Posts Tagged ‘Palm Beach Florida’

Brightline May Start This Month

December 5, 2017

All Aboard Florida is now expected to launch Brightline intercity rail passenger service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida, this month, the Fitch Ratings agency reported.

Service to Miami is expected to start in 2018. Brightline has thus far declined to comment on the report.

Fitch said it reached its conclusions as part of an analysis of a $600-million bond issue being set up to pay for the higher-speed passenger service.

The report said Brightline’s financial potential is good based on strong revenue generated by other passenger rail service elsewhere in the U.S.

Fitch expects Brightline to earn $147.6 million in revenue in 2021 and said service can break even with revenue of $90.6 million, ridership of 1.6 million, and average fares substantially lower than those offered on Amtrak’s Acela service between Washington and Boston.

Brightline had earlier indicated that it wanted to launch service five months ago.

The inauguration has been delayed by signal work at grade crossings in Palm Beach County.

The Florida East Coast is hosting the service, the first since FEC ended its own passengers trains in 1968 in the wake of a protracted union strike.

Florida Safety Patrol Trips by Rail Fading Away

May 30, 2017

Since 1948, members of the school safety patrol in Palm Beach County, Florida, have been riding the train from the Sunshine State to Washington in the spring on sightseeing trip that is a reward for the work the safety patrollers put in during the school year.

Some safety patrollers still ride the train, but increasingly they are flying to Washington or taking a bus.

School officials say the student like riding the train, but their parents prefer flying because it allows for more sightseeing time in Washington and doesn’t require as much travel time.

“The kids love the train, it’s a rolling slumber party,” said Jim Pegg, a school district administrator and the president of the Palm Beach County Safety Patrol Association.

It once required four trains to move the safety patrollers to Washington, but now it requires just two.

The number of students riding the rails has fallen from 4,800 to just over 1,000.

“It’s mostly because the adults don’t want to ride the train for two whole days,” Pegg said. The train leaves Thursday at noon and arrives Friday morning. The return trip is invariably longer, arriving in West Palm Beach about 5:30 p.m.

The Washington trips were initially organized the American Automobile Association as a reward for sixth-graders and their school service.

School officials segregate the children by gender with one car filled with boys and another car filled with girls.

They turn their seats into makeshift tents, play games, listen to music and give notes to teacher to pass to the girls or boys in the other car.

Three years ago, Principal Laura Green asked the parents if they preferred for their children to ride the train or fly to Washington. The cost of riding Amtrak versus flying was comparable.

“It was time spent in the city that swung the vote,” Green said. “On the train, you’re gone five days, but you’re in D.C. three.

If the student flew, they would arrive by 10 a.m. Tuesday and leave late in the day on Friday.

“The extra day gives us time to go to an extra Smithsonian,” Green said.

Another advantage of flying was the ability to pick dates that better fit the school schedule. “Nothing against the train, but there’s a set pattern to their itinerary. I can maneuver the trip through what I want to see. For the past two years, we’ve taken the children to the Pentagon and that’s a great trip. And you couldn’t do it on the train.”