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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » All Aboard Florida Happenings (Page 1)

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Author Topic: All Aboard Florida Happenings
Ocala Mike
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Two grade crossings have to be shut down in West Palm Beach to accomodate All Aboard Florida trains:

http://realtime.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2015/01/05/two-downtown-wpb-rail-crossings-set-to-close-today/

AAF naysayers - time to come in out of the cold?

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Gilbert B Norman
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No way am I prepared to come in from the cold.

First, for ready reference, here is earlier discussion we have had regarding this "initiative":

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/7155.html

Now to my pleasant surprise, I find that even though FECH is privately held, they are still required to file Series 10 reports with the SEC. Here is Form 10-K for 2013.

Possibly sharper eyes than mine can find mention of AAF within that document, but I can't. To contemplate operating a passenger train service for a private party's account and requiring substantial capital investment, is a material event and should be disclosed within that document.

I am quite prepared to accept that the former site of the FEC station in Downtown Miami is being redeveloped and will ostensibly include an AAF station. Simply because these parcels are being developed and the building has a provision for a passenger station does not in itself mean that passenger trains will ever use such. Likely, I'll know more first hand come late February when I plan to be in Miami.

I will further accept the reports that FEC is adding track capacity through the tri-county area of SE Florida. Lest we forget that considerable public funds are being expended to add capacity to the ports in both Miami and Ft Lauderdale that are getting ready to throw a big post-PANAMAX bash. I have my skepticism on that as well - what if nobody came?

Many a local media source has noted the opposition to the project - and I can wholly understand where it is coming from. Because the railroad came first, the communities were largely built around it. With some 24 additional trains a day "tearing" through town at 80mph without plans for any of them to stop could be considered only as a public nuisance. I myself have been contacted by a marina operator along the New River if I had any information beyond what I have posted at this and other Forums to which of course my answer had to be negative.

While I must admit I am at a loss to know "what they're up to" (I am backing away from my earlier thought they are "fattening up the livestock" to sell the railroad to a public agency), it simply is something other than to operate intercity passenger trains for their own account.

Previous discussion

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Geoff Mayo
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Your condiments package is ready to go, GBN. It makes a hat taste so much nicer, apparently.

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Geoff M.

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Gilbert B Norman
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May I have icing, Mr. Mayo?
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Gilbert B Norman
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From Marriott Biscayne Bay Miami--

I tried yesterday, but was thwarted by a monsoon rain so bad it made coverage on NBC Nightly News, but today I'm going down there to 1st Street to see what, if anything, has been done to at least break ground on the new station complex.

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Gilbert B Norman
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From Marriott Biscayne Bay Miami--

Back from my expedition (slight stopover for some Grape Juice at a JW in Brickell).

Aside from some signage NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, is going on. I asked one gal sitting next to me at one concert about AAF and didn't know what it was.

I think it's nothing but a sham with some objective other than to operate passenger trains for the private sector's account.

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palmland
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Let's hope the NIMBY's don't prevail. I certainly want AAF to succeed. Would love to see a privately initiated project get the job done without a lot of government 'help'.
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Gilbert B Norman
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It certainly appears that this ostensibly privately sponsored initiative has had one roadblock or the other thrown at it that it is starting to resemble a government project.

Let me note that nothing whatever has come to my attention to suggest any sincerity to this initiative. While I have backed away from my original thought that the initiative was a ploy to sell the railroad to a public agency, I have since learned that the railroad is handily covering its debt service arising from the leveraged buyout.

At this time, I hold the initiative is a ploy to generate interest in the development of the Miami property where the former FEC station was located. To the unsuspecting public that there will be high speed rail service between Miami and Orlando, will only peak interest in tenancies, once there are enough commitments to promote the structure is (whatever)% occupied, the rail initiative will fade from whatever spotlight it currently has - and from having been to Miami last month, I don't think that spotlight shines as brightly as it does within this railfan community.

Now if there ever is to be intrastate rail service within Florida owing to some kind of "transformation in Tallahassee", I think a much more reasonable and practical plan would comprise Jax-Miami operating to West Palm over the FEC, thence SAL (Tri Rail) to Miami Intermodal, and with a BeeLine bus connection Cocoa-Orlando. The frequency would be "three a day" operating at 79mph and making at least one stop in every on-line county.

Equipment; "plain old single level cars".

Operator: something tells me the overseeing State agency will be looking for some party other than Amtrak.

Again, slim chance of such coming to pass yet a greater chance than AAF commencing private sector operations.

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Gilbert B Norman
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To expand upon my immediate thoughts of how a publicly funded intrastate Miami-Jax service could look, we first have to consider the valid objection to the AAF initiative of that "they're going to tear through our town and we can't ride it", in that any service had best be prepared to stop at least once in every county it goes through. This is because it is my understanding that, if there is to be State level funding, Florida law requires any county desiring rail service must impose a tax dedicated to "a fair share". Towards that end ever wonder why Tri Rail has not expanded Northward into Martin County? Well, that's Fox News watching, train hating country up there and they are not about to impose the necessary tax. I'm sure one will find the Sun Rail service area dictated by that same maxim.

Nevertheless, should publicly funded Jax-Mia intrastate service ever move forth, here is my proposal for stops:

Dade: Miami (MCS), Hollywood
Broward: Deerfield
Palm Beach: Delray, West Palm
Martin: Stuart
St. Lucie: Fort Pierce
Indian River: Vero Beach
Brevard: Melbourne
Orange: Cocoa (Beeliner bus Orlando)
Volusia: Daytona Beach
Flagler: Palm Coast
St. Johns: St. Augustine
Duval: Jacksonville (JT), Moncrief (Amtrak)

I know that all of this is moot; after all, AAF will soon be "up and running" [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!]

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Gilbert B Norman
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Several AAF related posts have appeared at a "related of sorts" topic and I believe to a geat extent the fault that such occurred is mine. For ready reference, here are X-links to such:

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000002

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000004

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000005

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000006

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000008

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000009

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/8029.html#000010

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palmland
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Recent announcement from Trains.com:

AAF

ORLANDO, Fla. – All Aboard Florida has named Archer Western as its construction manager for the rail infrastructure at Orlando International Airport. Working with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Archer Western will build the railroad and related structures for All Aboard Florida’s intercity passenger trains that begin service from the airport in late 2017......

Earlier this year, All Aboard Florida awarded Archer Western overall responsibility for construction management and general-contracting services for the Miami-to-West-Palm-Beach segment of its Miami-to-Orlando rail service.

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Gilbert B Norman
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This page of the Congressional Record makes what I would call "interesting reading":

https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/house-section/page/H3891

(scroll to Page H3891)

Fair Use:

  • Mr. POSEY. Mr. Chairman, All Aboard Florida was presented as a private passenger rail project that would run from Miami to Orlando, and vice versa, along Florida's east coast.

    The project was initially sold to the public as the first privately funded and operated passenger train. However, that story soon changed, as All Aboard Florida decided to pursue a $1.6 billion loan from the Department of Transportation. Apparently, because the loan requires a strict Environmental Impact Statement to be completed, All Aboard Florida decided to also apply for $1.75 billion in tax exempt private activity bonds from the Department of Transportation.

Now I realize there is a lot of optimism regarding this initiative around here, and who knows, it just might turn a wheel (and maybe I'll still be of sound body to take a joyride, which I'll do). But it will be highly questionable that the project is, as first advertised, funded solely by the private sector. Now what will be interesting will be an authoritative answer to the question; will it be subsidized to any greater extent than is other private sector commercial transportation?

Enquiring mind wants to know.

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Vincent206
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If we believe that the Acela pays its own way and generates a profit, then I expect we'll see a system in Florida that covers a large portion of its expenses. Unfortunately, because HSR systems are still rather unique operations that require large sums of money to build, there isn't any sort of standardized GAAP analysis that can determine true profit or loss on a clear and consistent basis. But whether or not the system generates a consistent profit, I think it's a worthy project. Once the system is finally open, I expect Floridians will ride in significant numbers and the majority will be very thankful for the high speed option.
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palmland
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The latest from 'Trains' on the new train sets for AAF aka Brightline:

Siemans Brightline Trainset

For those without access to the article, this is a summary:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Mike Reininger says there is one guiding concept behind making Brightline successful: “In order to make money, you have to address customer needs head-on.”

The wisdom came during a tour this week hosted by Reininger, who is president of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline passenger service, and Siemens Rolling Stock President and CEO Michael Cahill. Siemens is building the stainless steel trainsets and Charger locomotives that Brightline is expected to begin operating in June 2017. The equipment is being fabricated and assembled at Siemens Rolling Stock’s sprawling Sacramento facility, where stainless steel carbody production takes place in a newly constructed building.

Reininger says that a “maniacal attention to detail” initially created some friction between engineers tasked with design and his marketing, mechanical, and operations people. Brightline employees, Reininger says, are eager to create a truly different transportation product that avoided “we’ve always done it this way” train travel legacies.

The article talks of innovations for the trains including hidden couplers (like the 1939 UP streamliners), doorway extenders for level ADA access at all doors, and wider aisles - also for wheelchair car to car mobility. Supposedly service to West Palm is next summer with Orlando service when trackwork and stations are complete.

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Gilbert B Norman
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If AAF is to initiate service, the question must be raised to what extent is it private enterprise:

Miami Herald

Fair Use:
  • All Aboard Florida’s plan to operate regular passenger train service between Miami and Orlando is in jeopardy following a federal judge’s order questioning the company’s ability to borrow $1.75 billion in taxpayer-backed federal bonds to pay for the project.

    At the same time, in a lawsuit filed by two Florida counties looking to block the project, the judge found that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ignored federal law when it issued bonding authority for Phase II of the private rail project from Cocoa to Orlando
This ostensibly private sector passenger service initiative is simply going to the inevitable public funding trough, likely quite opaque, or to the "service to begin on a date to be announced" graveyard.
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Gilbert B Norman
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It appears that there is definitely construction of the West Palm Beach AAF station:

http://www.wpbf.com/article/topping-off-ceremony-held-for-all-aboard-florida-project/4370911

I guess that is a positive for this initiative's advocates.

Now a negative; as I immediately noted, Train hating Fox News watching Martin County just won't give up. Now they have come up with a real "brainer" proposal reported by various media outlets.

From.West Palm, run AAF along the SAL (existing Amtrak route) presumably using the existing FEC-SAL physical connection near Magnonia Park to Okeechobee, then build a connection there to the FEC's line to Ft. Pierce, putting a "dog leg" into what otherwise would be a "straight shot".

The Googlemobile has been along there. Here is looking Eastward on the FEC and showing the present X-ing of the SAL.

Forgetting the cost, who knows how much additional running time would result from this reroute? Also, that will simply allow the other train hating counties, such as St Lucie, Indian River, and Brevard up the Treasure Coast to pile on and want their own "dog legs" where no infrastructure presently exists.

Once again, I have to note that with no plans for AAF to provide service to these counties, we are addressing "public nuisance without public service". I would think that to provide a station stop within each of these counties would go a long way to obviate any such claim, but such is simply not part of the AAF business plan.

Necessary disclaimer: author is not opposed to this initiative, but is highly skeptical that, should it be inaugurated, it will be solely within the private sector as it is being represented.

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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:

While I must admit I am at a loss to know "what they're up to" (I am backing away from my earlier thought they are "fattening up the livestock" to sell the railroad to a public agency), it simply is something other than to operate intercity passenger trains for their own account.

Well, after I had backed away from my thoughts regarding "fattening up the livestock" , look what TRAINS Newswire, as well as other outlets, reports (paywalled):

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2016/10/14-fec-sale

Fair Use:

  • Florida East Coast Railway’s owner is getting ready to put the regional up for sale, according to a Bloomberg News report.

    Fortress Investment Group, which purchased the FEC for $3.5 billion in June 2007, has hired investment banking firms Barclays and Morgan Stanley to advise on a potential sale, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources said to be familiar with the matter.

    Representatives from Fortress and FEC did not immediately respond to Trains News Wire’s messages seeking comment on Thursday afternoon.

    It is unclear what impact, if any, a potential sale would have on All Aboard Florida’s Brightline passenger project.
The maritime shipping industry is in a "world of hurts" nowadays with much of the hurt thanks to overexpansion. Neo (post) PANAMAX and the East Coast ports that were getting ready to throw the big party could well be looking at a "nobody came". As I noted in one of the earlier topics, the State with its sizeable investment to make the Port of Miami into a major player may wish to have control of the only road serving the Port so that traffic can be forwarded to the "open gateway" of JAX. Let's face it, maritime companies along with other large shippers do not like being at the mercy of one road. As an aside I have to wonder if development of the Port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michaun MX has not been hindered account only one road (KCS-M) serves it. Of course, political instability could be a greater factor.

When I was "down below" this past January, from my hotel room where I happily pay a premium for a Port of Miami view, all too many cranes were pointing Skyward.

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George Harris
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quote:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:

Fair Use:
  • . . . All Aboard Florida decided to pursue a $1.6 billion loan from the Department of Transportation. Apparently, because the loan requires a strict Environmental Impact Statement to be completed, All Aboard Florida decided to also apply for $1.75 billion in tax exempt private activity bonds from the Department of Transportation.

Now I realize there is a lot of optimism regarding this initiative around here, and who knows, it just might turn a wheel (and maybe I'll still be of sound body to take a joyride, which I'll do). But it will be highly questionable that the project is, as first advertised, funded solely by the private sector. Now what will be interesting will be an authoritative answer to the question; will it be subsidized to any extent than is other private sector commercial transportation?

Since what we are talking about here are loans and a relief from taxes on their bonds, I would not be calling that a subsidy. If we see them hand out asking for grants, now that is a different story.

However, I am still inclined to believe that they are taking a page out of Flagler's concept of over a century ago. They are not as concerned whether or not the railroad makes money as they are that it encourages development of other activities that will make money for them.

As to these counties trying to get the railroad doglegged around them off an established railroad alignment: The taxpayer suit should be by those who think the county is wasting their money opposing the project. It reminds me much of some of the anti-HSR whiners in California that were literally trying to get the railroad rerouted around their cow barn.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Thus far, Bloomberg appears to be the only major media source reporting the story. A bit more "depth" would be nice, but any such talks are exploratory at this time. I still hold that the State is the party with most to lose should the FEC fall into the hands of either CSX or NS. Also a plus for State ownership - AAF has a better chance then to move forth, albeit "not exactly" as a private sector venture.
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George Harris
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Since in Florida CSX owns almost everything else of any significance in the was of railroad lines, for FEC to be taken over by NS seems to be a natural, and has for many years.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Harris, I can only reiterate the position that any large shipper holds; "we want two roads; we don't want to be held hostage by one".

While some agricultural shippers have long accepted being at the mercy of one road, maritime companies have not. Any established East or West Coast port has always had two, and even three, roads available. This is still the case with only seven Class I's surviving (when I first became interested in industry affairs, i.e. a railfan, there were 112 of such).

But the State of Florida has invested substantial funds to turn their ports into players in the Neo-PANAMAX era - and beyond playing house with Love Tubs. I believe all those ports are at a disadvantage being served by only one road (remember Tampa only has CSX). The best way to ensure those ports stay competitive is to have the one road, FEC, serving them stay independent, yet accessing, in this case, the open gateway of JAX. The State has "walked the walk" with their maritime ports with the Big $$$, along with what Feddybucks they could scrounge (think dredging the Miami channels). Now to protect that investment, best ensure the one road serving them is in their control as well.

I'm not a socialist in this life; but I do hold that he who has put the $$$ on the table best have control - and railroad transportation is part and parcel of such.

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palmland
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I would agree that an independent operator would be the most likely outcome. I'd vote for someone like Watco . Their recent acquisition of Kinder Morgan Terminals, joint venture with Greenbrier railcar, and operation of 300 miles of NS West Va lines suggests it's ready for something the size of FEC. I doubt if Gov. Scottt would have an interest in playing rail baron.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Palmland, what else other than container traffic does FEC have?

OK, some minerals (phosphates), maybe some citrus, but it seems to me most of those processing plants are in Central FL away from FEC and very much on CSX.

The State has put the big $$$ in the ports; all with Gov. Scott at the helm. I still would think they want to protect their investment. Possibly they will choose an independent operator, as distinct from owner, who can take over a darned efficient and profitable road.

One thing of importance around here; AAF could well be dead if the road is sold to anyone other than the State. Lest we forget, the Miami real estate is not part of the deal. However, if the State does own the FEC, then I will become considerably more optimistic that AAF will turn a revenue wheel. However, before I go and order a cake from Standard Market shaped like a Bowler Hat, the project is no longer for the account of the private sector.

Final thought; we are now three months into the Neo-PANAMAX era. Last week, I drove the NJTurnpike near Elizabeth; awful lot of cranes Skyward. Maritime shipping, as exemplified by the Hanjin bankruptcy and Maersk laying up vessels, is starting to resemble the Dark Ages when we both started our railroad careers.

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DonNadeau
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There seems to be a misconception in this forum that the United States is a capitalistic country. That has become less and less true for well over a hundred years.

As a Libertarian I am not totally comfortable with this trend, but don't see it going away.

As AAF, if completed, will promote among things longer tourist visits in FLA and thus more money spent and jobs created, I see it as no different from when a municipality or state provides incentives (such as infrastructure improvements) for businesses to locate in their areas.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here is far more detail and insight to the proposed FEC sale prepared by a security analyst:

Seeking Alpha

Fair Use:

  • ..But the wrinkle in all of this would be the competitive advantage that either CSX or Norfolk Southern would gain against the other if one were to win out. Review of any merger between rail operators would involve the Surface and Transportation Board, STB and the Federal Transportation Commission, FTC and Department of Justice, DOJ.

    Based upon the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, HSR Act, I would not think that either the FTC or the DOJ would rule against a deal for either CSX or Norfolk Southern, assuming that there was some sort of agreement with which both Class I's would have access to the South Florida region. I would think that the STB would be more involved in determining whether or not it would be better for FECR to be acquired by a separate operator such as Genesee & Wyoming, or another third party such as a private equity or infrastructure firm..

Since to allow an acquisition by either NS or CSX would require giving access to the other, it appears this analyst views the sale of the road to a Short Line operator such as G&W, but he notes that they are quite leveraged from their recent acquisitions. So far as mine, the State is "not on the page".

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Gilbert B Norman
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Following up the above "find", it's hard to believe that the above content is "free". Paywalls are becoming the "norm" nowadays on the Internet - unless of course someone is trying to sell you something. This is how things should have been right from Day One.

Now I still hold that the State is the party with most to lose. That three months into Neo-PANAMAX, it looks like, as the analyst notes, "nobody came to the party". With the precarious competitive position that the Florida ports find themselves in, to have either NS or CSX get the FEC would be fatal to the State's initiative. Naturally, I would hope the State would see the wisdom of leaving the existing management to operate the road for their account. No question whatever; they run a "class act".

Finally, with the FEC real estate interests divested, there goes the AAF argument that "it's there for the real estate". With State ownership, there is a chance that AAF could move ahead. With private ownership, it's done for, as lest we forget, the CSX and NS predecessors surrendered their rights to operate passenger trains for their own account under RPSA70.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Surprised someone has not yet posted this here - and rub a little egg in my face while they're at it:

https://youtu.be/ELkw306DaCo

Come what may with AAF, Siemens has to be considered a player for the A-III order. Only downside; California went for Hillary and gave her the "Pyrrhic Victory" of winning the national popular vote.

While hardly an off the shelf copy, first for an 8' wide carboy and of course FRA crashworthiness, it looks like the designers started with proven European designs:

Euro City

Rail Jet

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palmland
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Interesting video, GBN, thanks for posting. I wonder what the timeline is for AAF equipment delivery compared to Viewliner II.

Perhaps Amtrak's next order will look something like this for NEC Regionals and corridor trains where bilevels won't work.

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Gilbert B Norman
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While a twenty car passenger car order, as was AAF's, was common back in "railroad days" - not so anymore.

Obviously, as I noted, Siemens has "eye on the prize" - a 500 car A-III order!

While of course I respect, I cannot accept Mr. Nadeau's position that AAF will increase Florida tourism. First for those coming from out of state, I think it's "knee jerk" to rent an auto as "Mickey and consorts" are not exactly on the perimeter of McCoy (MCO). And for what it worth, the only Amtrak in-station auto rental outlet in Florida is (maybe was) a Hertz at ORL.

I'd think that AAF's market is a Central Florida day business traveler who "knows his way around" MCO better than he does Downtown, who is going to the government and judiciary facilities surrounding the Miami Central Station at "First and First".

At the moment, my Florida trip looks set for Super Bowl weekend (fortunately miles away in Houston, but the Dolphins, as a Wild Card contender could possibly be in it), auto down (Mike, let's see what we can do about an en-route meet up), two days first at comparatively cheap digs Holiday Inn Express in Boca (Red Lex will need a service stop), then two more in Miami for a Cleveland Orchestra (funny how I've seen them perform four times this year - Miami (2), Salzburg, and their hometown - yet only seen the Chicago Symphony twice) concert, up to Auto Train for Voyage 23 (NB at the moment is about $650 - cheap, cheap), then home from there. I guess I'll miss out on a possible AAF joyride, but I'll certainly get down to 'First and First". What will be interesting to see if any rail access is being built to the above ground level platforms. Maybe, just maybe, I'll "People Mover away to Arsht Center station" thinking "holy s^it, they DO mean business".

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DonNadeau
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Mr. Norman,

I believe that you are quite correct that most Americans and many Canadians coming to Orlando and perhaps less so Miami will want to rent a car. That's their habit.

However, my mind focused two statistics--1) the sheer number of visitors to FLA, which totaled 97 million in 2014 and 2) the number of international airlines that fly to FLA some to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa but most to Miami and Orlando.

Here's a list of those at MCO:
https://www.orlandoairports.net/flights/international-service/

And even more at MIA, including many unexpected
http://www.ifly.com/miami-international-airport/airlines-served

In addition, there are all the international passengers that arrive on airlines based in the U.S.

Although I can't prove it, it's logical to believe that visitors from outside of North America will be far less motivated to rent a car and that many that arrive in Miami will also want to visit Orlando. Also at least to me, it's logical to believe that within that 97 million visitors are enough people to fill many All Aboard Florida trains.

.

--------------------
@DonNadeau

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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
While hardly an off the shelf copy, first for an 8' wide carboy and of course FRA crashworthiness, it looks like the designers started with proven European designs:

Surely you jest:
8 feet wide car body? That is barely bus width. Think of what what you get with Greyhound or city bus 4 across seating and with an aisle barely up to normal airplane width. That is what is happening here.

The normal standard American Railroad passenger car is 10 feet wide with 4 across seating, giving nicely wider seats and a wider aisle. The Japanese Shinkansen cars are 11'-1"wide with 3-2 seating. Even with that the seats are comfortable wide and the aisle width quite adequate.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Harris, let's get on the same page.

I think I properly noted that a Continental Europe car is somewhat over 8' wide (British Isles still less) and that North American is 10'6". But if I didn't, I trust this recitation will satisfy all concerned that I do.

So of course, the AAF cars are not off the shelf Continental Europe, nor will be the A-III's if Siemens is to get such an order. It simply is a start - and somehow I think they bid to AAF a price based on a 500 car order - and I still think those delivered cars will trade their Brightline livery for that of Amtrak.

You holding credentials as a Professional Engineer, have knowledge of the stuff that counts, such as where the stress occurs with a North American coupler vs. that with a European Link and Pin. I think this Forum would be delighted to learn any comments you have on the immediate.

Merry Christmas.

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George Harris
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Mr. Norman:

I was not questioning you. I was questioning what was the size of the equipment actually being built. I have seen some really strange decisions made by people that know just enough to be dangerous.

Clearances is one of the things I have played with a lot. For example, virtually the entire US railroad network, outside the Northeast Corridor, will clear the Shinkansen vehicle despite its 11'-1" (actually 3380 mm) width being in excess of the 10'-8" wide AAR standard plates. With the extra width and 3&2 seating you are carrying much less metal per passenger than with standard 10'-0" wide coaches and 2&2 seating. The Northeast Corridor could also carry this width with shaving of the current platforms. By the way, these platforms do not meet ADA requirements either by elevation or offset as they are now. (the difference between coach width and AAR width is due to grab irons and mid offset / end overhang as the AAR plates includes everything.)

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Ocala Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:



At the moment, my Florida trip looks set for Super Bowl weekend (fortunately miles away in Houston, but the Dolphins, as a Wild Card contender could possibly be in it), auto down (Mike, let's see what we can do about an en-route meet up)

Just saw this, Gil, and hope you and yours had a great holiday season. My breakfast spot of choice lately has become the "low-rent" Waffle House (as once featured on Anthony Bourdain's TV show), but of course there's always the Cracker Barrel. I know some decent pizza places, too, but they're a bit off I-75. E-mail me your plans when you get a chance, and Happy New Year.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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Here is a link to a couple of positive articles on Brightline. One is from the Reason Foundation, which is most interesting since this is the first positive article on any passenger rail project I have ever seen out of these guys.

Reason Foundation
http://ccrail.com/rail-expert-all-aboard-floridabrightline-passenger-train-likely-to-succeed/

James Madison Institute
http://www.jamesmadison.org/library/docLib/AllAboardFL-PolicyBrief-v06.pdf

Posts: 2573 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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The Poole report indeed makes interesting reading, but lest we forget, any issue of Private Activity Bonds represents a subsidy from the public trough by grace of the exemption from Federal Income taxation under IRC Sec 141(a) et seq. Allow.me to point out that there is no "full faith" provisions associated with PAB's - only the revenue stream from the project. Where those bonds will stand in the "pecking order" in a bankruptcy proceeding is the prerogative of "da Judge".

I find that the Post's reader comments to be quite mature (so far).

But at this time, one must acknowledge that not one spade of earth has yet to be turned anywhere North of WPB. Building 40 miles of new road along the Bee Line Cocoa to Orlando, had best be underway if the 2019 date is to be met. If the full route becomes a "service to begin on a date to be announced", then I'm at a loss to know how a MIA-WPB premium express train service will ever make it.

At such time that flops, the FEC will have made improvements to their "Gold Coast" lime enabling better capacity to handle the surge of traffic from the Ports in the Neo-PANAMAX age the soothsayers foresee.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Short article appearing in The Times today;

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/travel/places-to-go-transit-2017.html

Fair Use:

  • Midyear, the Brightline express train in South Florida is expected to open, linking Miami and West Palm Beach. When it’s finished in 2019, travelers can make the trip between Miami and Orlando in three hours, while driving takes four. The terminus at the new downtown MiamiCentral station will include a food hall known as Central Fare

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palmland
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Looks like they have a real professional doing their PR work. Well done. Looks like Miami to W Palm is a done deal. Any word on Orlando extension?
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Gilbert B Norman
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The opposition is simply "never say die" and has found one more "obstacle" to throw in the path of AAF:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-boats-bridge-closed-lawsuit-20170110-story.html

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  • Shipyard owners filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday to block the 12-day closing of a drawbridge on the New River. They say closing the bridge Feb. 11-23, during the height of the winter yachting season, will hurt business. Boat traffic will increase for the Miami International Boat Show in February, also making for bad timing, they say

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TwinStarRocket
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Lots of photos here:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2017/01/11/brightline-florida-high-speed-train-unveiling/96450136/

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