Brightline to Jacksonville

Discussion relating to the FEC operations, past and present. Includes Brightline. Official web site can be found here: FECRWY.COM.

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Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:08 am

I know we've probably discussed it here: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC, but it now appears that service along the FEC is more of a solid possibility for Brightline.

The Real Deal

Brightline rail service may extend to Jacksonville

The company that is preparing to launch passenger rail service next year between Miami and Orlando via Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach eventually may extend the service to Jacksonville.

All Aboard Florida (AAF), which expects to launch its Brightline passenger rail service by mid-2017, has formed an affiliated company called AAF Jacksonville Segment LLC.

AAF formed the affiliated company to secure rights to run a passenger rail service on the Florida East Coast Railway line between Jacksonville and Cocoa, located east of Orlando in the Cape Canaveral area.

AAF will be looking for ways to expand the Brightline rail service as soon as it begins, according to Mike Reininger, the company’s president and chief development officer.
...


There's more talk about the Jacksonville Intermodal Center, etc. This I believe would pretty much would preempt Amtrak ever running down the FEC if that's the case: that would be discussed here: Amtrak on the Florida East Coast FEC Jacksonville - Miami
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:53 pm

First step to getting out of having to build a 40 some mile passenger only line. If this service is to operate (and I must note that elevated rail structures are now being built at Miami Central), look for intermediate stops in each county. Look for the Brevard stop to be Cocoa, and a bus connection to Orlando.

While I must accept that there have been tangible steps to inaugurating the service, I have questions remaining that it will be operated for FEC's own account. Unfortunately I do not foresee any resulting subsidies to be, shall we say, "transparent".
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby D.Carleton » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:38 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:First step to getting out of having to build a 40 some mile passenger only line.

I'm comfortable repeating this since it was said in a public forum organized by the Orlando Business Journal: the head of Orlando International Airport ended the conference stating his desire and goal to build an intermodal yard on the property of the airport. "Passenger only" never really was in the cards.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:21 am

https://youtu.be/zH3_ZNRHtSw

Mr. Carleton, it would appear to me that the term "Intermodal" in this instance applies to passenger transportation.

If this facility were to include rail freight, why would FEC even be interested? Why build 40 miles of new rail road simply to short haul yourself when the existing JAX interchange with either Chessie or Topper (NS Thoroughbred's name) provides a more favorable FEC line haul division.

Now maybe FEC thinks they can attract new industries to the Beeline railroad, however I believe the intent was to rent the land from the State needed for the ROW.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby D.Carleton » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:39 am

The meeting in question was a panel discussion attended by, besides MCO, FDOT/SunRail, Lynx (the local bus operator), Port Canaveral and All Aboard Florida (before the rebranding). Conspicuously absent: CSX & NRPC. The discussion was heavily slanted toward rail which annoyed more than one panalist. SunRail was discussed at length; All Aboard Florida spoke in abstracts. It was right at the end when the airport stated how many acres under their control and their desire to build an intermodal yard, a freight intermodal yard. He didn't get into anymore details but I'm sure they like the idea of a steady income stream as seen in places like Charlotte. CSX vacated their metro-Orlando intermodal yard as part of the line sale. CSX and NS already hand off their intermodal trains to FEC in Jax for the south Florida Atlantic ports. A closer yard to Orlando may lure some customers away from Winter Haven and that is what will determine if this goes forward.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:21 pm

As I understand it the new trackage between Cocoa and Orlando will be passenger only with absolutely no freight of any kind. Incidentally Brightline is part of and owned by Florida East Coast Industries and not Florida East Coast Railway although both are owned by Fortress Investments. Jacksonville has been under consideration for quite some time and could very well be a part of this in time too. Lots happening so stay tuned.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby D.Carleton » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:23 pm

The question was asked about freight and AAF would neither confirm nor deny any future plans for such. This only gets more interesting as we roll along. Definitely stay tuned.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:10 pm

Back to Jacksonville, please.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby chaz » Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:02 pm

Metro Jacksonville has a forum about extending the Brightline to Jacksonville. A different point of view is always entertaining.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,27341.0.html

If it happens, I assume the Jacksonville Transportation Authority would want a Brightline stop at JAXIS. The design for JAXIS was only recently accepted. Here is a marketing video from the architects. Union Station is now part of the Prime F.Osborn III Convention Center, adjacent to the FEC tracks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXz9hqd0AS4
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby electricron » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:24 am

I think they would be better off placing a new station on the southside near the San Marco station, just one city block away. The Skyway provides free transportation the rest of the way to Jacksonville's central business district.

The problem going to the northside is the lift bridge usage and allowing nautical passage under it. Once you are on the northside, the convention center lies between the FEC tracks and a Skyway station. I'm not sure how close the new intermodal center will be to a Skyway station?
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby jtbell » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:55 am

electricron wrote:the convention center lies between the FEC tracks and a Skyway station.


Just turn it back into a train station. :wink:
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby dowlingm » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:43 am

if Brightline extends to Jacksonville, I would think that lends an additional shove to the notion of extending Palmetto down from Savannah in the event SEHSR and other improvements chop some running time out of the current schedule, no?
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Jeff Smith » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:01 pm

The advantage to that is it could get rid of one crew base. Not sure how Hours of Service might play into extending the Palmetto, though. And I'm not sure how Brightline schedules would match up with the Palmetto. Right now departure NB is 8:20 I think; to keep that timetable you'd have to leave Jax around 7? I'd doubt you'd have any Brightline trains arriving that early from the south. Maybe, but doubtful. SB arrival is 8:59pm give or take with some padding. So you'd be getting to Jax after 10pm, probably long past any Brightline connections.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby CComMack » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:08 am

The fundamental problem with Jacksonville is that there's almost no reason to go there, other than FEC's tracks already existing. Metropolitan Jacksonville is only 1/4th the population of Orlando or Tampa Bay, and it's much farther away from the South Florida real estate that is helping Brightline pencil out to its corporate masters. Jacksonville is great as a gateway to the rest of America north of Florida, but that's not really Brightline/FEC/Fortress's game plan -- their expected connection to the Northeast is Orlando International Airport. Intermediate stops at the coastal towns on the way might help, but again, that's not Brightline's game plan, and it makes the length of the trip to Jacksonville even worse.

Extended Palmetto + Brightline is a decent thought, but it requires an overnight hotel stay in immediate proximity to the Jacksonville Station; a few might go for it, but for the most part even a permanently dinerless Silver Star would be a more attractive option for anyone coming from anywhere north of Cary, NC. If you want a connection in Jacksonville between an extended Brightline and an Amtrak day train, you're really talking about a corridor train reaching no further north than the Carolinas, not an existing train. Not even 66/67 would allow for a same-day transfer to DC and Virginia, much less the rest of the NEC. That's not to say that Georgia and the Carolinas don't deserve a daylight connection to Florida, nor to say that they necessarily do, but the complexity of this particular proposal is starting out very high. If I'm Fortress, I'm thinking Orlando first, then Tampa, and then maybe after that, Jacksonville. But keep dangling all the prospects out there to maintain political support, of course.
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Re: Brightline to Jacksonville

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:04 pm

My guess is that you do not know the Southeast too well. Jacksonville is a huge financial center, one of the largest metro areas in the south and the largest city in Florida in land area. Try driving through there sometime, even the interstate can be a royal pain. As for train service Jacksonville is a natural for Brightline and I think there is a good chance of it happening. What they decided to use for a station is a good question right now but they will find a way. Brightline will be an in state Florida railroad and not necessarily providing service through to points north although it will probably provide connections for the two existing Amtrak trains. As for extending 90 and 89 from Savannah to Jacksonville, maybe and maybe not. It would make more sense to extend it to Miami but again maybe and maybe not. We will need a definite change in attitude in this state before anything positive happens with Amtrak here in the "Sunshine State". The Florida East Coast owns no ROW or track to Tampa or anyplace else on the other coast so any Brightline service to Tampa is very, very unlikely. Here is a good opportunity for Amtrak if we ever get state government officials who want to get involved with rail passenger service. The direct routes from Tampa to any direction whether it be north, south or east would involve CSX and not the FEC. Maybe in the future and maybe not in the future, we'll have to wait and see on this one.
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