa, where the proposed train would veer west for Orlando. Bob Kamm, director of the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization in Viera, said Brevard County officials want to know if they will have any involvement with the system.

"All we would see is the negatives … if you are just blowing through and waving as you go by," Kamm said.

Cumber said the ridership study would determine if there is a Cocoa stop, but he added that the train's biggest appeal is that it would be faster to ride it to Miami or Orlando than drive a car. The projected travel time is three hours and two minutes, he said, compared with about four hours by auto.
full article: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...ssenger-trains

Lakelander Aug 10, 2012 1:17 AM

FEC has decided to move forward. Construction will start in a couple of months.

Quote:

Railway company to build passenger service from Miami to Orlando

By David Adams

Florida East Coast Industries said its "All Aboard Florida" project is financially viable without any need for federal and state grants or subsidies.

"After completing our due diligence we have decided to go through with it," said Husein Cumber, vice president of corporate development at Florida East Coast Railway, which operates the company's existing freight line.

Construction would begin in early 2013
full article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...8771MS20120808

ardecila Aug 10, 2012 1:35 AM

And so begins the grand experiment. I'll take any rail service improvement in the Sunbelt, public or private. At the very least, it will prove or disprove the existence of a market for rail travel.


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