Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

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David Benton
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by David Benton » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:31 pm

Airlines using rail is an extension of the hub and spoke idea. The train is one of the spokes, a common concept in Europe.
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benboston
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline IPO & Expansion Outside of Flor

Post by benboston » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:02 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:At some point there are going to be economies of scale as well. Imagine if they could take over CAHSR. There’s talk of HSR along the Cascades route as well. Charlotte - Atlanta, you name the corridor they’ll be in the mix.
Would love HSR along the Cascades route except for all of the turns in the tracks which would make it expensive.

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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:54 am

More on expansion corridors: WJCT.org
Further expansion plans call for Virgin Trains USA to pursue opportunities to connect highly populated cities separated by distances of 200 to 300 miles, utilizing existing transportation corridors, such as rail, highway or a combination of both. Several major markets have been identified across the country including Houston to Dallas (240 miles), Atlanta to Charlotte (240 miles), Los Angeles to San Diego (120 miles), and Portland to Seattle and Vancouver (315 miles).
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SouthernRailway
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by SouthernRailway » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:11 pm

Some of the expansion corridors are pie-in-the-sky. Atlanta-Charlotte definitely has a need, but it would require teaming up with Norfolk Southern, which is suffering from freight congestion and doesn't care about passenger trains. And Portland-Seattle...why, with frequent and upgraded Amtrak service already?

benboston
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by benboston » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:25 am

6 round trips isn't exactly a lot per day. I've traveled on the Cascades and it could definitely use a lot, a lot more round trips, but that would most likely require that SEA and PDX get high platforms so that they can be accessed while multiple trains are in the station. Otherwise, it is ready to have a lot more round trips than right now, especially as far as trains that continue onwards to Vancouver.

To be fair in the WSDOT long-term rail plan they plan to achieve 13 round trips between PDX and SEA with 4-6 of those continuing onwards to Bellingham, Wa and four of those continuing all of the ways to Vancouver, BC. It also calls for eventual service speeds of 110 miles per hour.

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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by Jeff Smith » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:07 pm

I posted this in the NYS Empire topic as well: http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=2298" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Random question, as improvements to the Emoire Service continue or are pondered, and Amtrak seeks to replace its Amfleet I’s:

The Brightline train sets are led by a variant of the Charger (SCB-40). NYS and Amtrak are looking to replace the P32’s with a modified SC-44 including third rail shoes (presumably over/under for all NYS roads).

Wouldn’t a modified Brightline set and business model be a good fit for Empire Service? Better yet, change providers to Brightline as an operator?

Amtrak could continue to operate the LD’s.
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by Backshophoss » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:17 am

With Virgin Galactic about to move in to the spaceport near T or C NM,there's an outside change that Virgin might run a shuttle service from
ABQ to Cutter or Upham then a bus to the spaceport terminal.
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by Bob Roberts » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:41 pm

According to the Charlotte Metropolitan Transit Commission meeting minutes, Brightline has been in discussions with regional stakeholders about CLT-ATL planning. (I am surprised to hear of activity on other corridors before Orlando has opened as a proof of concept).

This was from a discussion of routing for the next Charlotte transit line (the Silver Line) which will have an airport station and a Charlotte Gateway Station connection.
CATS CEO LEWIS: The Brightline project which is now the Virgin America project, you may have heard it in several different descriptions, they are continuing to have conversations with both the airport and NCDOT and South Carolina DOT about the potential for the I-85 corridor. I think where it would come into play with the Silver Line is, number one, if that occurs, how would it access the airport to get that as their terminus or how would it access potentially Gateway Station, if that would be the terminus. But, in this regard, we're talking about NCDOT project, but we are keeping our eye on that continued discussion.
https://charlottenc.gov/cats/about/boar ... 190522.pdf
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

gokeefe
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by gokeefe » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:12 pm

Holy cow ... Pay attention people ... Right of way use agreements like this have the potential to be very cheap. Also minimal issues with grading due to interstate highway construction standards. For states looking to enhance highway revenues this could be "the" model of the 21st century.
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:29 am

In the Gulf Coast thread in Amtrak, I pondered Atlanta-Savannah-Jacksonville. I think there is a real possibility that Brightline and/or FEC buys out Georgia Central, NS, and whoever owns the S-Line. It forms a nice concatenated corridor with the Miami service - MIA-JAX is 350 miles, JAX-SAV is 150, SAV-ATL is 250.

EDIT: and SAV-CHS is a bare 100 miles, JAX-SAV-CHS about 250.

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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:36 am

Living in Central Georgia, THAT is something I can get behind. The I-75 corridor is swamped, and the I-16 corridor is LONG AND BORING. The air market ATL-SAV is very busy. If they could somehow serve the ATL airport as they will do at MCO (Orlando) they've got a real chance. The I-16 corridor definitely has room a la their plans for I-4. Even I-95 below the 16/95 intersection has room. The 75 corridor has topographical issues; they'd need to negotiate access.
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Bob Roberts
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Re: Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

Post by Bob Roberts » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:25 am

Bob Roberts wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:41 pm
According to the Charlotte Metropolitan Transit Commission meeting minutes, Brightline has been in discussions with regional stakeholders about CLT-ATL planning.
CATS CEO LEWIS: The Brightline project which is now the Virgin America project, you may have heard it in several different descriptions, they are continuing to have conversations with both the airport and NCDOT and South Carolina DOT about the potential for the I-85 corridor. I think where it would come into play with the Silver Line is, number one, if that occurs, how would it access the airport to get that as their terminus or how would it access potentially Gateway Station, if that would be the terminus. But, in this regard, we're talking about NCDOT project, but we are keeping our eye on that continued discussion.
https://charlottenc.gov/cats/about/boar ... 190522.pdf
Pieces continue to fall into place for Brightline on the CLT-ATL corridor. We only have three months to wait to see if Brightline picks them up.

The Request For Qualifications for development of the Charlotte Gateway Station district was released today. The City of Charlotte is looking for a developer to build out roughly 2-4 mid-rise office towers, some residential, retail and the main Gateway Station Building. Tracks, signals, platforms and a canopy are under construction now now using TIGER, state and local funds.

https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/n ... mixed.html

I know it’s a bit early in the Brightline ‘proof of concept’ phase but this certainly represents a perfect opportunity for expanding their rail/real estate business model. The nearly 14 acres of downtown space available for development is a good bit larger than Miami Central and (I believe) more central to the center of downtown.

Proposals are due September 25.

In addition to Brightline / Virgin’s stated interest in CLT-ATL, Brightline could investigate operating in the other direction as well. I don’t know the details of the NCDOT contract with Amtrak for Piedmont operation (and have no sense that NCDOT is unhappy with their Amtrak relationship) but there are similar (but smaller) station-adjacent development opportunities in Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh. While these downtown real estate markets are weaker than Charlotte’s (which is now a city of cranes) and redevelopment in these places would not include the stations themselves, the TOD model would be in place, cities would be interested in facilitating development and there would be no host railroad issues associated with operating Piedmont service.

If you got really carried away you could include the Raleigh-Petersburg S-Line in this equation. If Brightline could access the necessary capital they could run Charlotte to Richmond on tracks almost entirely owned by the NCRR / NCDOT (rather than by a freight RR). Richmond Main Street is also surrounded by parking lots and is in an area of town seeing lots of investment.

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