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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..."

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.


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:

Lakelander Aug 10, 2012 1:17 AM

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


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:

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.

brickell Aug 10, 2012 1:59 PM

Still a lot to prove in my opinion, but good news just the same

Wizened Variations Aug 11, 2012 2:41 PM

I very much hope that FEC (the old Florida East Coast) has the opportunity to follow through with this, even with an up front subsidy of "reasonable" size.

Despite my very strong belief in steel rail transportation, I have not seen well designed, well built out, cost effective passenger transportation systems on any scale built in the US. From light rail to high speed rail, the nature of the "beast" involving multiple political jurisdictions, long term time scales to get financing after malodorous environmental impact statements inevitably produces local hucksterism of the worst sort.

A) Routes of light rail built in the US, from San Diego on, reflect real estate development more than public need on almost all size scales. This, IMO, is a function of the length of time required from the "idea" to the build out, and, the huge number of elected public officials soliciting funds for re-election along potential ROWs. Consequently, downtown station interfaces tend to be designed PRIMARILY to serve local real estate owners. Two classic examples: Sacramento and Denver, both of which reflect the will of one man selling his schemes to smaller players under the dream of a "great downtown." * In both cases, the potential for fast and efficient public transportation through the downtown core has been ruined.

B) Commuter rail. Post war commuter rail tends to be a hybrid with public agency train operators running on privately owned track (NYC, Boston, and, Philly are different in this regard). The right-of-ways tend to be used to some extent by freight operations, and, are of at least pre-WWII vintage. Outside of NYC, Chicago, Washington, and, Boston, where commuter trains have recently been installed, the downtown station interface tends to be poor designed for train movement and well designed for enhancing adjacent real estate values.

C) High speed rail. Pure political trash with every Tom, Dick, and, Harry, having their hands into the cookie jar. Despite the single digit billions of dollars** spent on designing, politicizing, and, advertising the idea, only one moderately high speed rail (MHSR) is actually being built, and, this one on existing, privately owned ROW.

I believe that, if FEC can keep multi-jurisdictional politics to a minimum, FEC could run a very decent passenger operation, with speeds higher than anything operating in the US during the "Golden Era" for about 20% of the price that governments could do it (and I am being generous to the government part of the equation here).

I wish them the best, and, will be an active supporter of FEC's effort.

Now, if the class I railroads find that the FEC idea, assuming it is built out, can bring profits to the bottom line by improving their track infrastructure, we might see some pretty nice passenger operations in the US around 2050.

*despite the relative decline of US downtowns since WWII, the relative power of central business districts politically remains high compared to suburban jurisdictional entities. At the very least, urban core politicians have the power to quash an entire project.

**Using the figure $5,000,000,000, and discounting facility and operating expenses, at $100,000 per year per employee, we are talking about 50,000 person years of high quality employment with very little concrete having been one. I am sure the actual figure is considerably higher.

M II A II R II K Aug 11, 2012 6:02 PM

sammyg Aug 11, 2012 7:45 PM

Hourly departures? Even commuter rail can't do that.

ardecila Aug 11, 2012 8:47 PM

Cool news about SOM. We should get something dramatic. I'm skeptical that the Cocoa Beach-Orlando line can be built in less than 2 years, but even at 3 or 4 years down the road it's still quite fast.

I dunno if FEC's experience is applicable elsewhere. The bread and butter of the Class Is is slow, lumbering freight traffic hauling heavy goods in bulk (coal, steel, grain, autos, etc). FEC hauls largely lightweight, high value cargo like produce, parcels, etc that can travel at the same average speed as a passenger train.

Lakelander Aug 12, 2012 4:59 AM

FEC's major income-earning sources are its rock (limestone) and intermodal trains.

donoteat Aug 12, 2012 5:33 AM

I understand that in order to keep its intermodal trains running at reasonable paces, the FEC just runs all its trains (including coal, limestone, other non-time-sensitive shipments) at 50mph+ to prevent delays, which is a somewhat unique practice in the railroad industry. Hence why passenger service is possible on its mainline.

ardecila Aug 12, 2012 5:40 AM

Ah, wasn't aware of that.

IIRC the intermodal trains are relatively light, with lots of airspace in the packaging of goods and such. Limestone is pretty heavy but I don't know how long the trains are or how frequently they run. It's not a time-sensitive cargo so it can probably be run at night. 12am-6am should be enough time for rock trains to travel the length of the Miami-Cocoa segment.

M II A II R II K Aug 15, 2012 10:57 PM

Hopefully it can be upgraded to have 200+ MPH trains on it afterwards, because the current top speed of 100 MPH would barely compete with highway driving, let alone replace short range air travel which high speed rail ideally is supposed to do.

BrennanW Aug 16, 2012 1:13 AM

Speed is only one way high- (or lets call this particular system medium-) speed trains compete with cars and airplanes. I personally prefer rail travel for its convenience. More frequent, city center to city center service that is more frequent and less hassle than flying, and a lot more relaxing and less stressful than driving.

The speeds and frequencies this project is planning is and will be very competitive. It will be very interesting to see what ridership is like after two or three years once people have adjusted their lives to the train's convenience. My guess is that lots of Floridians will beg for more and be willing to publically fund it.

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