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Old Posted Oct 17, 2019, 4:53 AM
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Hatman Hatman is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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I did not expect the government to get involved with Brightline this early - or ever really. It muddies the water quite a bit, because every time people will try and claim that this is a private business built with private funds, there will now be exceptions.

On the bright side, this could be the end of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link project as this sort of model creates a situation in which more local governments build Brightline stations too, essentially replicating whatever service that Tri-Rail was going to provide. I trust Brightline to run their own trains on time much more than I trust two rail companies (actually 3 when freight is considered) to cooperate together.

Also, I'm going back to calling it Brightline. I like that name, I want to call the trains 'Brightliners,' and I hope that Virgin Trains will just keep everything as is - let VTUSA be the company name, and let Brightline be the service.

Last thing: This cool article I found about Brightline's other venture on the other side of the country:

Vegas to LA high-speed train looking more realistic

The best quotes:
Bob O’Malley, Virgin Trains’ vice president of corporate development, told the Clark County Commission on Tuesday that the Las Vegas to Victorville, California, rail line is on track to break ground in the middle of next year, with operations to start toward the end of 2023.

The station would be on Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads, moving away from a long-rumored site near the Rio.
I'm glad things are going forward so quickly, but I'm disappointed the station location changed. The old location (Rio) was to the west of the strip but well centered north-south. The new location is right on Las Vegas Boulevard, sure, but it is about as far away from the strip as downtown Las Vegas, only to the south. It's past the airport, and the buses the run up and down the strip would need to be extended a block or two in order to access the train station.

imilar to what it has done at one of its projects in Florida,Virgin Trains plans to build around the train station, which could include office, living and retail space, O’Malley said.

Design plans for the rail line are nearly 30 percent complete, and a construction crew has been hired, O’Malley said.
Then a discussion of the financing plan that is already known, which mainly hinges on approval of tax-exempt bonds from the Nevada Legislature. That vote is happening early next month.

Virgin is seeking $800 million in bonds to issue $2.4 billion in debt, or half the amount the company needs to finance the trains and the 185 miles of dual tracks along Interstate 15. The amount includes $600 million in bonds from California and $200 million from Nevada.
Dual tracks!
One of the reasons I am so enthusiastic about Brightline is that they build the infrastructure right. Miami Central is a fantastic Transit-Oriented-Development. Their train stations are entirely grade-separated and operate efficiently. The platforms are level with the train floor, and are further smoothed out by custom gap-filling technology. I remember reading that originally the extension between Coco and Orlando was supposed to be single-track (with over 20 bridges, this would be understandable from a costs perspective), but everything I've read recently says they will double-track this segment as well, which is awesome.
And of course there is this entirely new line between Victorville and Las Vegas. If you are designing an entire service from scratch, you can design where trains will pass each other and only construct a second track in that general area. If you known you need more fluidity later, you can build your bridges and grading for two tracks but only build one initially as a way to cut down on initial spending. But it seems like Brightline doesn't want to start small and build up. They must be expecting to run trains pretty frequently in order to double-track everything from the beginning, and I love their ambition!

Then this awesome statement:
The Las Vegas-to-Victorville line would be the first step toward linking Las Vegas to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.
I hope the same ambition that is driving them to build two tracks from the start will also drive them to build all they way to LA and not wait for the CHSR project, which at this point may not come within any of our lifetimes.
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