All Aboard Florida
|All Aboard Florida|
|Type||Higher speed rail|
|Stations||At least 4 planned|
|Daily ridership||3 million per year (est.)|
|Owner||Florida East Coast Industries (FECI)|
|Line length||240 mi (390 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
79 mph (127 km/h) Miami – West Palm Beach
All Aboard Florida is a proposed higher-speed rail service which would operate along the Florida East Coast Railway. The proposed service would connect Miami with Orlando via a roughly 240-mile (390 km) route along the Atlantic coast north from Miami to Cocoa, where it would turn west towards Orlando. Startup costs are estimated at $1 billion, including a new 40-mile (64 km) track segment from Cocoa to Orlando. Unlike all other inter-city rail (Amtrak) in the United States the new service would be privately owned and operated by Florida East Coast Railway (FEC). The company did, however, apply for a Federal Railroad Administration loan of an undisclosed amount in March 2013 to at least partially pay for start-up costs.
Feasibility studies into beginning the service began in late 2011, and by the time of the public announcement had progressed into detailed ridership and engineering studies. Service was originally planned to begin in 2014, but in March 2013 an FEC executive said that the start date had been pushed back to late 2015. Even if the new track into Orlando is not completed by the time service begins, connections at Cocoa would be offered.
One of the goals is to operate the trains with an overall average speed similar to the Acela Express operating on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington, DC, at 80 miles per hour (129 km/h), reducing the travel time between Miami and Orlando to three hours and two minutes versus the approximately four-hour driving time.
Miami to Cocoa
FEC still owns the former site of its downtown Miami station, as well as other real estate throughout Florida through a subsidiary known as Flagler Development Company. By developing this land in conjunction with the All Aboard Florida system, FEC could turn a profit indirectly. The nine-acre parcel adjacent to Government Center in Downtown Miami, currently used as surface parking, is zoned for 2,500,000 sq ft (232,258 m2) pf development rights. Here the system would also connect with the existing Metrorail and Metromover systems.
Trains are planned to run at 79 miles per hour (127 km/h) from Miami to West Palm Beach, 110 miles per hour (177 km/h) from West Palm Beach to Cocoa, The existing track from West Palm Beach to Cocoa would have to be improved to meet federal standards for an increased 110 miles per hour (177 km/h) speed limit from the current 79 mph (127 km/h).
Trains will run at approximately one hour intervals with between 12 and 14 trains per day, a frequency which would necessitate restoration of double-track along the route. Double tracking and other improvements to the line could also help the long planned FEC Corridor Tri-Rail and Amtrak services move ahead.
This segment should also have few problems with sideline delays as most of the freight trains on the FEC travel at relatively high speeds as well as the fact that FEC will likely give priority to its own passenger trains over freight.
Cocoa to Orlando
The segment of the route between Cocoa and Orlando is the only segment that does not have existing track or right of way owned by the FEC. Originally, it was thought that the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) could accommodate building new tracks for the project within the 300ft wide right of way for the BeachLine Expressway. It was determined that the right of way was too narrow for future expansion of the road, the train and additional utility lines. The Deseret Ranch owns the land just south of the BeachLine and talks have been underway to purchase an additional 200ft for the corridor. As of a pact made on July 16, 2013, the Expressway Authority said it would pay $12 million for an extra 200 ft along the 22-mile BeachLine stretch from Cocoa to near the Orlando International Airport. In early October 2013, the Expressway Authority and All Aboard Florida reached a purchase agreement for the land required for the right-of-way, with construction planned to begin by early 2015. Also in October, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board approved development of a station and maintenance facility on Orlando International Airport property, as well as an easement to build track between the station and mainline to the coast.
This segment of the proposed line will operate at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour (201 km/h). This segment will almost meet the United States Code's definition of high-speed rail, which includes rail services that are "reasonably expected to reach sustained speeds of more than 125 miles per hour". The Congressional Research Service also uses the term "higher" speed rail for top speeds up to 150 miles per hour (241 km/h).
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