Straighter tracks preferred for All Aboard Florida trains

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 2:30pm

By Keona Gardner, TCPalm

All Aboard Florida’s Environmental Impact Statement recommends the company straighten curves at 12 Treasure Coast track locations for the proposed high speed passenger trains to operate at optimum speeds.

The proposed high-speed passenger rail can travel at speeds of 76.96 mph in Martin County, increasing to 93.38 mph in St. Lucie County before topping out at 103.34 mph in Indian River County, according to the 522-page report compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration and released Friday.

“The existing track would be modified to reduce the overall curvature and increase the maximum allowable operating speeds for the train,” according to the report. Existing right of way is ample for the projects, and All Aboard won’t need to buy additional land, the report states.

Some locations to be straightened include:

Ninth Lane Southwest near Commerce Avenue in Vero Beach
Savannah Road near Indian River Drive in Fort Pierce
Southeast Cove Road in Stuart

When the railroad tracks were installed more than 100 years ago, the railroad operated double tracks on most of the track length on the east coast. But in the early 1970s, most of the double track was removed because of changes to rail operations.

All Aboard’s sister company, Florida East Coast Railway, owns at least 100 feet of right of way and existing railroad infrastructure within the locations.

AAF owns the permanent, perpetual and exclusive rights, privileges and easements on, over and across all of the real property within Florida East Coast Railway's mainline right of way in Florida, for the passenger rail purposes that would be provided by AAF through the project, the report states.

The draft report details the effect 16 passenger trains making daily round trips would have on the Treasure Coast. No stops are planned for Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie counties on the trains’ 235-mile route from Orlando to Miami.

Several local governments in St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin counties have passed resolutions opposing the trains.

Track sections

Sections to be straightened:

Indian River County

73rd Street, Florida East Coast Railway mile post 221.23
Near mile post 225.44*
Pickerill Lane, mile post 226.22
Glendale Road, mile post 229.02
Ninth Lane Southwest near Commerce Avenue, mile post 230.98

St. Lucie County

Savannah Road, mile post 243.30
North of east Midway Road, mile post 245.49
Near mile post 250.02*
Near mile post 251.93*
Pleasant View Drive, mile post 254.04

Martin County

Near mile post 254.05*
Northeast Chardon Street, mile post 255.75
Northeast Dixie Highway, mile post 259.21
Southeast Golf Trail, mile post 265.40
Southeast Cove Road, mile post 267.3
Southeast Oleander Street, mile post 273.31
Water Street, mile post 274.7

* — Asterisk indicates street address not provided.