Letter: Could rider realities force All Aboard Florida to have scaled-down plan?
Posted on December 14, 2015
Arthur F. Worden Jr., Fort Pierce
I have been against All Aboard Florida since day one though I believe that high-speed rail done right would be good to have.
I discussed this with an AAF representative who agreed, but said they simply don't have the money to move it out west, use a dedicated continuously welded rail, and have minimal grade crossings.
My friends tell me to give up. Rich Campbell says it will be a reality, but he has hope.
So let's look at the hope aspect.
Who is going to buy bonds for proposed by people without railroad experience when no railroad in the country is profitable?
Amtrak runs 19 trains each way from New York to Boston each day. Ten are the higher-speed Acela express, shaving about 30 minutes off the normal four-hour, 10-minute trip.
Based on passengers leaving and arriving from Boston, the total for the year is less than half and more like one fifth of the AAF estimate of 5.35 million passengers between Orlando and Miami.
Why does Amtrak run so many trains for so few passengers? Because these trains carry passengers for Philadelphia and Washington and points in between. AAF won't have that option.
What if it doesn't get the riders? Will AAF reduce the number of trains? Fewer trains would be less of a problem. The quiet zones would ease the loud horn complaints. A station on the Treasure Coast might be forthcoming. Perhaps hope is not out of the question.
To see how high-speed rail should be done, go to Amtrak.com and read the 2010 report "A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor."
Amtrak has the same limitations AAF will encounter using an old rail system in heavily populated areas. Its Next-Gen planning for 2040 moves the rail system inland and eliminates on-grade crossings.