Brightline has inaugurated the Orlando airport rail link, providing connection between the airport and Miami for the first time.
The ceremony was held at Brightline Orlando station with guests who joined Brightline’s Founder Wes Edens, CEO Mike Reininger and President Patrick Goddard and officials from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Florida Department of Transportation, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Central Florida Expressway Authority.
The project covered the construction of a 273.6 km (170 miles) extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando and required an investment of USD 6 billion which generated economic benefits in Florida by creating 10,000 jobs and approximately USD 6.4 billion in direct economic impact to the region. Brightline says that the construction teams worked more than 7 million hours over the course of four years to complete the project.
Brightline launched operations in South Florida in 2018, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with stations in Boca Raton and Aventura being opened in 2022.
The Orlando airport rail link covered 56 bridges, including 18 new bridges, three underpasses, drainage installations, track and signalling systems and 60 track miles (96.5 km) of new rail. Over the four years of construction, upgrades and improvements were made to three underpasses and 156 rail crossings. Engineering of double track under active airport taxiways and tug roads and a new 35-mile (56.3 km) rail alignment along the Beachline Expressway/SR 528, were also made.
Now Brightline covers 378 km (235 miles) between Miami and Orlando and the new route will take between 3 and 3.5 hours depending on South Florida station stops. All stations and trains are accesible and provide amenities including Starlink Wi-Fi, chargers and outlets at every seat, and a selection of food, beverage and cocktails available for purchase for Smart and complimentary for Premium.
The new Brightline Orlando station is located at Orlando International Airport’s 37,350 square foot train station adjacent to its new Terminal C. This is the only intercity passenger rail station of its kind to be located in a U.S. airport and stands three-stories tall, including a 72,000 square feet platform area, making it the company’s largest train station. The station connects directly to the airport’s Parking Garage C, which will have more than 350 parking spaces marked for Brightline guests. The station provides direct access to the other airport terminals A and B via the airport Terminal Link (automated people mover) in under five minutes.
The expansion to Orlando also included the development of Basecamp, a USD 100 million state-of-the-art train maintenance facility constructed on 62 acres south of Orlando International Airport (MCO). The facility operates 24/7, servicing trains with skilled engineers, conductors, technicians and inspectors.
The line is operated by stainless-steel trains manufactured by Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, California, with components from more than 160 suppliers across 27 states. They are designed for luxury and comfort, featuring special ergonomic seating, contemporary communication systems and enhanced Wi-Fi. Thanks to wide aisles, wheelchair storage and fully accessible restrooms, the Venture trainset exceeds ADA requirements from end to end.