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Brightline Trains to Run to Port of Miami from Orlando, etc.


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Does anyone know more about this? Sounds promising... I wonder if they would ever connect the other ports to this line...

My wife just found this recent article about the plan to expand Brightline train service from Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations to the Port of Miami. I’m just seeing this now... sounds promising. Apparently, Richard Branson is behind the expansion as it will benefit the new Virgin cruise line. Not sure if the train-to-cabin baggage service will only be for Virgin.

Plans advanced Thursday for a Brightline train station for cruise passengers at PortMiami, with Miami-Dade moving closer to approving a depot connecting the world’s busiest cruise dock to a for-profit railroad with plans to extend as far north as Orlando.... ‘They can hand over their bags at the Fort Lauderdale station, the West Palm Beach station, the Orlando station, and the passenger won’t see his or her bags until he or she gets into their cabin,’ said Juan Kuryla, the county’s port director.”

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/tourism-cruises/article236355013.html

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I'm still confused how Virgin Trains vs. Brightline work as companies.  it seems like everything is still branded Brightline but Virgin Trains took them over.

It's a much nicer service over TriRail but also much more costly compared to TriRail.  Where TriRail goes to MIA airport, Brightline has a downtown Miami station.  TriRal is supposed to use the Brightline Miami station at some point.  It sounds like different trains will run out to the port and then you have to transfer.  

Like anything it will depend on cost.  The Sky Train in Vancouver is a convenient service between airport and cruise port but also pretty inexpensive.  

The high speed portion to Orlando looks promising but again pricing is the key.

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Amtrak already does a service from Tampa through Orlando (not up to downtown but near Disney) and then down through Fort Lauderdale to Miami.

We used it for a cruise to/from a year or two ago ... as the DD i liked not having to drive but the rest of the crew voted for the convenience of having me drive.

Departure time was roughly 1pm on each end and arrival time roughly 6pm so we left on Friday around 1 from Downtown Tampa, got into Miami at 6 something. Stayed at a hotel, boarded on Saturday and then we got back the following Saturday took the train back to Tampa getting in around 6pm again.

Times werent ideal (but clearly it isnt driven around the cruise schedule) but price was reasonable.

Im interested in seeing how much the high speed option moves the needle but preliminary pricing looked like airlines to me so might as well drive if its more than a couple of people.

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1 hour ago, PG Cruiser said:

I hate having to drive before or after a cruise, especially after.  So I'm looking at the Amtrak service from Jacksonville to FLL or MIA.  10+ hours!  I might get a roomette.

I see flights for way less than what Amtrak would cost between JAX and FLL and MIA.  I fly out of JAX more than my home airport.

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5 hours ago, PG Cruiser said:

My greatest fear when flying to a cruise port is lost luggage.  I don't know if Amtrak ever loses luggage.

Luggage is often included in travel insurance. I hate nothing more than lost luggage... but appropriate coverage always provides some additional peace of mind. (Also, if you have a specialty credit card, they often include some lost luggage coverage if you use your card for the purchase!)

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10 hours ago, PG Cruiser said:

My greatest fear when flying to a cruise port is lost luggage.  I don't know if Amtrak ever loses luggage.

There's no routing of luggage with Amtrak so there's not that concern.  But someone can easily walk off with your bag.  I'll make a carry-on work if I'm really concerned about it..but the short hop direct flights I relax a bit.  I haven't done it yet, but if I was on my own I would completely take one of the 6am flights out of JAX to FLL or MIA.  Out of JAX they are often the first flights out of the day so no waiting for an incoming flight.  But my concern is more the saving time because the flight times don't line up well with my schedule causing me to take more leave time..but if you're considering Amtrak then at all that's not really as much of a concern.  I have thought about the overnight Red Coach luxury bus too..but I am also one who could completely sleep on the bus the entire way--takes care of the hotel cost and someone else takes care of the driving.

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Quote

There are a lot of people against a train coming over the rivers into Port Canaveral do to environmental reasons. but I just read that a stop on 528 near Clearlake Rd in Cocoa will probably happen since they already own the land.  Could be 2 years off though. I hate drive in big cities with heavy traffic. I'm excited for a train so i don't have to drive to Disney anymore & there are some great cruises out of Ft Lauderdale I'd love to do. 

 

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On 10/20/2019 at 9:42 AM, twangster said:

I'm still confused how Virgin Trains vs. Brightline work as companies.  it seems like everything is still branded Brightline but Virgin Trains took them over.

It is my understanding the Virgin Trains bought out Brightline and will be changing the branding to Virgin sometime next year.

On 10/20/2019 at 9:42 AM, twangster said:

It sounds like different trains will run out to the port and then you have to transfer.  

That is how I read it as well.  If it was the same train, it would need to do a fairly significant reverse move to access the Miami terminal and the port. Everything that I have read about this previously sounds like it will just be a single station at the port near the current trans-loading facility.  So you still have the problem of the "last mile" to the terminal.  Seems like a waste if you have to take the train to the Miami terminal, transfer to the train to the port, then transfer to the bus to the terminal.  Might as well just get on a bus to the port at the Miami Terminal.  Now if they the do a time-separated light rail and do a loop to all of the terminals via a combination of private right-of-way and street running, that might be worth it but it would be more difficult and costly to construct.

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On 10/30/2019 at 12:02 PM, StayFrosty said:

It is my understanding the Virgin Trains bought out Brightline and will be changing the branding to Virgin sometime next year.

I hope they don't use the Virgin Pendolino trains that are used here i  the UK - there is always a rather pungent smell of chemical toilets as you board ??

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15 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

I hope they don't use the Virgin Pendolino trains that are used here i  the UK - there is always a rather pungent smell of chemical toilets as you board ??

No worries there.  The Virgin Pendolino trains, like almost all British trains, have a narrower loading gauge (the trains are narrower). US lines can take wider trains so using a UK train set here would unnecessarily squeeze passengers. Those trains are electric and use a tilting technology that is not really needed on the Florida route which is very straight and non-electrified.  Lastly those trains wouldn't meet US crash worthiness standards.

I haven't heard any complaints about the new trains that Brightline purchased but they will need more once service expands to Orlando.  Hopefully Virgin will make better choices than they did for their British franchises.

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  • 1 month later...

Pretty sure I saw some of this clearing happening when I was there a Cpl week  ago along the 528.

 

I am  curious to see once its up and running what the experience and cost will be like. We are taking a bus from Orlando to Miami for our cruise coming up in April. A train option would be better I would think....from MCO to Port of Miami...yes please!

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I recently used this service from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and it was FANTASTIC. The terminal and trains are modern and clean. You can purchase tix using an app or in the terminal. There are two classes, Smart and Select. Select is about $31 and Smart is $16.

We chose Select, and we received lounge access with free snacks and beverages as well as a cabin attendant on the train with free refreshments. I was disappointed the trip only took 30 minutes or so. The standard of service is similar to what you can experience in Europe, and I hope to see it expand beyond West Palm and Orlando...can I say Nashville?

We had a long wait for our flight from FLL, so we just hung out in the Brightline terminal for a few hours before going to the airport.

It is much better than flying. I highly recommend it.

You can taxi or ride-share inexpensively from Port Everglades or Port Miami, and still pay less between the two cities using the train.

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On 12/10/2019 at 4:22 PM, MotleyCruiser said:

Local & state leaders have been talking about this for over a decade...even had Federal funding at one point and the Governor gave it back!!

I believe that money was for a high-speed train between Orlando and Tampa.  The governor did it because he thought the train was going to run huge deficits that Florida would have to pick up even though all of the studies said that the train would make money.  Ridiculous. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I geek out watching trip report YouTube videos...one of my favorite vloggers just posted a report on Brightline, and I thought I would post it here in case anyone is interested. My experience is pretty much what he had. At the end of the video, he mentioned that he had to check his bag. We did not have to do that.

 

 

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This comes from the mouth of an idiot but on a serious note, why doesn't RCL create a gondola-like mode of transportation (just like a ski lift) to/from an airport to a cruise terminal??? In a circumstance where they are very close together like Fort Lauderdale or San Juan or Tampa.

Explain it off to the public that RCL is taking responsibility for it's passengers, reducing traffic congestion, eliminating chaos at the cruise terminal, and they are Saving Waves by reducing emissions on a meaningful scale. 

In comparison to other recent RCL projects like making their pier in Miami 200' longer, their new corporate headquarters, or "amplification" of an already existing revenue generating ship; some gondolas, some cable, and some access to public ROW would be comparatively cheap. At this point in time RCL spends hundreds of millions of dollars on each of many infrastructure improvements. A guy would like to think they wouldn't bat an eye to a cheap one that took responsibility for their passengers.

Of course RCL would charge for the ride, just please God don't make it more than the cost of my flight.

 

But I'm not very bright.... 

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9 minutes ago, bobroo said:

This comes from the mouth of an idiot but on a serious note, why doesn't RCL create a gondola-like mode of transportation (just like a ski lift) to/from an airport to a cruise terminal??? In a circumstance where they are very close together like Fort Lauderdale or San Juan or Tampa.

Explain it off to the public that RCL is taking responsibility for it's passengers, reducing traffic congestion, eliminating chaos at the cruise terminal, and they are Saving Waves by reducing emissions on a meaningful scale. 

In comparison to other recent RCL projects like making their pier in Miami 200' longer, their new corporate headquarters, or "amplification" of an already existing revenue generating ship; some gondolas, some cable, and some access to public ROW would be comparatively cheap. At this point in time RCL spends hundreds of millions of dollars on each of many infrastructure improvements. A guy would like to think they wouldn't bat an eye to a cheap one that took responsibility for their passengers.

Of course RCL would charge for the ride, just please God don't make it more than the cost of my flight.

 

But I'm not very bright.... 

 

HBwKoY.gif

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/4/2020 at 3:37 PM, bobroo said:

This comes from the mouth of an idiot but on a serious note, why doesn't RCL create a gondola-like mode of transportation (just like a ski lift) to/from an airport to a cruise terminal??? In a circumstance where they are very close together like Fort Lauderdale or San Juan or Tampa.

Explain it off to the public that RCL is taking responsibility for it's passengers, reducing traffic congestion, eliminating chaos at the cruise terminal, and they are Saving Waves by reducing emissions on a meaningful scale. 

In comparison to other recent RCL projects like making their pier in Miami 200' longer, their new corporate headquarters, or "amplification" of an already existing revenue generating ship; some gondolas, some cable, and some access to public ROW would be comparatively cheap. At this point in time RCL spends hundreds of millions of dollars on each of many infrastructure improvements. A guy would like to think they wouldn't bat an eye to a cheap one that took responsibility for their passengers.

Of course RCL would charge for the ride, just please God don't make it more than the cost of my flight.

 

But I'm not very bright.... 

Fort Lauderdale ... check, pretty darn close ...

Planes land in Tampa about 6 miles (as the crow flies) from the boat ... not sure about that gondola ride ...

Puerto Rico is a straighter shot but still about 7 miles from plane to boat ...

 

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  • 1 year later...
10 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

I'm not sure I'd want to fly a couple hours, then ride a train for a couple hours to get to Miami.

 

Though some day if they extend that to Canaveral, now we're talking.

I think the idea is to capture the Miami crowds and make it easy for them to visit the Orlando area and get some mouse on.  Hence why the Cocoa station has been pulled, it's not their priority.  

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59 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

Though some day if they extend that to Canaveral, now we're talking.

I think they are, or at least, it's going really close.

I drove from Orlando to Port Canaveral this weekend, and the rail line follows the highway (Route 528) east from Orlando International Airport to the coast, before turning south.

Not sure if they are building a station or not, but it comes very close to the area that it could save time and money if they added a Cocoa Beach/Merritt Island stop.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

I think they are, or at least, it's going really close.

I drove from Orlando to Port Canaveral this weekend, and the rail line follows the highway (Route 528) east from Orlando International Airport to the coast, before turning south.

Not sure if they are building a station or not, but it comes very close to the area that it could save time and money if they added a Cocoa Beach/Merritt Island stop.

There is an existing cargo rail line that runs North/South along the east coast.  The new rail being added along 528 was the shortest path to intercept the existing line at minimal cost since for the most part they could use the existing highway right of way and not get into extensive land acquisition battles with private owners.

The next logical addition is a Cocoa station but prior plans for a Cocoa station were dropped.  i suspect it's all they could do to fund the 528 expansion costs and buying property for a new station was a luxury they couldn't afford right now.  Cargo trains take priority so they'd need a lot of space to build a station that would allow cargo trains to bypass the station.  The existing cargo rail line is single so the right of way is narrow.  That means sidings and more land acquired outside of the existing rail right of way so major costs for a station.

VirtualRailfan.com has cameras in Cocoa on the existing cargo line.   

The cost to add rail bridges over water all the way to the port would be pretty substantial and challenged by environmental groups.  A Cocoa station and buses to the port would be the logical and more easily implemented solution.

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