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Brightline postpones Orlando extension opening until 2020

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Brightline postpones Orlando extension opening until 2020
Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, July 24, 2017 2:25 AM
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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, July 24, 2017 2:37 AM

Also announced they will serve alchol on the trains which could be risky for a Commutter Train operation but I can see the need to make money.    Attached link also has another onboard tour of the train with a large restroom.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-reg-brightline-town-hall-20170601-story.html

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, July 24, 2017 2:51 AM
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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, July 24, 2017 5:28 AM

We are all hoping for Brightline to actually become the first true profitable passenger train operation in decades.

But it will be a miracle for that to happen.

Perhaps the overall umbrella company will make money managing the real estate developments along the line - that may actually be their strategy to use the train operation as a loss leader to get businesses leasing office space and residents leasing condos in Fortress-owned transit-oriented developments.

If this passenger train operation turns a true unsubsidized profit - covering all operating expenses and all capital costs for equipment and roadbed plus a return for the owners - they will really have done something unique in the world.

One wonders how much of the FEC sale proceeds had to be plowed in to this endeavor to get it to an operational date, as the cash burn on this passenger train project has to be enormous.

If the Amtrak Capitol Corridor, Hiawatha and Surfliner operations need a subsidy, one has to wonder how the economics of this operation will be different.

 

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, July 24, 2017 7:31 AM

CMStPnP
Also announced they will serve alchol on the trains which could be risky for a Commutter Train operation

Someone needs a ride on the LIRR or MetroNorth trains in the afternoon rush hour!  

 

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, July 24, 2017 9:54 AM

kgbw49

We are all hoping for Brightline to actually become the first true profitable passenger train operation in decades.

But it will be a miracle for that to happen.

Perhaps the overall umbrella company will make money managing the real estate developments along the line - that may actually be their strategy to use the train operation as a loss leader to get businesses leasing office space and residents leasing condos in Fortress-owned transit-oriented developments.

If this passenger train operation turns a true unsubsidized profit - covering all operating expenses and all capital costs for equipment and roadbed plus a return for the owners - they will really have done something unique in the world.

One wonders how much of the FEC sale proceeds had to be plowed in to this endeavor to get it to an operational date, as the cash burn on this passenger train project has to be enormous.

If the Amtrak Capitol Corridor, Hiawatha and Surfliner operations need a subsidy, one has to wonder how the economics of this operation will be different.

Trend for the Hiawatha Service is declining subsidy, in fact I am surprised how little it costs for all the train freqencies we get between Chicago and Milwaukee and I forecast with the projected projects next to and around the Amtrak station in Milwaukee........the trend towards further reduction in subsidy for Chicago to Milwaukee is on it's way.    Thats if they go forewards with making the current large Post Office annex to the Amtrak station in Milwaukee a retail shopping mall as well as develop some planned apartments around the station......who knows though......all that could also could fall apart.    I am amazed at how busy the Bus Terminal at the Amtrak Station has become, you have to be there in the early morning 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. to see all the traffic but they do seem to serve a lot of Bus routes out of that small station.

Onto Brightline, it seems like they are rushing the real estate projects because the rail development fell behind.    It could be either encouraging sign or a disappointment they have postponed Orlando.    Right now it looks kind of encouraging they are holding out for the best and lowest cost capital deal to finance the Orlando extension...........seems like a smart move that would significantly lower their operating costs vs. just jumping at any finance deal to get the project done.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, July 24, 2017 9:56 AM

oltmannd
Someone needs a ride on the LIRR or MetroNorth trains in the afternoon rush hour!  

The difference there is they are both self-insured government operations.   If your a trail lawyer seeking a quick buck off a drunk driver.......are you going to sue the almost unlimited legal funds government entity (LIRR or Metro-North) or would you sue a private firm (Brightline) that is more eager to settle and move on as it sees that delaying a settlement only increases future settlement and or legal costs?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, July 24, 2017 7:58 PM

kgbw49

...

One wonders how much of the FEC sale proceeds had to be plowed in to this endeavor to get it to an operational date, as the cash burn on this passenger train project has to be enormous.

...

 

I hought the Miami-WPB leg was about built when the FEC sale went thru.  I assumed the proceeds would have gone to self finance the Orlando extension.  Did Fortress just pay it out in dividends?

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 24, 2017 8:41 PM

I'll be surprised if it ever gets built to Orlando.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, July 24, 2017 10:20 PM

Question for our posters in south Florida.  Could this Orlando delay be due to West  Palm Beach - Cocoa taking longer to upgrade than originally planned ?  Any reports of the WPB - COCOA progress ?

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Posted by Brian_Tampa on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:51 PM

The delayed start up date is due to issues getting financing. They previously said that after financing is in place, then it would take about 30 months to build phase 2 to orlando. They have almost all of the permits for phase 2 approved. They recently in april started the process to formally apply for a 1.75B RRIF loan. They considered this loan back in 2013 but went instead with PAB's which didn't work out due to disinterest in PAB's in general by investors. They have had some success with the EB5 visa program though. Bright Red should be delivered in another 2-3 weeks. Lots of PTC testing and signal work yet to be done. They have been cutting in new crossovers this summer.  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 1:57 PM

I hope they find a way to keep the financing completely private vs obtaining a Federal Loan.    If the system in Florida remains completely privately financed and it turns a profit.........it will open the door to other entrants.    If not, well then we are stuck with Amtrak.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:48 PM

CMStPnP
I hope they find a way to keep the financing completely private vs obtaining a Federal Loan.    If the system in Florida remains completely privately financed and it turns a profit.........it will open the door to other entrants.    If not, well then we are stuck with Amtrak.

Amtrak will exist long after Brightline

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:26 AM

BaltACD
Amtrak will exist long after Brightline

That could be the outcome but I am still in the benefit of the doubt phase vs throwing in the towel.    If Brightline is successful it would change the country's approach to rail corridor transportation much in the way that adoption of light rail has.   Though I think the ONLY reason FEC got involved in this experiment was that their 6 trains a day or so main line wasn't making a whole lot of money and was running well under capacity.

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Posted by Buslist on Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:39 AM

CMStPnP

 

 
BaltACD
Amtrak will exist long after Brightline

 

That could be the outcome but I am still in the benefit of the doubt phase vs throwing in the towel.    If Brightline is successful it would change the country's approach to rail corridor transportation much in the way that adoption of light rail has.   Though I think the ONLY reason FEC got involved in this experiment was that their 6 trains a day or so main line wasn't making a whole lot of money and was running well under capacity.

 

The reason FEC got involved was that their owners saw what they thought was an untapped opportunity. Heard that directly from a Rail America exec.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, July 27, 2017 1:46 PM

The future of Brightline may be complicated.

1.  If Brightline track gets to Orlando airport that service will be permanent either by Brightline or a bad choice Amtrak. 

2.  With track to Orlando FEC can run freight trains to Orlando with a connection from airport to Florida Central RR.  Trackage rights from Airport would probably be needed over Sun Rail to keep CSX from blocking access. "IF" Sunrail can make its route to airport by 2020 then that would fit ? That freight route would be faster than CSX from JAX.

3.  Proposed extension of Brightline to Tampa could be a game changer both Passenger and freight.  That may allow the already high Amtrak TPA <> south Florida STAR traffic to boom with an early TPA departure and late south Florida departures for the Florida east coast allowing same day connections to cruise ships for out of town visitors. Could be until Brightline route to TPA is built it could contract with Amtrak to operate Orlando <> TPA ?

4.  Extension of Brightline from Cocoa <> Jax could make for a connecting train station at Cocoa.  When the design of the Cocoa station is announced we can tell better Brightline 's plans.  Again if Brightline  ceases that would give Amtrak a good route.

Again Brightline's future will  determine how these options progress ?

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Thursday, July 27, 2017 2:56 PM

Fortress Investment is out of the picture after shareholders and stakeholders pointed out that every passenger train venture has been a money loser.

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Posted by A McIntosh on Thursday, July 27, 2017 3:44 PM

AAF or Brightline, whatever you want to call it, has always been linked with real estate development. It is simply a means to add additional value to the real estate portfolio. As to FEC freight service to Orlando, AAF says that this line from Coccoa is only for passenger. The same goes for the line over to Tampa, I suppose. If Brightline goes under, look for a contract passenger carrier to take it over. They and FECI can agree on service and price.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:38 PM

The best way to think of Brightline Florida is as a horizontal elevator that connects the developing downtown properties and thereby enhancing their value. If at any time the developing properties do not meet financial expectations: insufficient rentals, sales or leases then expect FECI's masters to pull the plug and cut their losses. The service will not be taken over by another party or the state. The contract with the vendor will be terminated, the equipment sold and the stations sold for some other use. Imagine a Starbucks with a view of the FEC main.

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Posted by Buslist on Thursday, July 27, 2017 9:05 PM

CandOforprogress2

Fortress Investment is out of the picture after shareholders and stakeholders pointed out that every passenger train venture has been a money loser.

 

Tell that to the private Railways in Japan.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, July 27, 2017 9:33 PM

blue streak 1

...

4.  Extension of Brightline from Cocoa <> Jax could make for a connecting train station at Cocoa.  When the design of the Cocoa station is announced we can tell better Brightline 's plans.  Again if Brightline  ceases that would give Amtrak a good route.

 

 

Brightlines agreement with the Beachline Expressway for ROW includes a non-competition clause, so there can never be a Cocoa Station (at least for local service.)

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Posted by Buslist on Friday, July 28, 2017 2:46 AM

CandOforprogress2

Fortress Investment is out of the picture after shareholders and stakeholders pointed out that every passenger train venture has been a money loser.

 

When did they bail? Any details?

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/03/28-all-aboard-florida-remains-with-fortress-after-fec-sale

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Posted by D.Carleton on Friday, July 28, 2017 4:09 PM

Buslist
CandOforprogress2

Fortress Investment is out of the picture after shareholders and stakeholders pointed out that every passenger train venture has been a money loser.

When did they bail? Any details?

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/03/28-all-aboard-florida-remains-with-fortress-after-fec-sale

This is either a reference to Fortress Investment Group selling FECR to Grupo Mexico (but keeping FECI) or Fortress being acquired by SoftBank. Either way, Fortress is still around, still owns the property aside from the railway and is still building Brightline Florida. Deal with it.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 12:23 PM

Appears that for some reason Brightline is posponing the opening of West Pam Beach - Fort Lauderdale to later in year.  The article is someone vague.  Maybe the whole MIA - WPB rote will be opened at same time.  There is a hint about signals.  Maybe some problems with PTC ?  With all the PTC problems around the country certainly would not surprize anyone here..   

Below is link to article very unclear.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/brightline-west-palm-miami-year-end/chdHJItoYLjUCcclTYArVL/

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 8:37 PM

blue streak 1

Appears that for some reason Brightline is posponing the opening of West Pam Beach - Fort Lauderdale to later in year.  The article is someone vague.  Maybe the whole MIA - WPB rote will be opened at same time.  There is a hint about signals.  Maybe some problems with PTC ?  With all the PTC problems around the country certainly would not surprize anyone here..   

Below is link to article very unclear.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/brightline-west-palm-miami-year-end/chdHJItoYLjUCcclTYArVL/

 

Well here in Texas, construction has to be completed and then you have to run around and get permits from the Health Dept, Fire Dept, and I believe the final inspection from the Building Inspector.     They roll all three together in some suburbs of Dallas but you have to submit a written request and it takes up to a week to a week and a half for them to complete all three.    I'll bet in a City such as Miami the process probably takes up to a month.      Not only that but typically you do not pass all three inspections unless your really good.     So the Fire Department might gig you on too many seats in a given area or not enough exits or extinquishers, you have to fix it and get inspected again.    They will let slide lack of fire extinguishers but not other items.    Healh department makes an inspection of restrooms and/or eating areas.     Building inspector checks out electric wiring and construction approach.     Anyhoo, article states some of the stations are still under construction so my guess is they have not been inspected yet or have not passed inspection.

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Posted by Buslist on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 3:05 AM

kgbw49

 

If this passenger train operation turns a true unsubsidized profit - covering all operating expenses and all capital costs for equipment and roadbed plus a return for the owners - they will really have done something unique in the world.

You need to become familiar with the private Railways in Japan. There are 16 major privates all meeting your criteria.

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Posted by Buslist on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 4:02 AM

blue streak 1

Maybe some problems with PTC ?  With all the PTC problems around the country certainly would not surprize anyone here..   

Below is link to article very unclear.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/brightline-west-palm-miami-year-end/chdHJItoYLjUCcclTYArVL/

 

 

What PTC problems are you referring to?

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Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 8:35 AM

Buslist

 

 
blue streak 1

Maybe some problems with PTC ?  With all the PTC problems around the country certainly would not surprize anyone here..   

Below is link to article very unclear.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/brightline-west-palm-miami-year-end/chdHJItoYLjUCcclTYArVL/

 

 

 

 

What PTC problems are you referring to?

 

Who knows?  The extended version of the article never mentions that the delay was because of PTC or other signaling problems.  It appears the necessary completion of the Miami terminal (track) is the main factor.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 11:37 AM

Is or has FEC installing  PTC on any of their existing lines?

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Posted by Buslist on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 1:48 PM

BaltACD

Is or has FEC installing  PTC on any of their existing lines?

 

They don't appear on any of the FRA reports that I can find so I guess not. No hazmat?

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