Sunday, July 6, 2014

HSRAC - Kickstarter Campaign


Many of us are aware and know that the current passenger rail system in the United States is not exactly living up to systems that are seen throughout the world

The High Speed Rail America Club is a group chartered within Florida International University and aims to bring high speed rail to the United States. While admittedly such a system is difficult, costly, and takes time to execute, it is NOT impossible, and quoting university president Mark Rosenberg, we as people have the power to "Turn the Impossible to the Inevitable".

Our main goal at the moment is to produce a documentary that highlights the current state of rail travel in the United States and what can be done to improve and bring it up to High Speed standards. We would like to film our documentary on and revolving around present day passenger rail, while discussing within the film and later focusing on and cooperating with prospective systems such as All Aboard Florida, which we know that service should start soon. While it won't immediately put high speed rail on the market, at least it will inform, educate, thoroughly clarify, and ultimately convince the viewing public to promote progress to national rail travel, eventually leading to establishing HSR in the US. 

But to film this documentary is more easily said than done.

The hurdles that stop us from making this happen are among the following - logistics, travel expenses, camera and post processing equipment. 

This is why we have a Kickstarter campaign. We are asking those who are interested and willing to support a brighter future for US Rail Travel for a donation so that we meet our funding goal. As of now, which is three days into the campaign, already $190 USD has been raised out of a minimum $1500 base goal. We have established stretch goals so that with more support, our project can be better implemented. Our deadline is August 3, 2014.

Thank you for your support

Monday, September 23, 2013

September Train Notes

Regularly, to my mailing list South FL Railfans, I post a notes sheet full of trains that ran, power that ran around in South Florida, and news that are usually BSed or overhyped. This month actually had enough good stuff to share here and to also start the tradition of posting monthly notes. Usually I post it at the first of the next month but I found the time now and will do so:

The data is usually jotted down with little structure. This is this month's edition, part 1 since I know something just might happen that is worth reporting within the next 8 days.

Known rock trains to run include K996-K995, K950-K951, and K978-K977. K790-K791 ran recently. No words on the Gator country or Wildwood rock though, I don't think they ran at all.
V157 came in... but at the wrong time. Lots of us were stuck AWOL in Academia.
Fort Lauderdale Rock appears to be coming back to life; 985/986s caught by Tommy4Trains and also a 988 was heard at Lauderdale last night.

SPECIALS/Unusual trains:
Geometry Train on the FEC with the NS 5609 behind FEC 720.
Tri-Rail-CSX-FEC special. Responsive to the TIGER GRANT, will mention later. Funny how I imagined something similar on my Key West Extension route:
P933 Service run on September 12 with #516, autorack.
P935 service run on September 21. #166, 2 cars

CSXT 15/4565: Power came in on K995 around 9/12; ran the O721. Still in pool service here.
CSXT 5396/800: Came in unknown; caught on K977/K996 weekend of the 7th/8th; left on the 8th (Seen from distance)
CSXT 462/673: Came in on V157 9/16; still in circulation and caught on K791 9/21.
CSXT 7870/7737: Circulated on FRKX Rock Trains until 9/12; left on K978. K978 became K724, but it is unknown if they came back. Should/could have different power.
Another Dash 8 was reported by Ted Marshall to bring up a rock train 9/19.
CSXT 3021: Came in on Q453 9/11; Ran to FEC. Came back unknown, and probably is gone by now.
NS 5609: Rotated on FEC Geometry Train. Can't believe I chose to pass it up 9/12 but I guess it wasn't meant to be.
**If I am missing anything, it will be added to part 2**

Logistics and freight movement are showing little change on CSX. FEC is having another sweet month though.
O722's delivery on 9/8 was more of the same; about 35 cars on it as seen from Lauderdale airport.
I haven't been out anywhere believe it or not except for as far as Sawgrass. 
O721 was only seen to haul the car for Probuild along with the CYDX empties. Also Y322 should have brought in coal ash at the top of the month, as seen on last month's Q453-30.
ROCK TRAINS ARE NOW FOLLOWING A NEW ADDED PATTERN. Without fail, the last three weekends produced rock jobs on the Homestead Sub on Saturday carrying the SB ID. The loads go out the next day, Sunday, in the afternoon, usually after P092 runs. However as a tradeoff, photo ops are slacking off south of Dyer since the sun is tracking towards the South. Your best bet is to be on the SXH For the southbound.
Lehigh Spur now back in action for Rock Trains One courtesy Tim earlier in Sept, and one on the 12th that I got. When K977/K725 comes back, one more hopefully.
FEC IS NOW RUNNING INTERMODAL TO THE PORT OF MIAMI. Courtesy of Jonathan Hollahan of the FEC, a yard job is added effective today (9/23) to run to the Port and back with push-pull operation.
Fort Lauderdale Airport Rock is back more or less as stated earlier. I will get a grasp of the schedule soon, but yesterday's night run should be a hint of it.
TIGER GRANT. $13.75M grant approved for rail links at Iris and Northwood, with presumed link at Pompano Beach. Also it seems like I'm starting to see more graphics and renders of the new Pompano Beach Tri-Rail Station. This will make the Miami Sub a true "SFL Four Pack" with the option of running FEC trains on it as well. Remember it's state owned so this is possible. Estimated legs to be built are on all four sides of Iris but the southwest side, as it's not needed. There was speculation this would pull CSX out of SFL but it's calmed down by FEC personnel who say only the maintenance and signal will go. It is believed with high conviction this will lure out FEC trains 202, 222, 335, 109, and 121 from the old Flagler mainline but keep 101, 210, 226, and 107 hell bent on the existing old mainline. Remember that this speculation is not limited to what comes out of POM. It will also make "Tri-Rail Coastal Link" a reality...  
NEW FEC PAINTS Two special schemes have been announced for FEC engines 425 and 436. The liveries are kept hush but I'm guessing it could be something big, something blue. Hopefully FEC revives the long-lost Speedway livery, which is one of my favorites on the GEEPs. Remember that all Speedway GP40-3s were sold. We'll find out before Part 2 of the September notes.
ADVERTISED ON FEC New trains 111, 212 are now fixed and adopted to the service plan. These are Bowden-City Pt and back. 109 also runs frequently as well. 
NEW BUSINESS FOR FEC Railex will now be shipping to Jacksonville.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Industry Recap

For anyone following the business and logistics side of railroading, some decent news; all mixed, mashed, and in no particular order:

Train 195 is on duty on the FEC here and there. This attests to some stable rock demand. I just don't know how often it runs though, about once weekly to my recollection.
Nailite Plastics on the CSX line near Golden Glades, Florida, a place where I see two to three cars, had about six on industry. Allsteel & Gypsum also had gypsum centerbeams waiting for a pickup; I don't recount seeing any coil cars though.
It's nice to see that the cut of O717's cars sitting in Fort Lauderdale is consistently 10-12 cars in length. Cars from Amerigas, Boise-Cascade, Cross-Dock, and Home Depot were seen much to my memory. Maybe one Fast-Dry in there as well.
Thursday's O721 (Homestead Subdivison local) had an ample amount of centerbeam flats (about four from two day's worth of trains) and plenty of hoppers, open and covered, all heading back to Hialeah. The entire train, which looked like a clean house job for the Homestead Sub, totalled about 30 cars. Expect to see the slack on tonight's (tomorrow morning's) Q452.
The only bad news, SALCO on the East Rail came up empty---again. Abandoned customer? Oh well. But I saw a video of a mid-week Q452 and it had a decent cut of scrap from the Downtown Spur.

Rail Sign Epic Fail

This is probably the most misleading sign I've ever seen. It's at the Florida East Coast Railway grade crossing on SW 2nd Street/Himmarshee Blvd in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It's supposed to warn the millions of trespassers that cross tracks illegally and play chicken with the train in Fort Lauderdale that they're in the track area, but it's telling them not to stop? The hell? Pretty much, it goes against the purpose built crossing protection that is in front of them. Talk about an Epic Fail.

I noticed this when getting my faraway shot of FEC Train 101 last night. I haven't watched trains here for about a year, and haven't shot this part of the street in just about as much time if not more. Needless to say, as the fleet-footed (for 30mph, anyway -- but they were making every bit of it) and long intermodal hotshot approached, two idiots played chicken. That's right, they weren't doing anything wrong; they were obeying the sign.

Monday, June 24, 2013

FEC and CSX Rail Business Is Improving Again

The promise of unit ethanol on FEC has finally been delivered. FEC Train 141 ran a solid 81 car unit set with about 20 of those going to Motiva in Port Everglades today and the rest headed to Hialeah. It is possible the rest are for Motiva as well or for Florida Bulk Transfer, but we'll find out. The timing of the extra was so perfect I was able to catch it before having my dinner tonight closer to home!

Aside from that, feeding on Brylon's videos, I've noticed healthy manifest on 123 for Fort Pierce. I am glad to see that even in the death of sugar cane season so much freight is headed for Fort Pierce and West Palm. Also, Lyle caught 121 this morning with a healthy hodgepodge of racks and dead loads.

CSX is doing well also. Q453-21 from Friday night had 101 cars. I caught a subsequent 453 the next day, being in Broward and this one had 51 cars, which is less but the carloads in for the weekend were still good. Though Q453-21 is "watered down" by bad-ordered Yelvington hoppers, the size is still a treat to see and those CYDXs have a destination too. Q452s on Friday and Saturday shot out decent carloads as well. Also with K996, K978, and K790 last week wasn't dead train-wise. Tampa is also getting ethanol well as figured by K422.

Coming into the world out of high school I am happy to see the economy taking shape again... and through one of the biggest ways one can foretell the shape of it, the Railroad.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Death Bell has Rung for Tri-Rail's Old Engines


Brooksville build #818 is out of the shops and looks spiffy in Tri-Rail's palm tree livery, though I'll be honest I would have rather seen it have the colored stripes.

This is a BL36PH, a new Brookville locomotive of which Tri-Rail is a launch customer.
It is also assumed reasonably that this will replace the initial fleet of rebuilds on the roster, 802-811.

TO THE IMAGE (courtesy Tyler White)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New FEC Customer at Port Everglades

On June 12 FEC has made its first ethanol delivery for a new customer at the port, named Motiva. This area is very high security so one would only be able to view it from the air. In this video you can see it around the 3 minute mark. Two tracks with ethanol loading racks are cut in. Not quite unit train sized but still long. This reflects good news for business and a fulfilled promise, for lack of a better term, as Motiva announced the service two years ago.