Saturday, March 24, 2012

Florida East Coast and rubber-tree plants

A column at

One item that jumped out at me:

The press release announcing All Aboard Florida, as this enterprise is called, talks of 110-mph trains. That would be in the future, Skoropowski says. Initially hourly service would be conducted at 79 mph. Besides those 40 miles of new track, the existing FEC would need to be double-tracked. That’s not as difficult as it seems, he insists. “The FEC once was double track, and all the subballast and the bridges are still there.” At 79 mph, Skoropowski adds, the trip could be made in 3¼ hours. The Acela between Boston and New York City requires 3 hours and 25 minutes.

If this goes forward, once the upgrades to 110 miles per hour are complete, this will, in terms of average speed (which is far more important than maximum speed) be the fastest operating passenger railroad in the Americas until a true high speed rail line opens up, likely the CAHSR initial operating system since Brazil's project doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

An additional bit of news from the article is that the train may still run by 2014 even if the tracks to Orlando are not yet finished by running to Cocoa Beach from Miami in the interim, still a fairly worthwhile market. This, I believe, is easily achievable, given that they already have the trackage necessary for that, with the only hold up being station construction and rolling stock acquisition, both of which can be done on a temporary basis for this.

1 comment:

  1. I'm annoyed by the last two sentences. First, at 79 mph, it's impossible to do 240 miles in 3:15 - that's an average speed of 73 mph, which is unachievable in practice. For comparison, the Tel Aviv-Haifa express trains, which make only one intermediate stop (immediately north of Tel Aviv) in over 50 miles, average 75 mph, with a top speed of 87; this is on straight, flat track, with lighter and more powerful diesel engines than are available in the US.

    Second, the NY-Boston Acela is indeed a disaster, but an electrified, tilting, high-top speed one at that. (On straighter track, the Acela does NY-DC in 2:47.)