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All Aboard Florida

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I don't understand why they don't have a Cocoa Beach stop? This would really add to their numbers as tourist could use it to get to the beach and KSC. I'm sure Brevard county would work with them to set up a regional transit system from the station to the tourist areas, and if not Brevard KSC may be willing to do their own private shuttle (no pun intended) from the station to their park.

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Rather than Cocoa, I'd prefer to see a Port Canaveral stop. How nice would that be to hop a train in O-town to catch a cruise (and avoid those long term parking fees at the port).

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Thanks for starting this thread. I also think that they need a stop in Cocoa. If they expand service to Jax in the future, the Cocoa stop would be required. A line to Port Canaveral would also be great but that would involve a new line. I'm most concerned with this thing terminating at the airport. That seems like a horrible idea. Stopping at the airport is fine but the line should terminate and Lynx Central Station. That would allow for a one-seat ride from downtown Orlando to downtown Miami and would also create a non-stop downtown to airport link. The State owns the Sunrail line going into downtown and OUC has that spur going near the airport. Otherwise, we will need to figure out some complicated and expensive way to expand Sunrail to the airport, which seems unnecessary.

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SOM are good architects. I'm excited to see what they can do with these rail stations.

Regarding the Orlando station - a part of me does wish a centralized downtown intermodal center were the focus here. All of those passengers streaming into downtown streets would no doubt have an impact on downtown. On the other hand, there are examples of successful intermodal centers at airports, Schiphol in Amsterdam comes to mind. If the airport terminal connects the Sunrail spur, future lightrail, FEC, airline traffic, and Lynx, I think it could be a very successful transit link -- possibly Florida's busiest.

Edited by prahaboheme

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I am still convinced that at this stage the primary goal is maximizing profits from their existing infrastructure. This may be a good thing as they are not inherently trying to create the most successful mass transit project, they dont need to maximize ridership just yet. That means they can cover the costs of getting the lie up and running, and then let expansion only have to worry about paying for itself. There is room in the future to grow - you can always add stations. For instance it might not make sense right now to stop at Canaveral so you dont compete with Disney's cruise busses - add that once th line gets built. I woud think they would want to add the convention center, though, as that is far more likely a destination for Miamians that Orlando airport. SOM is good at this stuff and will help them figure out the best placement of their stations.

The big question now is how much resistance Scott and his interests will put up. On one hand this will create a fight over roadway projects and associated insutries, as well as shipping and freight. On the other hand, this maximizes profits for a communications infrastructure those industries really need. How much are they wiling to risk biting the hand that feeds them?

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Aside from the fact that the train goes to the airport, was anything in that video particularly discouraging? Any comments made?

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He spent 12:00 though 18:30 talking about how awesome the downtown MIA, FTL and WPB stations would be and how they would have great connectivity and would revitalize the areas around those downtown stations, then...18:30.

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Ah - thanks! I'll have to check out those clips. I can see that being a bummer in context.

I'm not sure how big of a deal this will be for us and our downtown. We aren't a tourist destination, especially compared to the attractions area. I think that's okay. Our downtown destinations will benefit more from local tourism which things like SunRail, increased bike trails leading into the core, and LYMMO expansion will all be feeders for.

Conversely, I'm not going to move away from downtown over into Lee Vista just to be closer to the rail, even if I had to take it every 2 weeks. There is already a bus connection to OIA for me and eventually there will be a rail one as well.

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Sounds like he would want to steal some tourist traffic from Orlando and divert it to South Florida interests. Just sayin'.

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Exciting article.

- Identifies probably station locations for Miami, Ft Laud, WPB

- Mentions connectivity at OIA via a multimodal center and a new rail transit line (SunRail or E/W connector?)

- Lists December 7th as the due date for competing RFPs for a rail connection from Cocoa to Orlando.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/11/3092857/new-miami-orlando-passenger-rail.html

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Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail on track

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/fl-fec-all-aboard-20121206,0,6744118.story

 

I went ahead and created a new thread for FEC's new train to keep from confusion with SunRail, maglev and all the other projects out there (featuring various likelihoods of legitimacy.)

 

It's interesting that FEC's train is no bargain: the article predicts a cost of "less than $100." I looked up the cost of an Amtrak ticket and it's $42 (let's hear it for that free market efficiency!). If the figures are correct, FEC will go from Miami to OIA in about 3 hours while Amtrak seems to take about 5 hours and 45 minutes. That's interesting, of course, given that Amtrak uses the more direct CSX tracks, but of course is using conventional Amtrak trains (FEC is predicting speeds up to 110 mph, which I suspect Amtrak doesn't achieve with its current equipment.) Of course, FEC leaves you at OIA while Amtrak can take you right to downtown Orlando or WP, so changing trains would add to the time required on the FEC run.

 

Interestingly, the article notes FEC may well use federal financing but they're still touting "no taxpayer funds." Using right of way along FL528, of course, is using government-owned resources, but of course that doesn't count to a true Galtist (wink/nod)! Hmmmm.

 

I also think it's interesting it was FEC that prevented use of its tracks by Amtrak along much of the Florida east coast - now they're all in favor of getting back in the passenger business they dumped years ago. 

 

Maybe, in fact, all this makes sense, but I detect holes here bigger than a fine swiss cheese. Were it up to me I wonder if we might be better advised to negotiate an upgrade to Acela trains for Amtrak. But no one seems to be even asking how that might compare. Stay tuned...

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It's a shame that they won't terminate in downtown Orlando.  BTW, the Amtrak route to Miami is not more direct.  They also share a single line with freight trains most of the way from Auburndale to WPB.

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It's a shame that they won't terminate in downtown Orlando.  BTW, the Amtrak route to Miami is not more direct.  They also share a single line with freight trains most of the way from Auburndale to WPB.

 

I mean only in terms of the route "as the crow flies." The FEC route will have to travel east first and then make a right turn rather than just down the center of the state. Given the travel time for Amtrak currently, what you're saying about sharing a single line makes sense. Amtrak sharing the CSX line with freight may be another reason why the FEC line makes more sense. That's the thing - I haven't seen an apples to oranges comparison so far - there's just this automatic assumption being peddled that FEC must be better because it's private. As anyone who has ever compared OUC and Progress Energy knows, such is not always the case. I welcome whatever the best option is, regardless of who operates it.

 

Bic and Sunshine, there's apparently an older thread for AAF that I missed when I was looking earlier. Pleas feel free to merge this into that one - my apologies for the oversight.

Edited by spenser1058

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As someone who lives in Miami and travels to Orlando once every month or two to visit family, I have a vested interested in this All Aboard Florida proposal.

 

It takes me no longer than 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Miami Beach to south Orlando and costs roughly $110 between gas and tolls round trip. If I don't feel like driving, I can fly and the whole door-to-door process takes a little over 3 hours (assuming no delay, of course) and might cost around $150 round trip. If I don't want to fly, I can take a luxury bus to MCO that will get me there in 4 hours for $80 round trip. My point is, why should I spend more than $150 round trip on an All Aboard Florida train ticket that won't get me to Orlando any faster than a car or plane and will still require a car to get to/from each station. Likewise, why would a tourist family of 4 spend hundreds of dollars on train tickets when they could just rent a car and make the trip for far less money?

 

I'm a huge proponent of linking these cities with some type of rail but I feel like the system needs to claim some sort of advantage over the other transportation options. Right now all it can claim is that it will be less stressful than flying or driving but in the end, the things people care most about are time and money, and right now the proposed system isn't going to be significantly faster or cheaper than the alternatives. It's going to be hard enough to get people to use rail in Florida, I feel like this route needs to be served by true high-speed rail in order to be successful.

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The biggest selling point for me is going to be the proposed hourly frequency. I've been excited to try Red Coach but the timing was always off. Same goes for Amtrak. It was the schedule more than the 6 hour trip. Flying may be the best alternative - but in terms of driving, and cost of driving - keep in mind that the true cost is closer to 60 cents per mile per AAA. For a round trip of 400-500 miles you're looking at a cost of over 200 dollars. I don't know if that figure includes tolls.

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Flying may be the best alternative - but in terms of driving, and cost of driving - keep in mind that the true cost is closer to 60 cents per mile per AAA. For a round trip of 400-500 miles you're looking at a cost of over 200 dollars. I don't know if that figure includes tolls.

 

Well, like I mentioned, I was just including the $110 figure as my observed cost of gas (premium) and tolls (~$26 roundtrip). If I factor in misc. operational costs of driving 470 miles and the odds of me getting a speeding ticket (pretty decent), that obviously goes up. But those numbers are mitigated by the fact that I won't have to depend on a friend on a friend for a ride to/from the station or airport or pay for a cab ride, the fact that I'll have my own car to use when I get to my destination, and the flexibility of being able to travel whenever I want.

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Don't underestimate the amount of people who just prefer rail as an alternative, if it is available (I am one of these people).  I frequently take Acela between Boston and NYC, and at times down to DC (although I do admit at this distance it is just easier to fly, but on days where I am travelling I can work from the cabin).  Your point is spot of on, of course, regarding walkability.  If you cannot simply hop off the train into an urban environment, much of the appeal is gone for the average traveler.

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Acela Boston-New York one way fair can run you between $100-175.  Amtrak Regional is under $100.

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