Discussion about Florida passenger rail operations including proposals. Official web-sites:
Miami/Dade Metrorail, Sunrail (Orlando), and Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority
For Virgin Rail/Brightline: Virgin Trains Worldwide (includes Brightline)

Moderator: Kurt-Trirail

  by Jeff Smith
 
In deference to Mssr. Norman's update, I have once again updated the title, with "not" now in parentheticals.

Regarding Ocala, it's clear that once a freight carrier can get Amtrak off it's lines (see: Ocala and Sunset East), or at least reduce it's presence (see: Sunset Limited and UP) it's very difficult to restore or increase service. Pity.
  by D.Carleton
 
I'm guessing this means we're getting former MARC GP40 retreads to start our new commuter service:
Railway Age wrote:MotivePower will provide seven remanufactured locomotives to the Florida Department of Transportation for SunRail, a new operation which will run along a 61.5-mile stretch of existing freight rail tracks in Central Florida. The 3,000-hp units will feature MotivePower’s streamlined cab and will be fully compliant with EPA regulations for remanufactured locomotives.
  by trainmaster611
 
D.Carleton wrote:I'm guessing this means we're getting former MARC GP40 retreads to start our new commuter service:
Railway Age wrote:MotivePower will provide seven remanufactured locomotives to the Florida Department of Transportation for SunRail, a new operation which will run along a 61.5-mile stretch of existing freight rail tracks in Central Florida. The 3,000-hp units will feature MotivePower’s streamlined cab and will be fully compliant with EPA regulations for remanufactured locomotives.
All the documents I've seen seemed to indicate that Sunrail would be getting MPIs.
  by D.Carleton
 
MotivePower has the former MARC GP40's listed on their website for sale or lease: http://www.motivepower-wabtec.com/doc/M ... ochure.pdf

This would satisfy the description of "3,000-hp," "MotivePower’s streamlined cab" & "remanufactured locomotives." Oh well. I guess it's better than nothing.
  by mtuandrew
 
Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks:
-increased fuel usage, cost of operation, and maintenance issues, compared with a modern locomotive
-the demonstrated lower reliability of the GP40s in their service with MBCR (see that forum for examples)
-perceived hand-me-down status, though this should not be a major motivating factor

Having said that, if MPI actually does completely rebuild the locomotives, there's no reason they can't perform up to par. I agree with Mr. Carleton though, in that this is a likely destination for the ex-MARC units.
  by electricron
 
The largest drawback you forgot to mention, EPA Tier 3 or 4 compliance, which the ex-MARC units will never achieve. And that's why I don't think the ex-Marc units will ever be bought by Sunrail. ;)

It's one thing to "grand father" existing locomotives at existing transit agencies, it's violating that intent to sell these locomotives to another transit agency - and a brand new one at that.
  by trainmaster611
 
Well presumably if they are remanufacturing them then the EPA compliance thing would be brought up to snuff. How would the rebuilding affect the fuel usage and maintenance/operating costs though?
  by mtuandrew
 
electricron wrote:The largest drawback you forgot to mention, EPA Tier 3 or 4 compliance, which the ex-MARC units will never achieve. And that's why I don't think the ex-Marc units will ever be bought by Sunrail. ;)

It's one thing to "grand father" existing locomotives at existing transit agencies, it's violating that intent to sell these locomotives to another transit agency - and a brand new one at that.
I removed that from my list of drawbacks both for the reasons trainmaster611 states, and because I wouldn't put it past any railroad, transit agency or not, to buy older non-Tier-compliant equipment. I have a feeling that the FRA and EPA have bigger fish to fry than to argue over the intent of grandfathering on the GP40s.
  by lpetrich
 
500 celebrate the start of SunRail - Orlando Sentinel
Home page: SunRail | Changing the Way Central Florida Travels

The initial 31-mi phase of construction will go from Sand Lake Rd. downtown Orlando and DeBary; it will open in 2014. The full 61-mi system will include SLR south to Poinciana and DeBary north to DeLand; these extensions will open in 2016.
  by Wingnut
 
Will it ever be possible to expand service past Auburndale to Lakeland and Tampa? I don't have the railroad mileage, but it's roughly 12 miles from Auburdale to Lakeland on Google Maps. This segment is slated to become CSX's main artery between southern Florida and the rest of the country. Let's just say for the sake of discussion that Florida can pay to double track this section and add a flyover to eliminate conflicts with passenger trains. Even if we did all that, would service to Tampa still be impossible. Or would it be more practical to just go all out and build a line to Tampa in the I-4 median instead?
  by CHTT1
 
The state of Flordia paid big bucks to get CSX off the SunRail route and reroute the freight trains, so putting commuter trains on the freight route probably wouldn't fly. SunRail is a commuter line for the Orlando area. I doubt if it would be extended to Tampa, at least not for quite a while.
  by Wingnut
 
Well, CSX certainly knows how to bargain. The only way to put local commuter rail in Orlando was for FL to buy 61 miles of track AND create a bottleneck that might prevent SunRail from ever being extended to Tampa. I can see Tampa, in time, opening a commuter rail line to Lakeland, just west of where the S line comes in from the north, in that case, it would only be a matter of time before people call for the gap in service to be closed. But that's so far in the future it's almost not worth discussion today.

The state may only be buying 61 miles of railroad. But in effect are they getting almost 200 miles from Auburndale to Jacksonville? CSX will still demand additional payment for service extensions. Nonetheless, this arrangement will facilitate incremental commuter extensions north and south (as far as Auburndale anyway) as the need arises. It may also make it easier to implement a 401b train between Miami and Jacksonville via Orlando to supplement the Silver Star. I know, I'm not holding my breath. :p

Now this question may be better suited for the CSX section, but because it's closely related to the creation of SunRail, I'll put it here anyway. CSX should probably go ahead and double track the section between Auburndale and Lakeland now. I just don't think the south wye at Auburndale can fit a second track. This is the leg heavy freight traffic to the Winter Haven yard would use but it is squeezed in by industrial buildings which, incidentally, are also CSX customers.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Marketing starts:

SunRail targets businesses now for riders late
SunRail already is courting Central Florida businesses for potential riders, even though the commuter train is not set to pick up its first fare until spring 2014.

Along with launching a major marketing and research push, SunRail officials are contacting employers large and small on the 61-mile corridor that eventually will link DeLand in Volusia County with downtown Orlando and Poinciana in Osceola County.

The pitch is invariably the same: What can we do to get your workers, clients and customers out of their cars and on the $1.2 billion train?
and a service map:

SunRail map

Are any of these stops near John Young and I4? Stops 10, 11, or 12? Just curious.

And here's a question I'm sure has been answered; this shares the Amtrak ROW, right?
  by The EGE
 
The "A' Line, yes. Same routing as Silver Service and the former Sunset Limited.