Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

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NIMBYkiller
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by NIMBYkiller » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:52 pm

I tried to go for a round trip joyride last week but got caught up in that fatality. Only got to ride up from Miami to West Palm Beach. Imo, it is nice, but very overdone. Baggage through the scanner, beverage cart down the aisle, West Palm was a very large station with not much retail space to generate additional revenue. Nonetheless, I'm happy to see it up and running, but it almost feels too much like an airline. Unfortunately I had to take Tri-Rail back from West Palm because sb trains were still being canceled into the night, so I didn't get to experience first class. We'll see how it goes once Orlando comes online. I do like what I'm seeing with the redvelopment around West Palm and although I didn't get to walk around at Miami Central, on paper it seems exactly right. Just wondering, why no station at Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport? It passes right by the edge of the terminals.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:48 am

Mr. NIMBY, regarding your immediate, I cannot locate any news reports of the fatality you note. Was it Brightline or FEC and where did it occur?

Enquiring mind wants to know.

Regarding your comment on the airline-like experience, that is precisely what they are trying to emulate. Everybody's been on a plane, but pushing fifty years into the Amtrak-era, how many potential passengers have been on a train?

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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:37 pm

I’d argue the opposite: they want to differentiate themself from the cattle car experience of air travel, especially intermediate distance travel.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:45 pm

Mr. Administrator, I should modify that statement to mean pre-Dereg air travel. Coach, suffice to say the only class I would see on either Mom and Dad's dime (to and from college) or the MILW's, was comfortable enough back then. Based on my two joyrides to date and another on tap for this weekend, I think that is a fair statement

NIMBYkiller
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by NIMBYkiller » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:06 am

This was on Monday Jan 21st. I don't know for certain it was a fatality, but it was a "police investigation" and I saw the standard blanket over the body trackside not far out of Miami. I get they want to be more elevated than the current rail experience, but it was just so overdone. From a business standpoint, the beverage/snack cart does make sense vs spending the money on maintaining a snack car (same revenue potential, greater expense), so I guess I understand that. Just a personal opinion on the feel of the whole experience.

Arlington
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Arlington » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:36 am

BL is quoted as referring to "our partnership with the Tampa Airport" which compels them to consider a Disney& Others theme park stop on I-4

Does this mean they already have $ and a route to go I-4 to TPA and the only question is how they "flex" off that route to also get a downtown Tampa stop (desireable for its Real Estate revenues)?
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:02 pm

The joyride is set for this Sunday. Leave Miami 4P ar WP 515P return 8P arrive 915P. Select $80, so they're not giving anything away any more.

gokeefe
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by gokeefe » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:54 pm

Mr. Norman,

I look forward to the report, and in particular any observations on the level of patronage.

Safe travels.
gokeefe

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:23 pm

From Ruth's Chris West Palm--'

NB dp MIA 410P was "moderately" filled. On-Board for Select is "there" with airline First.

But how long are they prepared to "lose their shirts"?

A bureaucracy like Amtrak can't do that, as entrepreneurial risk is not part of a bureaucracy's playbook. But again, how long?

In order to have a chance, they must build out to MCO, but for that they need $1.6B. Sure they're talking about Private Activity Bonds with Federal tax exempt interest. But any such issue is rated "junk". That means "below investment grade" and any interest rate will be so high there could be no expectation of profit.

Now it appears with the Railroad and Industries having been sold to separate foreign interests, any "friends" in Tallahassee are lost. That may or may not play out to subsidies.

We shall see.

Arlington
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Arlington » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:58 pm

^
(1) How do we know they're currently losing their shirts?
(2) From a ridership and revenue standpoint they seem to be growing on plan and converging with where they would have been had they started service in Q4 2017.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:12 pm

From Brightline West Palm--

I have the Select lounge all to myself waiting for the 8P back to Miami. They even have Ferrari-Carrno Fume Blanc set out along with many a nibble.

No question whatever, they're trying.

On the strength of this exceptional service product. I hope they make it but considering the costs they are addressing to "build it out", I must continue my skepticism.

gokeefe
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by gokeefe » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:35 pm

Mr. Norman,

Your report is greatly appreciated.

Interesting to note that on a weekend of no particular significance that the train was still selling well.

I would note that "friends in Tallahassee" should still be plentiful for as long as the wheels turn. Too many industries, communities and employees are linked to the railroad to ignore it. The occasional campaign contribution is surely helpful as always.

I strongly suspect that Brightline will succeed with the only requirement being easy access to Rights of Way. I think the bonds will sell and that someone on Wall Street will consider them a "safe bet" when compared to some of the other more exotic trades available.
gokeefe

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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by EuroStar » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:20 am

Virgin Trains USA has filed for an IPO https://www.rtands.com/passenger/interc ... asdaq-ipo/. A brief quote:
Virgin Trains USA announced Jan. 30 that it is launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 28,334,000 shares of common stock. The NASDAQ Global Select Market listing is expected to raise $17 to $19 per share—between $482 million and $538 million—resulting in the company having a market capitalization of up to $3.2 billion.
If they can actually sell the shares at $17, they probably have a chance of getting enough in bonds to actually reach Orlando. If they cannot get $17 for the shares, they are in big trouble long term as their one operating segment will not turn profit without reaching Orlando and preferably Tampa.

CentralValleyRail
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NEW THREAD

Post by CentralValleyRail » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:53 pm

Funny when I suggested a separate thread 2 years ago people jumped all over me for it...

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Tadman
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Re: Virgin Rail née Brightline/AAF Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Post by Tadman » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:35 pm

Does FEC have a railroad police department? Given the large amount of crossing fatalities, couldn't they start writing tickets for crossing violations? I'm not an expert on how the railroad police works, but I understand they have the same police powers as city/state police (IE they are real cops and not rentacops). Six weeks of stout enforcement at the worst crossings could seriously change behavior.

Frankly, not only would it help to modify motorist behavior, but would go a long way to showing that the railroad is doing everything they can to mitigate an unsafe situation when it comes time to defend the inevitable wrongful death lawsuit. As we see in many car-train accidents, people who would never think of running a red light will sit on the tracks all day.

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