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I applaud Florida East Coast Industries for stepping forward and showing the way to the other American Companies that investment in this country is the only way that this country has a chance to make a recovery.
Great idea . During the misguided HSR craze , I proposed
the Cocoa - Orlando link and that it be built to freight standards as there is great cross Florida potential . Kudos to the FEC and to Governor Scott who did not fall for the HSR project.
It's refreshing to see what happens when government gets out of the way and lets the marketplace perform its miracle. Hopefully this is just the beginning.
Let's all tip our hats to the FEC. I would imagine that Mr. Flagler would be saluting the FEC's top executives. FEC has been a leading railroad in many ways for many decades. I wish them the very best on this next endeavor as passenger service is very important to me. Freight is one animal to move and passengers are another (LOL). America needs to restore/rebuild its passenger program and to see a rail company like FEC take the first step, we need to watch, take notes and support them in any manner possible and squelch the "It will not work"-ers. America has enough finger pointers, we need more companies like FEC!
The only other words to say?? --"All Aboard!"
I, too, applaud FEC for this action. That said, I would not, as some here seem inclined, jump to the conclusion that rail passenger service can be operated profitably by any number of carriers on any number of routes. The FEC route is just the kind of route that experts have been saying for about 40 years might work. The distance is such that it can be competitive with private automobiles and airlines. The parallel I-95 Interstate Highway is pretty much congested with bumper-to-bumper traffic at all times.
FEC management is not likely to get carried away with enthusiasm and do things just because it would be nice or because rail fans want it. It will proceed with this project if its studies say it can be profitable. I wish FEC success.
If we take this proposal for what it is-a glorified, diesel hauled commuter service- its a GOOD thing. And Florida, like the rest of the U S, needs more travel options. However. It is hard to see how 70 year old technology running at 40 years ago speeds (Brit HST, anyone) is a cause for much celebration.
Why so timid? A PPP similar to the HSR proposal killed by radical Governor Scott, running on dedicated track adjacent to a dedicated freight line would represent the future. FEC has the ROW in all the right places. Best scenario is to throw Scott and his Reason Foundation oil men out and resume TRUE HSR development. America's freight rails need to wake up to the fact that HSR is NOT going away. And they can participate or get out of the way. Italy will soon host the first ever PRIVATE TGV service running on Italian State ROW with it's own trains, crews, maintenance facilities. Something like that WOULD be remarkable!
Flagler is saluting the management? No! I live in St. Augustine and I'll tell you the old boy is sitting up in his grave and rubbing his eyes.
Florida HSR failed because enthusiasm has never built a successful railroad. There was even a line item in the application where a question; 'why build' and the answer was; 'because it's fun.'
HSR, was too short, had too many stops, made an insane 110 degree turn at Cocoa (which meant anyone driving direct from Tampa to Miami on a moped could beat the train), it missed any connection with Amtrak, missed Tampa Union Station which was rebuilt for this purpose, ended at an airport 23 miles (average from the metro) from anywhere. Allowing for parking at OIA, check-in, an average 30 minute wait for hourly trains, that same moped could beat this one too on I-4.
This is exactly the type of passenger rail needed in great quantities in Florida. But it just might be the start of Scott's next campaign in election 2014. "See folks, I built your railroad after all." Or "Hey we tried, but it was just too ....... fill in the blank."
However it turns out leaving Jacksonville off the map, then perhaps someday/somehow Atlanta, would be a grave error. These trains should 'replace' I-95, otherwise known as the worlds longest parking facility.
How about using a nonstop service like www.youtube.com/watch to make the trip a lot faster?
And do not people who are between the two termini deserve decent transportation? Or are there no people, only alligators?
How about if we just applaud FEC's efforts. Let them do what Amtrak California did: create a population of train supporters who are regular PASSENGERS, not just fans or foamers. Twenty years ago there was little service in CA; today it hosts the #3, #4, #5 intercity passenger corridors in the US. All those passengers make a SOLID base of support for more and faster services. They also help to shut up the nay-sayers.
Essentially the same thing was done in Maine with just one route. Not particularly fast, short enough that air travel is not a good alternative - and enough frequencies to be used on a regular basis.
Towns and cities on the initial station-stop list will probably push to be added - once the service has started.
If you build it, they will ride. Pretty well proven - from Maine to California.
Amen, Brother Skranish. "The Best is the enemy of the Good," and all that; farting around seeking perfection while ignoring stuff that's feasible now is silly.
Good to see a fellow Massho...uhh "Bay Stater" in here.
This is the best news Florida has had in a long time. Inter-city connectivity has long been lacking in this state via any singular mode and given the reasonable cost of train travel and the superior comfort it affords over bus or plane, this service will be used by many. The high cost and hassel of doing business between Florida cities can now be surmounted and did it happen because of bureaucrats in state government at taxpayer expense? No! Congratulations to the railroad for this upgrade that will greatly benefit Floridians.
Let's not get too carried away by the FEC announcement. First, "reasonable cost" of train travel is as yet an unknown as to how reasonable. There will be a capital cost involved in getting the service up and running. That cost, for a private company, will have to be in the ticket price, so we don't know how reasonable the cost will be. If it is too high, there won't be any profit, and if there is no profit, I wouldn't expect FEC to do the deal.