• Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Virgin Rail USA formerly known as Brightline, and Virgin Worldwide Rail operations, past and present.
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Virgin Rail USA formerly known as Brightline, and Virgin Worldwide Rail operations, past and present.
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  by Arlington
 
I was at a Commercial Real Estate tech convention and saw a really interesting "heat map" of Brightline ridership.

placer.ai is designed for retailers to answer the question "where do the people who walk past my store come from?" (and many other questions, such as, based on home zip, what is their disposable income?) *

Placer.ai tracks something like 40% of all phones and for a particular square block (I chose the Brighline Miami Central Station) they can say where every phone that visited that block spends its "overnight" (essentially the home address of everyone who rides brightline) (They extrapolate "up" from their 40% sample to estimate total unique visitors)

Yes, it helped to be both a data geek and a railfan in asking about Miami Central which, in the satellite view, was still an empty parking lot, but which we now know is a busy train station.

Unsurprisingly, the heatmap showed that most riders come from "slightly inland" (west) of each station in MIA, FLL, & WPB.

The interesting "extra blob" on the Heatmap was centered on Port St Lucie--implying that people are driving from PSL to WPB and then catching the train to MIA.

*Yes, this should scare you about how much data is being sucked out of your smartphone and re-marketed all over the commercial internet.
  by Bonevalleyrailfan
 
New double track lift bridge proposed for the St Lucie River crossing in Stuart

http://veronews.com/2019/10/24/virgin-r ... ew-bridge/

This is very interesting news. Virgin is asking for local government support to apply for federal grants to replace the existing single track draw bridge with a new double track lift bridge. It will have 18ft clearance when closed. I assume this means a 2-3% grade on the approaches, or about 1000ft at most of raised track bed to the south. I am not sure if that will impact the furthest north road crossing in downtown Stuart. North of the river crossing, it is on a curve with no public road crossing for some distance. Would they locate the lift bridge further north of the present draw bridge to reduce the required grade? Without a doubt, FECR has already approved this and has specified the maximum grade they will allow.

I also posted this news on another forum.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
From Holiday Inn Akron West--

Home today.

Sunday, while driving on the 95 to Mims then Auto-Train, I looked for any sign of rail construction around the Bee Line expressway.

Did not see any.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I'll certainly accept, Mr. Boylan, the reports you note over my "secondary" source observations. I did note construction around the I-95/Beeline Expy interchange, but it did not appear rail related.

But with the IQ of too many Florida drivers rapidly declining from "body temperature to room temperature", staying safe is priority one.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Orlando Terminal: WFTV.com
Only Channel 9 got a sneak peek into the construction zone of the new, high-speed train terminal at Orlando International Airport.

In this week’s episode of “Central Florida Spotlight”, Greg Warmoth shows viewers a first hand look at how Orlando will get connected to a high speed commuter line.

The train will allow Orlando travelers to get to Miami in a fraction of the time it would take to drive and Miami travelers to get to Orlando a lot more easily than using Interstate 95 or the turnpike.
...
  by gokeefe
 
I like the whole ... "We sneezed and built a brand new passenger rail line" feel from Brightline/Virgin. These guys act like they could make it happen anywhere (which I think is probably true).
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I could not help but seize upon the closing line from the video; "Brightline is the name but won't be....".

On "Joyrides 7 and 8" last month, I could help by notice the Virgin signage was "subdued" at Miami; it is nonexistent at West Palm. The trains remained liveried Brightline.

It seems like until Sir Richard "flew in and horned in", many resources had been spent branding the product. Maybe wiser heads are prevailing to slow down any Virgin rebranding initiatives.
  by gokeefe
 
I noticed the same in the video. I think they've basically told him "We're not doing this until you come through with the money."
  by Not James Stockdale
 
There's construction basically along the entire length of SR 528 from US 1 all the way to the new station at Terminal 3 at the Orlando airport. There is very significant construction in the vicinity of the Industry Road exit, where a bridge is being built to cross Industry Road on the north side of SR 528.

The northern shoulder of SR 528 between Industry Road and I 95 has been cleared, filled, and graded for a line since last year.

The construction at the I 95 interchange is to build either bridges or tunnels to get the line from the north side of SR 528 to the south side and then across the interchange, probably on a bridge. I do not know how the line is going to go through the southern flank of the Canaveral Groves neighborhood south of SR 528.

The southwestern shoulder of SR 528 has been cleared from the vicinity of Satellite Blvd to the St. Johns River, where a rail bridge is being built adjacent to the SR 528 road bridge.

Between the St. Johns River and SR 520, the line runs immediately adjacent to the south shoulder of SR 528, with a retaining wall used to contain fill and limit encroachment in to the state conservation land.

Between SR 520 and SR 417, the line runs farther to the south, maybe two hundred feet from SR 528 travel lanes. Preliminary earthworks are being done all along that section of Deseret Ranch land. The southern side of the new Innovation Way exit that was completed a few years ago contains a slot for a rail line about two hundred feet south of SR 528.

There is no construction in the vicinity of the SR 417 interchange, and there is construction ongoing on the south side of the Narcoosee Road interchange, but I do not know if that is associated with the railroad. The limited area available next to SR 528 means that the line will likely have to run within the confines of the Goldenrod and Narcoosee Road interchanges.

Inside the Orlando airport, the line runs directly adjacent to the eastern northbound lanes of Jeff Fuqua Blvd, and that land is being cleared and graded basically from the Terminal 3 station to the SR 436 / SR 528 interchange.
  by Jeff Smith
 
https://www.wptv.com/news/coronavirus/b ... s-pandemic
...

“We are taking proactive measures with our Phase two construction teams in order to keep people employed and continue construction between Orlando and West Palm Beach. As we look ahead toward the economic recovery of Florida, projects like Brightline will help create jobs and a transportation network that will be more important than ever.”

Brightline's construction project workers will not be affected.
...
  by Riverduckexpress
 
Posted about this in the Tri-Rail forum; figured I'd also put it here. According to this Progressive Railroading article from late February, the FRA has deemed FECR/Brightline/Virgin at risk of not completing PTC installation by the end of 2020.
According to the FRA, the following eight host railroads are at risk of not fully implementing a PTC system on all federally mandated mainlines by the Dec. 31, 2020, deadline: Alaska Railroad Corp., the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, Florida East Coast Railway (including its tenant railroad, Brightline/Virgin Trains USA), Kansas City Terminal Railway, New Jersey Transit, New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Metra and TEXRail.

To evaluate the risk of noncompliance, the FRA considers the following factors in addition to the railroads' own status reports: the percentage of mandated route miles currently governed by a PTC system, including revenue service demonstration (RSD); any unresolved technical issue in implementing a compliant PTC system; the percentage of a host railroad’s tenant railroads that have achieved interoperability, as required; and a host railroad’s expected date to submit its PTC Safety Plan to FRA, as required to obtain PTC system certification.

The FRA's PTC status report also found that of the 42 railroads required to implement the technology, most are operating their systems in revenue service or in advanced field-testing or RSD, FRA officials said in a press release.
Here are the links to the actual FECR PTC progress reports for Q4 2019 and all of 2019 from the FRA's website. I screenshotted page 2 of the Q4 2019 report.

Image

According to page 13 of the 2019 annual report, FECR is/was planning to submit a PTC Safety Plan in June 2020. Does anybody know if FECR is still working on PTC right now? Wouldn't be surprised if it was delayed with Covid-19 and all. Looks like FECR's testing for PTC is behind where the FRA would like it to be, since up to the end of 2019, field testing had only occurred on a portion of the route, and using PTC in revenue service had yet to begin.

Not directly relevant to Virgin/Brightline, but according to this Miami Today News article from last December, the PTC work is also holding up the Tri-Rail extension on the FECR line to Miami Central.
  by Jadebenn
 
According to this page:
In a letter and revised PTCIP submitted in April 2020, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) and Virgin Trains USA (VTUSA) confirmed VTUSA ceased passenger rail service as of March 26 and therefore FECR's lines are no longer subject to the statutory mandate. As such, FRA removed FECR from these graphics.
Now, I'm no lawyer, but if I understand the law governing PTC correctly, this means that VTUSA is no longer "grandfathered in" as it was before. In other words, I don't think they'll be allowed to resume passenger service prior to fully-implementing PTC.
  by SouthernRailway
 
So Brightline is probably waiting until its Orlando line is open to restart its trains?

Makes sense, but disappointing.
  by Jadebenn
 
Maybe not that long, but I wouldn't expect any resumption of service prior to 2021. I don't think they'd be legally able to just start back up service without a fully-functioning PTC system now that their shutdown is official.

I find it very likely that Tri-Rail downtown service (which is in a near-identical situation in regards to PTC) and resumed Brightline service will happen sometime in early 2021.
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