Brightline, the only privately-owned intercity rail company in the US, has completed construction of the Orlando extension. The company says it will launch services between Central and South Florida this September.
The Orlando line extension broke ground in June 2019, one year after operations began in South Florida between its Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations.
Additional stations were opened in downtown Boca Raton and Aventura in 2022 as the 273.5km (170 miles) extension of the railway to Orlando continued.
Brightline says that construction generated over 10,000 jobs and more than $6.4bn in economic impact for the state of Florida.
To mark the completion of construction, mayors representing Brightline station cities along with Brightline Orlando construction team members gathered to celebrate with a roundtable conversation on transportation and economic impact in Florida.
Brightline CEO Mike Reininger said: “Completing this project is the culmination of more than a decade of dedication, determination and hard work.”
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“Our team has shown its relentless ability to navigate and overcome challenges to bring us where we are today. We have built something remarkable and I am excited to see millions of people ride brighter.”
Brightline is testing high-speed trains on the West Palm Beach–Orlando corridor and says it will test speeds up to 177km/h (110mph) in July.
In addition to testing, Brightline recently completed its final rail and track cutover on the project, which integrates a new second track into the existing corridor. Brightline plans to conduct crew certification and revenue service demonstration once testing is complete.
“This new Orlando train station at the Orlando International Airport will connect travellers with an efficient, eco-friendly transportation option and provide job opportunities,” said Mayor of Orlando Buddy Dyer.
“As a true multimodal hub, it will change the transportation landscape and I look forward to the continued growth to come as a result of Brightline’s inclusion in our community.”
In March this year, Brightline unveiled a new $100m train maintenance facility on 62 acres of space located south of Orlando International Airport.