FL: Facing Traffic Delay Concerns, All Aboard Florida Releases Simulated Train Crossing

June 18--All Aboard Florida continued its marketing push Wednesday, releasing a video simulation of a mock passenger train entering and clearing a grade crossing in less than 50 seconds.

The potential for long delays at crossings has been a major point of criticism for opponents of the $2.25 billion high-speed passenger-train project. They claim the anticipated two trains per hour would cause dangerous delays for first responders trying to reach patients and hospitals and other emergencies.

Mobile and tablet users: Watch the video.

The video, shot at a Fort Lauderdale crossing, shows the crossing gates closing; dubs in audio of the approaching train blowing its horn; shows a sleek, dark gray, nine-car passenger train moving through the crossing; and the gates going back up.

The video shows backed-up traffic beginning to move through the intersection after 44 seconds.

The video is intended to educate the public by showing "exactly how long it will take the passenger trains to clear an at-grade crossing," according to a news release.

The simulation shows the "characteristics" of an All Aboard Florida train -- the size, the number of cars and the general speed -- but isn't intended to suggest what the actual trains will look like, a spokeswoman said.

The video's simulated train moves through the grade crossing at 68 mph; all crossing gates are fully opened after 49 seconds.

"We thought this was a way, visually, to demonstrate something that otherwise is more difficult to explain in words," the spokeswoman said. "It's a useful tool."

Equally contentious as grade-crossing closings has been the closing of the single-track railroad bridge over the St. Lucie River in Stuart. Opponents have claimed the bridge can be locked down for at least 20 minutes per train crossing, impeding both recreational boaters and commercial maritime traffic. Railroad officials consistently dispute that claim.

All Aboard Florida said there currently is no plan to produce a video to demonstrate closing times for the Stuart bridge.

"When and if we do another demonstration," officials said, "we will be sure to get this information out to the public."

Copyright 2014 - Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla.

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