Florida East Coast Industries will launch a private passenger rail service linking South Florida and Orlando in 2014, the real estate and transportation company said Thursday.
FEC Industries' passenger service will connect Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach with Orlando through a 240-mile route based on 200 miles of existing track.
The company will lay down 40 miles of new track to complete the route to Orlando. The system could be expanded to Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., FEC Industries said.
FEC Industries announced its plans for passenger service as freight revenue at its affiliate, FEC Railway, climbed. In the fourth quarter, FEC Railway boosted revenue 10 percent to $56.6 million.
Prices rose across all markets, pushing up revenue per carload 11.2 percent to $488. Intermodal revenue rose 17 percent, while intermodal volume was up 2 percent.
Intermodal freight accounted for 81 percent of FEC Railway’s total volume in the quarter.
Still, FEC Railway operating income for the quarter declined year over year, dropping 21 percent to $9.7 million while expenses rose 19.6 percent to $46.9 million.
For the full year, FEC Railway reported a $37.3 million net loss on $213.3 million in revenue, compared with a $23.6 million net loss and $200 million in revenue in 2010.
In the “All Aboard Florida” project, FEC Industries sees an opportunity to create a new revenue stream on the same corridor used for freight business.
More than 50 million people travel between South Florida and Orlando annually, mostly in cars along highways such as I-95 and the Florida Turnpike.
The passenger train service, which will cost approximately $1 billion to launch, will make regularly scheduled trips with a three-hour transit time, Coral Gables-based FEC Industries said.
The passenger service will not affect freight capacity in the rail corridor, the company said. FEC Railway plans to increase intermodal freight on the corridor.
FEC Railway's intermodal business is growing as it extends its partnerships with truckers and adds relay stations in Georgia for Florida-bound freight.