Express inter-city rail system Virgin Trains USA has awarded five contracts valued at $4bn for the construction of a 273km rail line between Orlando and South Florida.

The contracts were awarded to Hubbard Construction Company, Wharton-Smith, The Middlesex Corporation, Granite and HSR Constructors.

As per terms of the agreement, the contractors will carry out the development of rail line from West Palm Beach to the completed intermodal station in the South Terminal at Orlando International Airport (OIA).

Virgin Trains USA president Patrick Goddard said: “Connecting Central and South Florida will bring thousands of jobs today and by modernising infrastructure, we will strengthen Florida’s economy for decades.

“For a project of this scope and magnitude, a world-class construction team has been assembled to undertake this tremendous assignment and we congratulate them helping us make history.”

The project forms part of the second phase of construction of rail lines divided into four zones. Work on Zone One and Zone Two, including OIA and the Virgin Trains Maintenance Facility, started recently.

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As part of the project, around 490,000 ties will be laid while 2.35 million tonnes of granite and limestone by will be transported by 20,000 railcars.

The Virgin Trains USA Phase 2 is expected to create over 10,000 jobs and generate more than $650m in federal, state and local tax revenue.

It is believed that construction will conclude and service will start between South Florida and Orlando in 2022.

Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, operates a subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group.

At present, Virgin Trains USA operates in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with plans to expand into Orlando and Tampa.