Monday, 2 April 2018

Misplaced Magnificence in Miami? (3)

Bright Idea - Brightline?
The idea? A brand new express train service from Miami to Orlando; the only privately owned and financed railway in the USA - it should be something special. Originally announced as opening in 2017 and running from Miami to West Palm Beach, the start-up had not gone quite to plan.

Earlier this year a service began between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach with the link from Miami awaiting the completion of the new station in the city centre. The scheme must have cost, and will continue to cost, mega mega bucks.

The extension to Orlando, which will involve some completely new track mileage, is dubbed "Phase 2".
Parts of the track on the former Flagler Florida East Coast Railway have been doubled, new signally has been installed and all the stations are brand new and spectacular.
The above is Fort Lauderdale station, an island platform with an 800 foot long passenger concourse above. Preparation of the site began in October 2014, so this is no short-term fanciful scheme.
West Palm Beach is equally dramatic!
And we saw the architects scheme for Miami yesterday ...
... which might suggest how this massive scheme is being financed. There is a whole lotta real estate above the terminal platforms!

But what is special about Brightline is its level of customer service. Although titled "a commuter railway", the editor of Modern Railways, on his recent visit, saw mostly leisure travellers (many of a certain age) but, as they say, it is early days and things will develop rapidly once Miami is reached.

If you think of commuter travel as sardine-packed super-stressed workers being disgorged at Cannot Street ...
... forget it!

Seating is 2 by 2 (standard class aka "Smart" service) in the more generous loading gauge of the USA ...
... and 2 by 1 in First Class ("Select" service).
Each train is named (perhaps coloured would be better) ...
... and, of course, the trains are brand spanking new.
On-line is a press article accompanied by a lengthy but silent (on fbb's laptop) video in which the press are seen getting really excited about the toilet ...
... and the nifty two part seat back tables with the main flap lifting up to accommodate some of our more ample transatlantic cousins.
(kot calling pettle black?)

Passengers remain in the luxurious lounges ...
... until summoned to the platform, airline style.

Ticket machines, editor James Abbott discovered, are overly complicated - but you are encouraged to book on line. Current fares seem cheap but may well be a special introductory offer. Here are singles for tomorrow, Wednesday ...
fbb could not persuade their web site to deliver a return fare for a week ahead, so maybe you buy two singles. Noteworthy was the fact that, for 11th April, one journey ...
... was sold out for "Select" seats. Maybe a party booking?

£7 single for a 40 minute non-stop ride. Paddington to Didcot (also 40 minutes) would be £26.50!

Brightline is going to have to run a lot of full trains at those prices if it is to be financially viable.
But "Select" passengers get free snacks, "Smart" riders get a free bottle of water. There is also a "Snack Cart" (refreshment trolley - UK).

It will be fascinating to watch the development of the service - let's hope that it can survive as a private operator; quite a challenge.

 Next Can Field blog : Tuesday 3rd April 
The gospel accounts are largely in agreement that the first people to arrive at the unguarded empty tomb were women. This make good sense. We know that the men had run away (do we hear  shout of "typical"?) and there was work to be done.

Because Jesus, body was rushed into the tomb before sunset on the Friday (the start of the Jewish Sabbath) there were the formalities of the burial still to be done.
But there was a potential problem for the girls. Mark writes:-

After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they said to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. 

The tomb was empty!

John focuses on Mary Magdalene:-

Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. “Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni” (This means “Teacher.”) 

"Rabboni" is an intensely "special" version of the Hebrew word "Rabbi" meaning teacher. Mary's recognition of Jesus was not formal or routine; it marked a deep and personal recognition of the Man who had meant so much to her for several special years.

Certainly NOT a word you would use for a ghost, a vision or the deranged rambling of a weeping anguished woman.
This was (this IS) "MY" Lord.

1 comment:

  1. You might be interested. I have just spotted multiple (cheap) copies of 'Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean' on sale at

    I can't vouch for it, although it is described as a "Fast-paced and gripping true account of the extraordinary construction and spectacular demise of the Key West Railroad--one of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken, destroyed in one fell swoop by the strongest storm ever to hit U.S. shores".