Brightline has passed the halfway mark on construction of its track extension from Miami to Orlando.
The 170-mile extension project from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport (OIA) is valued at 4.2bn USD (3.43bn euros) and includes the development of a new vehicle maintenance facility (VMF) just south of the airport.
The construction milestone was celebrated with Brightline engineers and regional county and city officials signing a 12-foot yellow steel rail, which will be incorporated into the track between the OIA station and the VMF as a sign of community support.
Once complete the new corridor will connect south and central Florida, making it one of the country’s largest and most significant privately financed infrastructure projects. With completion expected by late 2022, Brightline says its high-speed rail network will create over 10,000 jobs and over 6.4bn USD (5.23bn euros) in economic impact over an eight-year period.
“This is just one major milestone of Brightline's progress and investment of more than 4bn USD (3.43bn euros) which serves as a powerful example to those across the country who are calling for the creation of a national high-speed rail network.”
Brightline currently has operations and stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and has plans for additional stations in Boca Raton and Aventura. Discussions are also underway with local stakeholders regarding expansion to Disney and Tampa.
The company further plans to bring its service to additional city pairs and congested corridors across the US, with immediate plans to connect Las Vegas to southern California. Similar to how it plans to operate its service to Orlando, the tracks on the West Coast will run on existing transportation corridors.
Canadian National wants the Surface Transportation Board to order the divestiture of KCS's Springfield Line as part of the CP-KCS merger.
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Brightline has begun testing its full operating train schedule between West Palm Beach and Miami in preparation for its return to service.
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