Commuter rail on FEC

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

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

Commuter rail on FEC

Postby NellieBly » Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:32 pm

Florida DOT just awarded a multi-million $, two-year contract to a team headed by Gannett Fleming to look at mass transit and highway needs in southeast Florida. Part of the study will evaluate the need for, and the feasibility of, commuter rail service on FEC between Miami and Jupiter.

The first phase of the study will involve the definition of various alternative scenarios for commuter rail, bus, and highway improvements. Phase 2 will develop operating costs for the various alternatives and culminate in designation of a "locally preferred alternative" for Federal Transit Administration funding.

FEC is cooperating in the study.
NellieBly
 
Posts: 1427
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:14 am
Location: NEC

Postby ACLfan » Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:21 pm

Hmmm.... Sounds like the possible beginning of a parallel rail-based commuter system paralleling the Tri-Rail commuter service on the South Florida Rail Corridor that is the former CSX line.

Might get sorta crowded! FEC runs a heck of a lot more freight trains than were/are operating on the CSX line!

Why not spend the additional $$ and find more effective ways of using the former CSX line (Rail Corridor)?

ACLfan
ACLfan
 

etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:31 pm

Maybe the most logical way to try to accomplish this would be to turn over
the former CSX route to the FEC for their daily parade of freight trains and
use the splendid FEC right of way and structure for commuter trains.
I do not think the FEC will allow any passenger trains on the line as it now
exists and probably three and four tracks would be necessary to handle
all of the trains that would run on that right of way if it were to become a
major commuter route.
I do not think that this is as far fetched as it might sound. A diamond
crossing exists in Hialeah and maybe even a better connection is
possible there too. At the north end, the FEC could continue north on the
CSX line to a point named Marcy where the CSX line crosses the old FEC
branch to the Lake Okeechobee area and a connection could be put in out
there in the swamp to connect the two lines. FEC trains then would return
to their main line at Fort Pierce.
With the double tracking job on the former Seaboard line, there would be
ample capacity for FEC's fleet and still maybe a few rush hour passenger
trains while the bulk of the commuter train activity could be put on the
FEC trackage where it should have been in the first place.
Any changes that did take place would require major construction in this
area.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby LI Loco » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:30 pm

An excellent idea, Noel! The FEC runs its freight trains through downtown sections of Delray and Boca Raton at fairly high speeds with no protection other than gated grade crossings. I believe commuter trains would be less menacing. If they want to run them at higher speeds, I'm sure Tri-Rail will have to pop for fencing in populated areas - much to the chagrin of us rail buffs.
LI Loco
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:41 pm

Postby dconlive_ » Fri Dec 10, 2004 1:42 pm

Commuter trains could come over to FEC on the north side of West Palm. And they only run up to Jupiter. That's mainly single track I think. Making that double track would work for commuter service, that won't be cheap though. I wish they would run it up further north to Stuart.

The idea of rerouting FEC thru Marcy diamond is a good one. I just don't know how FEC would feel about routing their trains an extra 20-25 miles each trip. That's alot to do since tri-rail would only be using about 14miles of FEC track to Jupiter.

Tri-Rail should extend service up the CSX line towards the NW in the short-term. That whole area out west of Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter has been growing for years and it's still growing. It would be nice for those people up there to have train service.
dconlive_
 

etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Dec 11, 2004 4:31 am

The CSX line north of West Palm Beach swings to the northwest and goes
through mostly swamp for quite some distance. I doubt that there would
be much call for commuter service north of the present terminal of
Mangonia Park.
Unfortunately, Florida has not planned well for any kind of rail whether it
be long distance, corridor or commuter. The management of the FEC
left the two tracks in for some time between West Palm and Miami in the
event that the authorities wanted the use of the line for commuter trains
but the authorities did not bite and finally, the second track was for the
most part, taken out.
The Florida East Coast has a wonderful physical plant for the trains that
they operate. That physical plant could probably handle one Amtrak train
each way without much strain but it could not begin to handle Tri-Rail
trains without a major expense.
Another issue that I failed to mention earlier, the FEC runs a train north
out of Fort Lauderdale handling traffic (mostly containers) out of Port
Everglades and that would have to be continued regardless of where there
other trains are operated.
It will be interesting to see in the next few years whether anybody does
anything constructive in this regard or not.
I suppose it can be done but there will be major problems and a major
expense if they try to run Tri-Rail trains over the existing FEC track(s),
especially around and through Fort Lauderdale.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby 262 » Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:51 pm

I think the most cost effective way to use both lines would be a directional running agreement.Most of the freight moves at night anyway,and having both lines open to both railroads will make it possible to take any of the three mains out of service,to do maintainence,and not interfear with through trains.A new yard would most likly be needed in Homestead,or near the turnpike in Dade County.
262
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:13 pm

etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:08 pm

Directional running on the two railroads would NOT work here. There is
too much distance between them especially in most of Broward County.
Let me stress here, there is NO WAY any commuter service will ever run
on the FEC unless it provides for full unrestricted operation of their many
freight trains some of which run during the daytime too.
In the afternoon usually between 5:00PM and 6:00PM the northbound unit
train goes through Fort Lauderdale with around 140 cars and three units.
Often there is another northbound train quite close to the unit train. These
trains are not something that would mix well with frequent Tri-Rail trains
on the same tracks.
The Florida East Coast has a superb physical plant for its heavy, fast and
frequent through freight trains. In order for ANY passenger commuter
trains to operate over its line, the capacity would have to be effectively
doubled. Not saying that it couldn't happen but we are looking at big
dollars here and a major commitment for financing.
It is really a shame because the FEC goes through the downtown and
main commercial areas of most of the area cities. It is too bad that the
authorities dragged their feet and basically did nothing when the FEC was
double track, did not have as many major freight trains and the
management was trying to get the authorities to buy the line south of
West Palm Beach.
Even if the FEC were to end up using the former CSX tracks for the most
of their business, a way would still have to be found for the considerable
business out of Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) to be handled as there
is no track connection with the old CSX tracks and Port Everglades.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby 262 » Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:21 pm

The only problem I see with directional running,is that the locals for Fort Lauderdale,Pompano and Hollywood,would have to be based in Palm Beach or Dade County.That is why I see the need for a new yard at the south end to spot and break up the combined traffic.
262
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:13 pm

etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:44 pm

262 wrote:The only problem I see with directional running,is that the locals for Fort Lauderdale,Pompano and Hollywood,would have to be based in Palm Beach or Dade County.That is why I see the need for a new yard at the south end to spot and break up the combined traffic.


262, I do not know where you live but I live in the Fort Lauderdale area
and I KNOW that directional running will NOT work in this commuter
corridor. They would be better off with the situation staying exactly as it
is rather than to do something like that. I can't imagine getting on the
train at Broward Boulevard and I-95 where the present station is located
and getting off at Broward Boulevard and Brickell close to where the
Florida East Coast passes through downtown Fort Lauderdale. All of the
time saved by taking the train would be lost in a bus ride in heavy traffic
on Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. It would be the exact same
situation all of the way up and down the coast between West Palm and
Miami.
262, You should join up with the politicians around here, they would come
up with something as foolish as that.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby 262 » Sat Dec 18, 2004 9:52 pm

Noel the directional running ,I would propose,would only apply to freight trains.This woud free up the FEC main to allow for commuter and Amtrak trains.This would also give the CSX BA Dispatcher or FEC St.Augustine Dispatcher options to route traffic they can only dream of.As for polititions,I am politicaly active through The National Federation of Public and Private Employees,AF of L,CIO.We support and endorse many of the local polititions.The fact that we have a commuter train at all is a small victory.Though I have no great pride in any of them,there is always hope another Bob Graham will come along to fill the shoes of Claude Pepper.
262
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:13 pm

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:35 pm

262 wrote:Noel the directional running ,I would propose,would only apply to freight trains.This woud free up the FEC main to allow for commuter and Amtrak trains.This would also give the CSX BA Dispatcher or FEC St.Augustine Dispatcher options to route traffic they can only dream of.As for polititions,I am politicaly active through The National Federation of Public and Private Employees,AF of L,CIO.We support and endorse many of the local polititions.The fact that we have a commuter train at all is a small victory.Though I have no great pride in any of them,there is always hope another Bob Graham will come along to fill the shoes of Claude Pepper.


262, Sorry for the misunderstanding.
That we have the ONLY commuter train in the southeast is something to be
proud of, I think. I only wish we had vision around here to expand on
what we have. I hope when they get the double track project farther
along, they will run late evening service. A person working either the
middle trick or last trick can't get any use out of the Tri-Rail train as it is
not running late in the evening.
I am not sure that directional running for freight work work for the FEC.
They are still going to be faced with frequent commuter trains which will
not be able to be detoured. I think the FEC would need to be at least
three tracks all the way up to the north terminal of Tri-Rail whereever
that ends up being.
Running Tri-Rail on the Florida East Coast right of way is not impossible
but it will be very expensive.
What really might help rather than trying to use the FEC would be a network of light rail lines especially in Broward and Dade Counties.
Bus lines with a trip every 20 minutes that is often late due to heavy
traffic or other problems will not help to solve our transportation problems.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby 262 » Sun Dec 19, 2004 1:28 am

Big things may be in the works.Recently the bus and rail systems of Dade,Broward and Palm Beach Counties were combined into a regional transit authority.On the advice of The Federal Department of Transportation,that this combined managment would make them eligilable for larger grants.Barring any turf battles,a comprehencive transit plan could get the funding it needs.
262
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:13 pm

Here's another article

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:08 pm

This article appeared in the Sun-Sentinel yesterday, Sunday, April 16th,
my earlier position on this has not changed, it will cost huge bucks.
Hope you find it interesting, link is below.
Noel Weaver

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/ ... ws-broward
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9377
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby LI Loco » Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:42 pm

FEC and Tri-Rail run parallel to each other less than two miles apart. As a point of reference, this distance is far less than the distance separating the Babylon branch and Main Line on the Long Island RR as well as the Hudson and Harlem lines on Metro North, both of which serve more populous areas.

I believe a second line rail line would cannibalize the first. It would be preferable to develop the network of feeder services (bus, light rail) to the existing Tri-Rail depots before going the second rail line. If buses can deliver the vast majority of passengers to with a quarter-mile of their destination, the intermodal option should work.

Moving FEC freight out of downtown areas makes sense due to the character of the areas they run through. However, preservation of of the line for local freight and light rail would make sense. It would be a nice alternative for short hops, e.g. Boca Raton - Boynton Beach.
LI Loco
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:41 pm

Next

Return to Florida East Coast Railway

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests