MIA-ORL Rail Service Is On Track.
Ever since it was announced that Floridians and visitors to that state will soon have frequent passenger train service between Miami and Orlando, there has been opposition to the plan. Much of it was spontaneous and disorganized, but some was coordinated and run behind the scenes.
I’m not entirely sure to what extent those anti-rail factions are still active, but it probably won’t matter anyway. The trains will be operated by All Aboard Florida, a private company owned by Florida East Coast Industries. They, not coincidentally, are the parent company of Florida East Coast Railway, a freight railroad. The passenger trains won’t be subsidized by the taxpayers and will be running on track owned by the parent company.
Just imagine how the Amtrak people must feel. Here’s a passenger train that doesn’t have to beg Congress for money and will run on time simply because the owners of the host railroad want it to.
The trains will be hauled by locomotives built at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, California. The initial order was for ten units and an important milepost has just been passed: the prototype “Brightline” locomotive—that name will take some getting used to—has just completed is first extensive testing and apparently the results were impressive. Here’s a quote from the International Railway Journal:
The initial static and dynamic testing, which took three weeks to complete, covered about 45 areas including functional tests of the air and brake systems, software for all systems, fire detection, audible warning devices, communications systems, and empty and fully-loaded weight verification.
As noted, there was a lot of opposition a year or so ago, but as far as I could make out, most of it came from people living on or near the route who were complaining about increased rail traffic. I suppose that meant they might have to stop more frequently to wait for a train to pass at a grade crossing. Of course there were complaints about increased noise, even from people living many miles from the right-of-way.
My favorite objection came from a guy who owns a sailboat and was pissed because, with a couple of dozen more trains a day, it’s now more likely that he’ll to have to wait more often while a drawbridge is opened to give him passage from his marina to the ocean. Aw … poor baby!