Florida’s New High Speed Rail Project ‘Brightline’ Nears Finish

In 2011, Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) announced plans for a privately funded passenger rail system aimed at transforming the way people travel throughout Florida. Despite years of anti-rail opposition, operations on the ambitious project, that combines rail transit with transit oriented development, are expected to start before the end of 2017.

All Aboard Florida’s Brightline is a planned passenger rail service that will operate along the Florida East Coast Railway. Startup costs are estimated at $3 billion. One segment of the proposed line will operate at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour, meeting the United States Department of Transportation’s definition of high speed rail.

Feasibility studies for the service began in late 2011, and by the time of the public announcement had progressed into detailed ridership and engineering studies. One of the goals is to operate the trains with an overall average speed similar to the Acela Express operating on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington, DC, reducing the travel time between Miami and Orlando to three hours and two minutes versus the approximately four hour driving time. With plans for 16 daily departures from both Miami and Orlando, trains will offer a full range of premium amenities including Icomera Passenger Wi-Fi, gourmet meals and beverage service, comfortable seating, reserved business & coach service seating, luggage & bicycle accommodations and online reservations.

Service was initially anticipated to begin in 2014. However, due to various delays, operations are anticipated to begin by the end of 2017 between recently completed stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

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