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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The latest on Silver Service rerouting

Looking at the plan to develop a corridor along the FEC route, it becomes very clear that there was some poor planning behind it. The selected alternative has both the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor using the eastern coastal route with three local roundtrips. This proposal would result in the Star and Meteor's main routes serving Tampa via Orlando after the trains are split up in Jacksonville.

The bad news? Winter Haven, Sebring, and Okeechobee would no longer be served by a train. Did anyone even bother to think about what kind of an impact that would have on the cities in question? Or did everyone just assume that the missing gap would be served by a bus, absent a Tri-Rail extension? Even more evidence of poor planning shows that 1) neither a Palmetto extension nor a supplemental Cross-Florida service between Miami and Tampa was considered by the state or Amtrak in the stimulus application and 2) the other alternatives would--in theory at least--enable Amtrak to keep the three stops mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph by continuing to have at least one Jacksonville-Orlando-Miami roundtrip. It is ridiculous that nobody could even think about the possibility of corridor service in other parts of Florida when there is clearly a market for it.