• Commuter Service Proposal for Miami-Dade - FEC/Brightline Rails

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  by Pensyfan19
Apparently Brightline wants to rival Tri-Rail on a whole new level.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/ ... 15006.html

I feel that brightline should focus more on intercity express service rather than commuter service rivaling Tri-Rail. (I don't mind if brightline buys out Tri-Rail, but that's only me. :P )
  by Jeff Smith
Brief, fair-use quote as required by forum policy:
Brightline is in talks with Miami-Dade to build five train platforms between Miami and Aventura and launch a $425 million commuter-rail system as the for-profit rail company plans to launch express trains to Orlando in the coming years.

The proposed deal revealed late Tuesday night would mean a significant influx of tax dollars to the company behind the new Virgin-branded train line, which shut down completely during the coronavirus crisis. Miami-Dade would pay the company $350 million to construct stations after Brightline spent $75 million building platforms that could be used to launch the service. The commuter line would be separate from the express trains Brightline plans to launch in 2022, a venture the company said it is still pursuing during its continued shutdown.

The plan also would shift a long-term goal of having the government-run Tri-Rail system launch a coastal line where Henry Flagler once ran his trains. That land now belongs to Brightline, which traces its corporate roots back to Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. Instead of spending public dollars on Tri-Rail’s coastal link, Miami-Dade would pay Brightline to build the stations, provide the tracks and run the new commuter rail line.
  by Pensyfan19
Apparently Brightline is saying they want to start commuter service between Miami and Aventura, which explains the new stations. I think they're focusing too much on rivaling Tri-Rail.

Could they order commuter equipment for this new service or do you think they wI'll use the existing siemens trainsets? I'd prefer they use commuter equipment for a run this short so they keep their existing equipment for the intercity service.
  by BandA
Maybe order same equipment from Siemens but with tighter seat spacing. How much will this cannibalize tri-rail? brightline (if it were running)? wonder how much the cost/seat mile or cost/passenger mile will compare with tri-rail? compare with *buses* (shocking).
  by Pensyfan19
I feel that for the region between West Palm Beach and Miami, and ESPECIALLY between Aventura and Miami, the area needs at least four tracks to handle the volume of Florida East Coast, Brightline and Tri-Rail without having too much traffic.

In other news, here is the latest development having to do with this proposal: https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... l-proposal
Miami-Dade OKs negotiations over Brightline commuter operation
While the area’s commuter railroad and mayor voiced opposition, Miami-Dade county commissioners have endorsed negotiations with Virgin Trains USA for proposed commuter-rail service on the southern end of Brightline’s route between Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla. The Miami Herald reports that commissioners indicated that even supporters of the concept called the original plan too expensive, but asked the administration of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to try to negotiate a better deal for the proposed five-station service over 14 miles between Miami and Aventura, Fla. Steven Abrams, head of Tri-Rail, the commuter operation between Miami and West Palm Beach, said his agency could operate the service at a substantial savings and expressed concerns that the privately owned, for-profit Brightline service “will not offer tickets the average person can afford.” Gimenez said he was ready to negotiate, but the Virgin Trains proposal was too costly.
  by mmi16
Pensyfan19 wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:24 am I feel that for the region between West Palm Beach and Miami, and ESPECIALLY between Aventura and Miami, the area needs at least four tracks to handle the volume of Florida East Coast, Brightline and Tri-Rail without having too much traffic.
The Tri-Rail route is already double track South of WPB. I suspect the FEC/Brighline route is double track - so you have your four tracks already.
  by Pensyfan19
I found an interesting article about this private-public proposal for this commuter service.

https://www.railwayage.com/news/tri-rai ... annel=news

There is also one portion of the article which talks about brightline running freight service(?)
At this time, VTUSA’s proposed operation consists of two passenger services: the Commuter Rail Service within Miami-Dade County, and the Express Rail System between downtown Miami and Orlando International Airport, as well as freight.
(The bold and underlining was done my me on this post, and was not bold or underlined in the original article)

Does this mean that brightline is planning on running freight service along with their existing passenger system?
  by Jadebenn
So this snippet is very interesting:
Abrams also expressed concern that Tri-Rail would not be able to use the Miami Central Station (MCS) as planned, because of potential issues with Positive Train Control (PTC): “Now that [VTUSA] has suspended operations, SFRTA has no assurances when it will be able to access the FECR Corridor and the MCS. [VTUSA] is no longer subject to the deadline of Dec. 31, 2020 to implement the federally mandated PTC system because it is not operating its service. Further, it is our understanding that [VTUSA] has recently elected to change the type of PTC system it was originally installing.”
A new PTC system this late in the game? Did E-ATC not have the throughput they wanted? I can't imagine there were any technical issues. E-ATC is little more than a modification of the ATC system the FEC's already used for decades.

I really doubt it's I-ETMS. That's for the plebs who have to share with a Class I, and it's not well-suited for the kind of passenger service Brightline wants to run.

Since Brightline presumably has the full cooperation of the FEC in this matter (most likely because they're covering the cost, as the FEC itself has no statutory requirement for PTC), they could choose any system on the market.

Needless to say, any change at this juncture would massively delay the Tri-Rail downtown link.
  by west point
Maybe it is not Brightline freight but FEC with trackage rights on FEC? However I cannot see anyone liking freight trains thru the Orlando airport. Might not even have plate "H" clearances. Maybe make a connection east of the airport onto the power plant RR that rightline is flying over ? .
  by Pensyfan19
Interesting update: numerous Miami area groups are supporting Brightline commuter service to Aventura.

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... line-route
Miami-area business groups have organized to push for a proposal that would see commuter operations on the southernmost part of Brightline’s route between West Palm Beach, Fla., and Miami. Bisnow.com reports organizations including the Wynwood Business Improvement District, Florida International University, and Miami-Dade College have formed the Northeast Corridor Coalition to support the effort to start the commuter service between Miami and Aventura, Fla., 17 miles north of downtown [see “Brightline negotiating to operate Miami-Aventura commuter service,” News Wire Digest, May 27, 2020], which would include the construction of five new stations. Groundbreaking for a previously planned Aventura station is being held today, and the Wynwood group has already pledged to support construction of a station in its neighborhood [see “Digest: Business group to help pay for Miami neighborhood commuter station,” Aug. 28, 2020]. Miami officials and Brightline are in negotiations about the possible service, though concerns remain about the cost.
  by BandA
Following the links in the previous post, https://www.bisnow.com/south-florida/ne ... ami-105799 then this one https://www.local10.com/travel/2019/10/ ... -aventura/
Commissioners passed the land swap and development deal, which will pay Brightline $76 million to build the station near its tracks west of the Aventura Mall and operate the commuter-rail service.
"At best, it's privatized transit for upper-middle class," Commissioner Xavier Suarez said, who along with Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, were the only two "no" votes.
So, is Brightline committing to serve the Aventura station as part of their existing trains (when they restart), or is this part of the new Commuter Rail that is still being negotiated? $76M is mucho dinero, hope there are lots of passengers. Usually you negotiate the cost before breaking ground.

I also read in one of the articles that Brightline and Tri-Rail platforms are incompatible, separate platforms were built at Miami & would be needed at other stations.
  by nomis
B&A, As part of the Iris project and Tri-Rail Downtown Miami Link, an the public money that went into Miami Central. Of the 5 tracks, there are already 2 tracks / platforms that are the appropriate height for Tri-Rail. These are outside of the fare-control areas for Brightline.
  by BandA
Thank you; I hadn't even considered fare control!! Tri-rail has zone fares and tap-on/tap-off with honor system / spot check, so no turnstyles / fare-control gates. With 5 separate platforms you need at least 10 elevators for ADA compliance (in case one goes out of service). If they had built island platforms they would only need 6 elevators.
  by west point
IMHO this commuter service is going to require some third rail so bright line express train can pass the stopped commuter trains. Schedules just cannot be that tight. Have experienced some on TriRail.