Monday, November 16, 2015
ADDENDUM TO TRAIN TRAVEL STORY, PERHAPS THE MOST POSITIVE ECONOMIC NEWS IN FLORIDA THIS YEAR
You can sit back, relax, take a nap, read a good book instead of focusing for several hours on road travel! If you haven’t heard this yet, by mid-2017, you no longer have to drive to Orlando or from Miami to Ft Lauderdale, to West Palm Beach, as Brightline, the new name for All Aboard Florida trains, will accommodate you very well.
Brightline will launch with five, four-car trains with capacity for 240 passengers each. The service plans to double that by June 2018, with ten sets of seven-car trains that can hold 356 passengers. The whole route is about 235 miles.
They will have colorful exteriors, easily identifiable. Cost to build, and thereby hugely change the economics of the area for the better, you ask? $3BB. The good news is that it will bring new developments in the station areas, from condos to commercial spaces. Anticipated benefits include easing road congestion and alleviating pressure on crowded airports.
Using the Brightline trains will make a trip from Miami to Ft Lauderdale less than 30 minutes. Miami to West Palm Beach will take less than 60 minutes. Miami to Orlando will take about 3 hours on the Brightline. With the younger generation less “car prone,” this will be a bonus for them.
· complimentary Wi-Fi
· power outlets at each seat
· food and beverage options
· bicycle and luggage storage
· wheelchair accessibility
· cars will also be pet friendly.
The trains, designed by the Rockwell Group, are being built in Sacramento by Siemens. Construction has begun on stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and on connecting urban centers that developers hope will become dining and shopping destinations. Another station will be next to Orlando International Airport.
All Aboard Florida is a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, which is involved in a range of infrastructure, transportation and real estate businesses. The project is being funded by private investors through the issuance of $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds and directly from the parent company. The company expects to become profitable in the first couple of years as it adds more trains and ridership increases.
Trains were the primary mode of transportation in the USA until after World War II, when cars and airlines took over the roads and skies. Federally funded Amtrak has remained the predominant interstate passenger train system, but it does not offer the kind of high-speed service found in Europe and Asia.
The closest thing the USA has to high-speed trains is Amtrak's Acela on the northeast corridor, which can go as fast as 150 mph. Brightline trains will not be high-speed, but its express service will be able to go up to 125 mph.