Brightline people looking at expansion

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Brightline people looking at expansion
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 9:37 AM
Treasure Coast Newspapers
Jan. 12--WEST PALM BEACH -- The Treasure and Space coasts still are waiting for Brightline, yet the railroad already is looking beyond its original goal of passenger service between Miami and Orlando.
It's eyeing expansion to Jacksonville and Tampa.
And even as South Florida service gets underway Saturday, officials are exploring other parts of the country, such as Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, said to Wes Edens, co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, Brightline's parent company
"Our vision doesn't stop here," Edens said Friday at a media event. "Our goal is to look at other corridors with similar characteristics -- too long to drive, too short to fly."
MORE: Can Brightline, Treasure Coast coexist?
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Atlanta-Charlotte, Houston-Dallas and Houston-Austin could be good fits for the Miami-to-Orlando model being developed in South Florida, he said.
Brightline is to officially begin passenger service Saturday morning.
For now, service is limited to the 40-minute trip between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
The railroad will extend service to Miami later this year with full service to Orlando still several years away, likely sometime in 2020.
The national, Fort Lauderdale and Broward County elected officials who spoke at the festive, confetti-strewn event Friday celebrated the start of limited service as a milestone moment, more than six years in the making.
West Palm Beach officials, however, were more circumspect in their remarks.
Brightline recently has come under fire in Palm Beach County -- which generally has supported the project -- for having not yet installed quiet zones.
Until Brightline finishes necessary safety upgrades, communities along the corridor will have to listen to the passenger train's train horns up to 20 times a day.
Ali Soule, Brightline public-affairs director, said the company is "committed to beginning construction on the remaining improvements this month" and that Brightline likely would finish the improvements in March.
Local governments must apply to the Federal Railroad Administration to request safety zones but cannot begin that process until Brightline completes its work, Soule said.
Brightline President Patrick Goddard, meanwhile, said outreach to the many Treasure Coast residents who oppose Brightline will continue.
Goddard, who recently succeeded former New York Mets executive Dave Howard as president, said he hoped the launch of South Florida service would prove that Brightline has economic and tourism benefits to Floridians statewide.
"Try our train," Goddard said. "It's a positive, transformative venture that I think all will appreciate as they get to know us a little bit better."
Local opponents have long stressed that the Treasure Coast would see all of Brightline's potential hazards -- such as risks to safety, health and quality of life -- without enjoying the benefits of a stop.
That could change though, Edens and Goddard said.
Once full service is running and profitable, Brightline will look into adding additional stops, and on the Treasure Coast, Stuart and Vero Beach would be likely candidates, Edens told USA Today.
Brightline would aim to provide Stuart-to-Orlando service in less than 50 minutes, Edens said.
A Brevard County station also is in the running, Goddard said.
"We're open to discussing anything," he said. "Who knows what the future will bring?"
Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay and Rockledge already have submitted proposals for a stop to the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization.
Initial fares between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale are $10 each way for Smart Service, Brightline's coach class, and $15 for Select Service, Brightline's business class. Seniors, active military and veterans will receive a 10 percent discount, and children younger than 12 will ride for half price as part of discounted introductory fares.
Brightline's current schedule has 10 daily round trips on weekdays and nine on weekends between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Construction on the project's second phase -- from West Palm Beach, through the Treasure and Space coasts and on to Orlando International Airport -- could begin as soon as this month, Brightline revealed in December.
Treasure Coast Newspapers
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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 10:19 PM

To get an easment on the Beachline expressway, FEC signed a non-competition agreement, so there will be no Orlando-Cocoa service.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 11:07 AM

MidlandMike
To get an easement on the Beachline expressway, FEC signed a non-competition agreement, so there will be no Orlando-Cocoa service.

Do the folks there know this yet?  And who did "FEC" sign this non-compete with?

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 8:45 PM

My guess would be the operators of the Beachline Expressway, who would not want to see a reduction in toll revenue from Orlando Cocoa drivers.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:15 PM

matthewsaggie

My guess would be the operators of the Beachline Expressway, who would not want to see a reduction in toll revenue from Orlando Cocoa drivers.

 

Exactly.

https://www.cfxway.com/for-travelers/expressways/528/

 

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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, January 25, 2018 3:19 PM

I was told several years ago by locals that WDW had planned a monorail from the park to their properties near Vero Beach, but was rejected due to enviromental reasons. Probably the same ROW as the Beeline.

Maybe a urban or better a swamp legend...

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, January 25, 2018 5:27 PM

rdamon

I was told several years ago by locals that WDW had planned a monorail from the park to their properties near Vero Beach, but was rejected due to enviromental reasons. Probably the same ROW as the Beeline.

Maybe a urban or better a swamp legend...

 
  legend probably except for some pie in the sky official.  Run a 25 MPH monorail Disney - Cocoa ?  Certainly different than a 125 MPH HrSR
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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 25, 2018 9:50 PM

But CFX themselves are touting the 'multimodal corridor' to be built to the south of that road which will link the Orlando airport with the 'east coast.'  I guess parts of that coast are expected to be less multimodal than others.

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Posted by A McIntosh on Friday, January 26, 2018 12:51 PM

With word that CSX seems to be wishing to unload 8,000 miles of track, I wonder if Fortress/Brightline may want to partner with a regional in buying one of these lines to provide corridor passenger service, provided that the Florida service succeeds. Let the regional run freight and Brightline run passenger trains.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 26, 2018 1:17 PM

A McIntosh
I wonder if Fortress/Brightline may want to partner with a regional in buying one of these lines to provide corridor passenger service, provided that the Florida service succeeds. Let the regional run freight and Brightline run passenger trains.

This is an interesting thought, but a serious complication might be all the additional equipment needed to operate the additional train sets to cover the extended service at reasonable headway.

It might be useful to see, out of the 'accessible' corridors, if there is one that has the right real-estate investment potential to make the extension trick work.  Even with Fortress-scale access to capital, there are better opportunity-cost investments with better qual/quant risks otherwise...

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, January 28, 2018 9:43 AM

I think it's great they are starting to think out loud about outside of Florida expansion.   However, they do need to focus on their markets first in Florida and prove the concept first over a period of a few years before expanding outside of the state.   In my opinion.    Expanding too fast was one of the contributing factors of the Auto Train collapse.

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Posted by Pottsburg on Friday, February 02, 2018 5:56 PM

Overmod

 

 
A McIntosh
I wonder if Fortress/Brightline may want to partner with a regional in buying one of these lines to provide corridor passenger service, provided that the Florida service succeeds. Let the regional run freight and Brightline run passenger trains.

 

This is an interesting thought, but a serious complication might be all the additional equipment needed to operate the additional train sets to cover the extended service at reasonable headway.

It might be useful to see, out of the 'accessible' corridors, if there is one that has the right real-estate investment potential to make the extension trick work.  Even with Fortress-scale access to capital, there are better opportunity-cost investments with better qual/quant risks otherwise...

 

Remember Fortress sold FECR to GrupoMexico who also has a lot of cash and is looking to expand in the US.  Also since brightline is going to own the land and rail west to Orlando, I wonder if they will contract out all of the services there? Or just let FECR employees work it?

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