Brightline Is On the Move.
Yesterday, we heard from Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline, who spoke about some of the challenges the railroad has faced during this start-up period. One has to do with grade crossing accidents, of which there have been several. Those incidents triggered a rush to judgement by some in communities along the route. People will tolerate freight trains, but are dead set against passenger trains, especially when they’re traveling at higher speeds.
In the 80 miles from Miami to West Palm Beach, there are 183 grade crossings. Brightline had assumed responsibility to provide gates and lights, but so far, not one of the cities and towns through which this train passes has felt any obligation to reroute traffic around any of those crossings or spend any tax dollars for underpasses.
Brightline service will eventually run up Florida’s east coast, reaching Orlando as early as next Spring. The company has also begun the process of securing necessary approvals to operate trains across the state from Orlando to Tampa.
One very interesting note: Goddard pointed out that there will naturally be schedule conflicts between the two separate entities: Brihtline’s passenger trains and the freight trains running at much slower speeds. I thought it very interesting that their solution to this inevitable problem was to hire an outside third party to handle the dispatching of both freight and passenger trains. All things considered, Brightline is an impressive operation.