Florida to build Orlando-Miami passenger rail link

Written by Alastair McKenzie on 10 November 2015.

Brightline trainset

The first phase of the only privately-owned and operated passenger rail service in the United States, is due to launch in Florida in 2017.

The express train travel service will connect the major cities of south and central Florida along a 235-mile route between Orlando and Miami.

At an event held on the construction site for MiamiCentral, the new downtown transportation hub and mixed-use urban development in the heart of Miami, the developers, All Aboard Florida, revealed the new Brightline brand identity and previewed its trainsets.

With one eye on global warming and a new generation of Americans who are not so obsessed with car ownership, the USA has been flirting with rail travel in recent decades. This project is a diluted version of the original Tampa-Orlando-Miami high-speed rail corridor mandated by Florida voters in 2000 but emasculated by its governors in 2004 (Jeb Bush) and 2011 (Rick Scott).

The result is an 'express' service - not the 168-186 mph 'high speed' trains originally envisioned, but instead travelling at max speeds of 79-125 mph - running from Orlando to Miami via West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

However, starting at Orlando International Airport and with a spur to Miami Port, it's not hard to see what a useful role Brightline will play for international tourists, especially cruise passengers. And they are competing for domestic travellers head-on with road and air links, by still completing the Miami-Orlando journey in three hours – faster than by car and comparable to total air-travel time.

The express inter-city Brightline trains are being built in California by Siemens and – indicative of the new identity – will each be adorned in a spectrum of five distinct colors: BrightRed, BrightOrange, BrightGreen, BrightBlue and BrightPink, led by BrightYellow locomotives - and will have modern interiors with roomy and reserved onboard seating, free Wifi, on-board and in-station food and beverage selections, and easy local transit connections.

More information on ticket pricing and packages, will be released over the coming months, leading up to the launch of the first phase of service in mid-2017.

© 1999-2017 Travel-Lists.co.uk. All rights reserved.