Category: Editorial

The Train Wreck Times

February 20, 2023

Before I launch into the topic that has captivated much of America in the past week, let me post this note of local concern. Sadly, another train/car collision killed 2 people last week in Delray Beach. Shock of shocks…the NTSB is FINALLY investigating this accident. I thought this comment was rich coming from the NTSB spokesman, “The crash in Delray Beach met the agency’s criteria, Holloway said, including involving a train, a car and deaths.” If that’s the case, where’ve they been for the last 4 years?! This isn’t the first vehicle accident involving a death.

Article here.

Another interesting tidbit from the article – there have been 88 deaths involving Brightline trains since it started testing operations in 2018. We thought the number was 76 but now we know it’s far more. Someone needs to tell Governor DeSantis his state is hosting the deadliest train system in the country and imagine what will happen when they go 110 mph!

But that other danger looming over all of us is the addition of extremely volatile freight, Liquefied Natural Gas, sharing the tracks with speed trains. A serious chemical train derailment in Ohio last week sparked a number of writers to consider the perils of LNG on the rails. One contacted us for comment –

As a reminder, FEC transports LNG from a production plant in Hialeah to the ports in Fort Lauderdale and Miami and they plan to transport it to all the major ports in Florida from two more sites they plan to build – one in Indiantown and one in Titusville. AND, if there’s a derailment with a breach of LNG – there’s no escaping the moving fireball that will erupt! It’s obvious from the Ohio experience and from what our experts tell us about LNG – no one is prepared to handle an LNG breach.

Again, where is Governor DeSantis’s Secretary of Transportation on this? Where are the FDOT “experts”? They can’t even regulate a passenger train going 79 mph and stop it from killing people; how are they going to regulate 110 mph passenger speed trains sharing the very close tracks with trains carrying volatile chemicals???

Not to promote conspiracy theories, like those regarding the UFO’s proliferating overhead, but the conjectures coming out about how the Ohio spill happened remind me of our concerns about the FEC corridor and potential terrorists targets. Imagine hitting an LNG train along the route within two miles of a nuclear power plant or an Air Force base. At the time, we quoted directly from a Florida East Coast Holdings Co. quarterly report (9/2012 ) with the SEC which read: “Our rail lines and facilities could be direct targets or indirect casualties of an act or acts of terror. Such acts could cause significant business interruption and result in increased costs and liabilities and decreased revenues, … Such effects could be magnified where releases of hazardous materials are involved.”

On a local note, FDOT is bending over backwards to spend our tax dollars in places we don’t want it! They recently announced the questionable scheme to build a bridge over US 1 and the RR tracks to improve access to the hospital. So, instead of making this train move west of our towns, FDOT is finding ways to accommodate their existence. But…but…Governor DeSantis told us to our faces – “They won’t get any state money for this!” Hhmmmm? Article attached here.

TC Palm linked here.

Speaking of Brightline, a blog called “A-Z Animals” surprised us with an article. This journalist hit the nail on the head regarding why the trains are so deadly – what we’ve been saying for years. But don’t forget, as Rusty Roberts told us – “we own the tracks, we can do what we want.”

And speaking of Rusty Roberts (our nemesis and former VP of Brightline Business Development), he’s now on the Florida Transportation Commission. Talk about the fox in the hen house! If there was ever an indication of the political nature and preferences of this quasi-governmental organization – this is it. The Commission’s mission states: ” is to provide leadership in meeting Florida’s transportation needs through policy guidance on issues of statewide importance and by maintaining oversight and public accountability for the Department of Transportation…”

If you think they could do a better job of it, please contact them:

Executive Director, Ralph Yoder: ‘’ 850-414-4105

Commission Chairman, Ron Howse: 850-414-4105

FL Transportation Secretary: Jared Perdue: 850-414-4100

Asst. Secretary: LK Nandam: 850-414-4100

We’re not waiting for more deaths – we’re shaking some trees…you can too! Pass this around and make some calls!

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