Amtrak on the Florida East Coast FEC Jacksonville - Miami

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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trainmaster611
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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by trainmaster611 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:24 pm

$1 Billion? I find that hard to believe. Isn't most of the capital to be spent building/rebuilding stations and constructing a connector track in West Palm Beach? Will someone with more understanding of the situation tell me if this is a reasonable price?

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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by afiggatt » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:49 pm

electricron wrote:The bill paves the way for Florida DOT to spend over $100 Million to reintroduce rail services on the FEC, and provide no fault type insurance for Amtrak over state owned rails (TriRail). A similar no fault type insurance was provided for Amtrak for SunRail rails last year.
FEC has already stated it'll take around $1 Billion to reintroduce trains on their tracks. How far will the State's $100 Million go? Not far!
What the FEC is proposing to do for the $1 Billion is vastly more than what the state is proposing to accomplish with $118 million. The FEC proposal includes building 40 plus miles of new 125 mph grade separated tracks from Cocoa to Orlando over an unspecified route and destinations in Orlando, but likely connecting up to the SunRail former-CSX line in the Orlando area. They also proposed to upgrade the FEC line from around West Palm Beach to Cocoa to either 90 mph or 110 mph speeds. The Miami to West Palm Beach, which is presumably the Tri-Rail section would remain 79 mph. The $1 billion also likely includes acquisition of new cars to support a high frequency service between Miami and Orlando. I think the $1 billion is on the light side for what the FEC wants to do, but that could just be the opening sales pitch number to garner political support and get potential investors interested.

The applications submitted by FL for the HSIPR grants, which were not selected, proposed upgrading the FEC line to 90 mph speeds, building a connecting crossover from the FEC to Tri-Rail, building a number of new stations, and acquiring new rolling stock to support corridor service to Jacksonville and Cocoa. Based on the newspaper reports, the $118 million of FL DOT funding is not expected to be enough to pay for the upgrade to 90 mph speeds (which, IIRC, is primarily grade crossing and timing upgrades). it will pay for the crossover and some of the station & track upgrades costs, with the local communities likely expected to pick up more of the station costs with the Jacksonville to Miami route likely starting at 79 mph speeds.

What the state was/is planning was a modest frequency corridor service between Jacksonville and Cocoa to Miami with Amtrak splitting the Silver Star at Jacksonville to run directly to West Palm Beach and Miami. The FEC proposal is more ambitious and is initially focused on Miami to Orlando higher speed service as that is considered the prime service corridor. The FEC route proposal map shows future expansion to Tampa with what have to be new tracks using the FL HSR Tampa-Orlando ROW and expansion to Jacksonville. What is going to happen and when it is going to happen is anyone's guess.

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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:58 pm

I think you're mixing and matching the two separate projects.
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JasW
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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by JasW » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:26 am

Jeff Smith wrote:Back to Amtrak on the FEC, instead of the FEC running its own!

Amtrak service along Treasure Coast on track if governor signs bill
Amtrak supporters, who hope to bring the federally subsidized passenger rail service to the Treasure Coast, are waiting to see if Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill in coming days that will allow the state to be held liable for crashes if the cause was a track problem.

"This is huge," said Kim Delaney, who is coordinating the passenger rail project for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.

...

For Amtrak, the biggest issue to be ironed out to even consider service on the FEC was getting a no-fault policy for operating south of the Treasure Coast. To reach the FEC tracks in West Palm Beach, Amtrak trains in Miami requires several miles of state-owned coastal tracks, company Government Affairs Director Thomas L. Stennis III said Tuesday.

...

Then there are the matters of buying new trains, improving tracks to handle 79-mph locomotives, building the new stations — and allocating shares of a $118 million rail fund set aside in the FDOT's budget starting in 2013. Officials estimate two more years until Treasure Coast train riders can take the FEC again.
I don't get this. Amtrak currently runs up from MIami to West Palm on these "several miles of state-owned coastal tracks," i.e., the former CSX/old SAL trackage on which Tri-Rail runs (and it's more like 70 miles). Amtrak had a no-fault relationship with CSX, and I would have presumed they got the same with the state after Tri-Rail took over. This article seems to indicate that this was not the case. So Amtrak has been running trains on 70 miles of tracks for 20+ years without this no-fault policy?

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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:34 am

A Brief Passage from the linked material submitted by Mr. Smith and immediately addressed by Mr. JasW:

  • For Amtrak, the biggest issue to be ironed out to even consider service on the FEC was getting a no-fault policy for operating south of the Treasure Coast. To reach the FEC tracks in West Palm Beach, Amtrak trains in Miami requires several miles of state-owned coastal tracks, company Government Affairs Director Thomas L. Stennis III said Tuesday.

    "This bill creates a no-fault liability for Amtrak and the state," he said. "Amtrak currently has this relationship with other host railroad companies. But the state didn't have that relationship with Amtrak."

    Amtrak operated on a no-fault basis with CSX Transportation Inc. in South Florida, he said. But when the state bought those tracks for the Tri-Rail commuter line south of Jupiter, Stennis said, Amtrak had to negotiate such a relationship from scratch with the state.
I'm utterly confused.

First what tracks are being addressed? If such are the Tri-Rail tracks West Palm-Miami, then I think it safe assumption, as JasW notes, that the pre-existing indemnity provisions with SCL remained "as successor'.

Now will FEC seek indemnity provisions in an operating agreement beyond those with other roads as CSX did with the Central Florida (Sun Rail) agency, or will they accept those in place with other roads which, to my knowledge, are essentially "no-fault" as addressed by the article.

Now I should note that indemnity is simply one issue (albeit important) within a bi-lateral agreement between Amtrak and a railroad over which their trains operate, and for which no public disclosure is required. I have been over thirty years since my last railroad paycheck, but I can report first hand that the indemnity provisions on my road when I was there were, essentially, no-fault, i.e. each party cleans up their own messes (Amtrak; their equipment, injury claims. Road; their tracks and lineside structures injuries to their employees). How much insurance, as distinct from self-indemnification, will be in force is a matter for negotiation. If the CSX-Sun-Rail agreement regarding indemnity, which apparently upset any "no-fault" doctrine on the former ACL line through Orange and Osceola counties, has now been applied to Amtrak (what about the limited CSX freight operations as well?) operating over Tri-Rail, how does this legislation directly affect any future negotiations between Amtrak and FEC regarding indemnity?

Indirectly, it undeniably does so, as FEC will use this as wedge to "foist" off otherwise their indemnity (tracks lineside structures) under no fault to Amtrak. Although I have long held that "Amtrak gets a free ride" from the industry regarding track usage (I believe others here with industry experience in their "CV" also hold same), for this topic I must put Amtrak's hat on and note this development may raise the cost of operating over the FEC to such level that Amtrak will simply choose to stay on the existing SAL route. Also of concern; if Amtrak "caves in", other roads will use the cave-in as a wedge to upset "no fault" on their properties.

All told, I cannot see how this development will enhance the possibility that Amtrak trains will operate over the FEC.

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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:16 pm

East Coast Passenger Train Venture Waiting on Amtrak
Pushing to get an east-coast rail line back on track, proponents say their venture would complement plans for privately operated high-speed passenger service between Miami and Orlando.

Meeting in Daytona Beach on Friday, about 75 municipal representatives heard officials from the Florida Department of Transportation and Amtrak discuss resurrecting a coastal run between Jacksonville and Miami.

The Florida Legislature gave the project an important push forward this year when it reduced Amtrak's liability. Lawmakers did that by adding the rail line to the state's $200 million insurance policy at no cost to Amtrak.

The next big step will be for FDOT, Amtrak and Florida East Coast Railway, which owns the tracks, to draw up an operating agreement for the project.

But without any firm estimates or commitments from Amtrak, the timetable remains fuzzy.
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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:53 am

According to this article, the FEC All Aboard Florida service won't preclude this service being offered.

New high-speed rail effort won't preclude train service on Treasure Coast
Treasure Coast officials and Amtrak supporters. who have been working for about 13 years to bring passenger service back to the Florida East Coast Railway, say they don't see All Aboard Florida as a threat.

"We're pleased to hear about All Aboard Florida," Amtrak Government Affairs Director Thomas "Todd" Stennis told his company's supporters last month. "Passenger rail is truly beneficial for everyone. The (All Aboard) and Amtrak projects are different projects with different interests. Both operations will benefit everyone on the FEC corridor."

...

Amtrak, meanwhile, is the familiar federally subsidized national passenger service. Its trains would take state-owned track from Miami to West Palm Beach, switch over to the FEC track, then stop at new stations in Stuart, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Melbourne, Cocoa, Titusville, Daytona Beach and St. Augustine before rejoining existing Amtrak service in Jacksonville for a 326-mile route.

To make this happen, Amtrak needs to work out a tri-party agreement with FEC Railway and the state, which has set aside $118 million toward the effort.

"There is nothing about All Aboard Florida that would preclude the Amtrak project from operating," All Aboard spokeswoman Christine Barney said. "We see 50 million people currently traveling the highways (between Orlando and Miami) each year."
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NE2
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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by NE2 » Fri May 04, 2012 7:17 am

trainmaster611 wrote:
NE2 wrote:There was briefly a logging line from near St. Cloud to Melbourne. It ferried motorists across the swamp while US 192 was being built.
Do you have more information about this? Do you know if it connected the ACL to the Kissimmee Valley line?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Cypress_Company
The first external link does a good job of showing the line, ending about 10 miles short of the KV.

trainmaster611
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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by trainmaster611 » Fri May 04, 2012 10:30 pm

NE2 wrote:
trainmaster611 wrote:
NE2 wrote:There was briefly a logging line from near St. Cloud to Melbourne. It ferried motorists across the swamp while US 192 was being built.
Do you have more information about this? Do you know if it connected the ACL to the Kissimmee Valley line?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Cypress_Company
The first external link does a good job of showing the line, ending about 10 miles short of the KV.
Ah yeah I was aware of that railroad but I was also aware that it didn't get to the KV line, let alone to St. Cloud. But if you look at maps of the area, it would seem to suggest there was once a rail ROW from St. Cloud to somewhere east of there (roughly following 441/192).

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Re: Amtrak and the FEC, MIA to JAX.

Post by NE2 » Sat May 05, 2012 6:37 am

trainmaster611 wrote:Ah yeah I was aware of that railroad but I was also aware that it didn't get to the KV line, let alone to St. Cloud. But if you look at maps of the area, it would seem to suggest there was once a rail ROW from St. Cloud to somewhere east of there (roughly following 441/192).
I don't know of any beyond Ashton (the CR 15 junction, where a branch turned north to Narcoossee). But there were some logging lines out there connecting to the KV.
http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/maps/galler ... /index.php

Anyway, it's clear that these are no better than any other random alignment across the swamps.

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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:54 pm

I guess liability has been worked out. Next step is redoing passenger counts:

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/jun/08/ ... ership-on/
Now that the state has agreed to accept liability for potential rail crashes near Miami, Amtrak representatives say they are revising their 2010 ridership and revenue studies to make sure passenger rail service through the Treasure Coast is still feasible.

"The numbers we have are already two years old," Amtrak Government Affairs Director Todd Stennis said Wednesday. "I don't want to put a timeline on this revision. Of course, we want it sooner rather than later, but when we do get the numbers, we'll let everyone know."

"Everyone" would include officials from Vero Beach, Fort Pierce and Stuart on the Treasure Coast, along with St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cocoa and Melbourne, where Amtrak expects to stop at new stations in a long-proposed return of passenger rail service to this stretch for the first time since 1968.

Service would be one round trip a day to start off. After it gains more steam, supporters look to two trips a day.

Stennis' comments come after Gov. Rick Scott in late April removed what Amtrak officials said was a major obstacle. Scott signed a new law that provides a no-fault policy on 72 miles of state-owned track from Miami to West Palm Beach.
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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by jstolberg » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:58 pm

Good. Start with one round-trip. But I think service can grow to 4 round trips with departures from each end at approximately 7:30 am, 10:00 am, 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm. That would create connections to both Silvers at Jacksonville. I also think one train could be extended to Atlanta, leaving southbound after 8:45 am with the return trip arriving before 7:45 pm to make connections to the Crescent someday when the Crescent has a few more long-distance coach cars. Of course, that train would require a Georgia co-sponsor.

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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by Jeff Smith » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:50 am

I did find this interesting, although unrelated to this proposed service since New Smyrna is NOT to get a stop.

http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/ ... on-st.html
The Washington Street site was once a booming stop along the Florida East Coast Railway line. It was once home to the Palace Cafe restaurant and to a dance hall that hosted entertainers including Charles, Basie and The Supremes. Hill closed the building in the mid-1960s after railroad workers went on strike.
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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by Jishnu » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:10 pm

For those interested take a look at this Service Development Plan to get an idea of what has been studied, and what Amtrak is about to verify/update. It would appear that the choice for the first round trip would be based on a split of the Silver Star at JAX.

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Re: Amtrak on the FEC Miami (MIA) to Jacksonville (JAX)

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:31 pm

It's been awful quiet with All Aboard Florida sucking the oxygen out of the room: Daytona Beach News-Journal

The article's nominally about the station location...
...The spot city commissioners have chosen for a station in Daytona Beach is property just south of International Speedway Boulevard and west of Ridgewood Avenue near City Hall.

The city has its eye on two parcels in that region, one about 2 acres large and another less than a third of an acre. There are some structures on the land but neither site is actively being used, Lassiter said.

...

A new proposed rail line that would run from Orlando to Miami with a turn in Cocoa has knocked the Miami to Jacksonville proposal down the priority list, said Kim DeLaney, strategic development coordinator for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council in Stuart.

"That (new) project is taking all the energy now," DeLaney said Tuesday, noting it could start service in two years. "There's an enormous effort now from all parties."

...

For the Amtrak line through Daytona to get back on track, there will need to be an operating agreement drawn up among Amtrak, Florida East Coast Railway and the state Department of Transportation. If that agreement is ever reached, it will still take about two years after that to put all the other pieces in place, officials have said.

The state Department of Transportation has set aside $118 million for the Amtrak project, and the money could be available in July. Repeated attempts to land federal funding have failed, and the project has been scaled back to prepare for the possibility of never getting help from Washington, D.C.
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