Category Archives: All Aboard Florida

Video shows gates down as bicyclist tries to beat Brightline train and is fatally struck

Boynton Beach Police Department via BRIGHTLINE

See Video: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article196530744.html

Sorry for not “imbedding” video. Beyond our technology. Thanks to Miami Herald we have it!

Surveillance video from the front of the Brightline train shows the crossing gates were down when the train struck and killed a Boynton Beach man as he rode his bicycle across tracks in Boynton Beach on January 19, 2018. Boynton Beach Police Department.

Video released this week by Boynton Beach police confirmed what law enforcement officials said from the beginning: The man fatally struck by the Brightline train last week crossed the tracks even though the gates were down.

The video, which was taken from a camera mounted to the train, shows the train speeding along as the bicycle comes into its path. Brightline is capable of speeds up to 79 mph.

On Jan 17, Jeffrey King, 51, was the second person killed by South Florida’s high-speed commuter line since launching the service to the public on Jan. 13.

Melissa Lavell, 31, was killed Jan. 12 — the commuter line’s VIP opening day — when she, too, tried to cross the tracks after the gates went down, Boynton Beach police said. The Boynton Beach woman was hit not far from where King was struck.

Guess it too a few days to send film to get developed!

Be careful watching video. Next video is alligator getting caught.

Guess know Brightline can move on successfullyat 79 mph!

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NEW: Brightline adds safety features at crossings

Brightline has placed electronic signs at some of the intersections of the FEC tracks. This sign on Lucerne in Lake Worth warns pedestrians to “stay off train tracks” and that there are “more & faster trains.”

Brightline has positioned large electronic signs at several busy rail crossings along its route to warn the public that its new express trains move faster than other rail traffic and to urge people to stay off the tracks when the guard gates go down.

Brightline officials said they plan to put 20 signs at crossings between the company’s two stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Those signs will be periodically moved to other crossings along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks as part of a new safety awareness campaign launched by Brightline on Friday following two recent deaths involving the private rail venture’s trains.

The company also plans to deploy a team of “safety ambassadors” to key intersections in the coming days to remind pedestrians and motorists to stay off the tracks when a train is approaching. During the weekend, officials said the ambassadors visited a number of grocery stores, community events and other gathering places to pass out safety information.

Since Jan. 12, the day before the company began shuttling paying passengers, Brightline’s trains have hit three people. In all three incidents, police said those struck did not heed warning lights and crossing gates positioned at the intersections.

On Friday, a pedestrian was hit by the train after attempting to cross the train tracks at Northeast Third Avenue and North Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale when the gates were down. The person’s injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

The accident occurred just hours after Brightline’s President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Goddard, during a press conference to announce new safety and public education initiatives, urged the public to stay off the tracks.

It is illegal to go around railroad guard gates or to stop a car on the train tracks.

Drivers who maneuver around railroad barriers could be fined $166 and receive three points on their license. Pedestrians who ignore railroad warning signals can be fined $64.50, regardless of their age or whether they have a license.

It is also illegal to walk along the railroad tracks. Those who do can be charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing.

Messages placed on Brightline’s signs during the weekend warned the public that there are “more & faster trains” along the Florida East Coast Railway line and urge drivers and motorists to “stay off train tracks.”

During the week,Brightline runs 10 round-trip trains a day between its stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. There are nine round-trip trains on the weekends.

The company’s trains operate at speeds up to 79 mph on the FEC tracks, much faster than the freight locomotives that travel on the same line.

In the coming months, Brightline plans to extend its service to downtown Miami.

Congressman wants new high-speed rail line shut down for safety review

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A congressman whose district includes the Brightline passenger rail route called on the private company Thursday to shutter its rail line until flaws in safety are fixed.

On Wednesday, just hours after bicyclist Jeffrey King, 51, of Boynton Beach pedaled around crossing gates and tried to beat the high-speed train, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., asked federal Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to launch an investigation into the safety of higher-speed railroad crossings.

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., approached his concerns from a different angle Thursday.

“Stop victim blaming and take responsibility for the fact that your trains are killing people,” Mast tweeted Thursday morning. “Trains should stop running until massive safety flaws are resolved.”

Second person in less than a week killed by high-speed Brightline train in South Florida

A bicyclist was hit and killed Wednesday by a Brightline train on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks in Boynton Beach, police said.

It is the second death involving a Brightline train and third train fatality on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks within a week.

Wednesday’s incident occurred at east of downtown Boynton Beach, according to Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater. Police are on the scene and continuing to investigate, she said.

Brightline passenger trains share the rail corridor with Florida East Coast Railway freight trains. Both are owned by Florida East Coast Industries.

On Jan. 10, Linda Short, 73, of Berea, Ohio, was killed at 7:40 p.m. after driving her car onto the Florida East Coast tracks in Delray Beach and into the path of an oncoming freight train, according to Delray Beach police.

Two days later, Melissa Lavell, 32, was killed after apparently trying to beat an oncoming Brightline passenger train after the guard rails were down, also in Boynton Beach, according to police.

There have been four Brightline fatalities since the high-speed passenger railroad began test runs this summer. The passenger railroad began limited passenger service, between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Saturday morning.

Brightline in a statement Wednesday said only: “Local authorities are on the scene, and we are engaged with them as they begin their investigation.”

Last week, following Lavell’s death, the railroad urged pedestrians and drivers to obey railroad safety rules.

“Safety is Brightline’s highest priority, which is evident from the numerous additional infrastructure improvements that have been installed along the FEC Railway corridor to the educational and awareness campaigns currently underway,” a Brightline spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Education and enforcement are vital, and we implore the public to abide by the rules and laws in place designed to keep them safe around active railroads,” the statement said.

There have been at least 17 fatalities on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks over the last 12 months, and 74 over the last five years, according to data reported to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Brightline in the limelight as game-changing railway launches in the US

Global Rail News

A bright day for Florida and an even brighter one for rail transport in the United States.

January 13 marked the long-awaited launch of Brightline, the country’s first privately-owned passenger train service since the 1980s.

Initially the line will connect passengers from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach in around 40 minutes, making use of the existing Florida East Coast Railway. Tickets cost either $10 for a smart service ticket or $15 for a select service ticket – which comes with seats that are two inches wider, complimentary drinks and snacks and access to a premium station lounge.

But connecting the two cities quicker than a journey by car isn’t the main selling point for what Brightline president, Patrick Goddard, describes as a “game-changing” service.

Free wi-fi, charging points, reclining seats, e-tickets, spacious aisles, leather seats, retractable gap fillers and baggage attendants. Brightline promises to set a “new benchmark” for train travel by concentrating on comfort and convenience to encourage motorists to ditch their cars for a mode of transport which currently plays a limited role in the nation’s transport network.

Its plans are big and bold – a stretch to Miami is due to open in 2018 and plans are well underway for an extension to Orlando – and so is Brightline’s brand with an eye-catching fleet of pink, red, orange, green and blue carriages and showcase partners such as Pepsi and the NBA’s Miami Heat.

Florida East Coast Railway names Asplund president, CEO

Nate Asplund has succeeded James Hertwig as president and chief executive officer of Florida East Coast Railway.

Asplund, who assumed his new role on Jan. 8, most recently served as president and CEO of the Red River Valley and Western Railroad (RRVW), a regional railroad serving North Dakota and Minnesota, FEC Railway officials said in a post on the company’s website.

During Asplund’s tenure at RRVW, the regional railroad achieved record volume for rail transportation and car repair, sited three additional grain shuttle facilities, built a wind project distribution terminal and attracted customer investments approaching $90 million.

Nate Asplund has succeeded James Hertwig as president and chief executive officer of Florida East Coast Railway.

Asplund, who assumed his new role on Jan. 8, most recently served as president and CEO of the Red River Valley and Western Railroad (RRVW), a regional railroad serving North Dakota and Minnesota, FEC Railway officials said in a post on the company’s website.

During Asplund’s tenure at RRVW, the regional railroad achieved record volume for rail transportation and car repair, sited three additional grain shuttle facilities, built a wind project distribution terminal and attracted customer investments approaching $90 million.

Woman struck and killed by Brightline train during preview run

A woman was struck and killed by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach during an introductory run, according to the Boynton Beach Police Department.

The woman was identified Saturday as Melissa Lavell, 31, of Boynton Beach. Lavell was crossing the tracks after the guard rails were in the down position, in an attempt to make it across the tracks before the train approached, according to a post on the Boynton Beach police department’s Facebook page.

Friday’s accident was the third fatality for Brightline, which launched introductory passenger rail service Saturday morning. A woman was struck in July in Boca Raton in a case that was investigated as a suicide, and another woman was hit on the tracks in Deerfield Beach in November.

The railroad has been testing its trains for several months.

Brightline described the most recent fatality as a “tragic” incident.

“Brightline’s team is cooperating with local authorities,” the railroad said in a written statement. “This is a tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We continue to stress safety and the adherence to the rules and laws in place around active railroads.”

Brightline’s first ride between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale took off on time at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

Brightline to begin passenger rail service Saturday between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale

After nearly six years of anticipation, the first paying customers will board Brightline’s fleet of colorful passenger trains Saturday for the short trip between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Brightline on Thursday announced its long-awaited start date, schedules and ticket prices for limited, introductory service.

The $3.1 billion railroad plans to expand service to Miami later this year, and by 2020, to run up to 16 daily round trips through the Treasure and Space coasts on their route between Miami and Orlando International Airport.

Brightline said it would begin construction on that second phase of the project as early as this month.

Introductory fares for the 35-minute trip service between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale will be $10 each way for Smart Service, Brightline’s coach class, and $15 for Select Service, Brightline’s business class, the company said. Seniors, active military and veterans will receive a 10 percent discount, and children younger than 12 will ride for half price as part of discounted introductory fares.

Brightline on Thursday afternoon tweeted that its new ticketing website was experiencing delays and “booking glitches” as a result of “overwhelming excitement.

Year in Review: Transit tech, projects that caught OBJ readers’ attention in 2017

Orlando BizJournal Com

A necessary component for any major city is transportation, and for Orlando — which attracts 68 million annual visitors — it’s especially important.

The theme park capital of the world already boasts of a world-class airport, award-winning restaurants and company headquarters — which is why road projects and more transit options are important in allowing an easier commute for both residents and visitors.

Those major transit projects include the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project, which includes revamping 21 miles of Interstate; the $1.3 billion SunRail commuter rail that’s expanding; and the $3.5 billion Orlando-to-Miami Brightline train that will connect at Orlando International Airport.

It’s probably no surprise that these projects and others are among the seven most-read transportation stories we shared in 2017. Here’s a breakdown of the top seven:

Brightline starts site work for $2B Orlando connection: The nearly $2 billion second phase of the project — which is expected to create 6,600 metro Orlando jobs and offer a boost to our local tourism market — includes an extension of the rail system from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport’s $682 million Intermodal Terminal Facility.

All Aboard Florida is speeding up: What that means for the Treasure, Space coasts

After years of speculation, anticipation, protests and lawsuits, the Treasure and Space coasts soon could see All Aboard Florida transition from much-discussed concept to brightly colored reality.

The company last week announced that work on Phase 2, between West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport, could begin as early as next month.

A raft of financing and permitting approvals seem to back up these claims.

First, the company last week announced it had all necessary federal permits to begin work on Phase 2 and that it had received an important approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

That approval, known as a record of decision, indicated that All Aboard Florida’s plan for track construction and passenger service on Phase 2, which includes the Treasure and Space coasts, complied with the National Environmental Policy Act.

It allows the company to move forward with its request for a $1.6 billion federal loan, one of two financing options that are in play for Phase 2.

The other financing option sought by All Aboard Florida —$1.15 billion of private activity bonds — also seems to be moving ahead.

The Department of Transportation on Friday approved bond allocation, according to All Aboard Florida. That approval is needed by the Florida Development Finance Corp., the state agency that issues the bonds, before it can proceed.

Brightline previously seemed to struggle to sell its private activity bonds, and last year canceled its original bond allocation, $1.75 billion issued by the finance corporation in August 2015. It opted instead to break its financing request into $600 million for Phase 1 and $1.15 billion for Phase 2.

This strategy evidently was more successful: The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported that All Aboard Florida apparently had an easy time selling its bonds and had received $2 billion of bids on its $600 million offering.

Brightline CEO Dave Howard announced Friday it had closed on the $600 million bond sale.

The company continues to consider the federal loan and tax-free bonds to fund Phase 2, he said.

A polarizing topic, Brightline has proved popular in much of South Florida and Brevard County, but has faced opposition and legal challenges from Treasure Coast governments and residents.

The company in recent months cleared many of the roadblocks put up by opponents, including a federal lawsuit filed by Martin and Indian River counties and challenges to environmental permits filed by all three Treasure Coast counties.

Despite its recent momentum, Brightline has a history of delays in its timeline: The company originally said it would begin full Miami-to-Orlando service by 2014, according to a 2012 Associated Press report, but in 2014, it pushed the target date to 2016

Now, the company says service between Miami and West Palm Beach will begin in 2018, with the expansion to Orlando opening in 2020.

For months, Brightline has said service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale would begin by the end of this month, but seemed to back away from that Friday, instead saying only that it continues “working toward operational readiness with the Federal Railroad Administration for the launch of introductory service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and will release details soon.”

Brightline already has “presold” tickets and corporate packages to “individuals and businesses throughout the region,” Howard said.

The company said it is “finalizing the engineering and design for the rail infrastructure” for Phase 2, but declined to provide details about when local track work would begin.