The 378km-long Brightline’s high speed rail will connect Miami and Orlando. Credit: Brightline.
A view of the Fort Lauderdale station of the Brightline. Credit: Brightline.
The fifth trainset, BrightRed, was delivered by Siemens in September 2017. Credit: Brightline.
Each trainset includes two locomotives and four coaches. Credit: Brightline.

Brightline is a high-speed inter-city railway line under construction between Miami and Orlando, Florida, US. Estimated to cost $4bn, the project is being implemented by All Aboard Florida (AAF), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries.

The first phase of the line between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach became operational in January 2018.

The inter-city passenger rail service will be served by five trains namely BrightGreen, BrightOrange, BrightBlue, BrightRed and BrightPink.

Brightline high-speed rail line phase one routes and stations

The high-speed rail project is being executed in two phases. The first phase connects Miami with West Palm Beach through Fort Lauderdale.

The total length of the line will is 378km. Existing lines will be used for 314km of the line and the remaining 64km will be new.

A new station covering 479,160ft² is being built in the middle of downtown Miami Central. The station will feature residences, offices, unique retail offerings, central fare and entertainment.

The Fort Lauderdale station occupies an area of 60,000ft² featuring a comfortable lounge. It also has a new 218,204ft² park-and-ride facility with a 576-vehicle capacity.

The West Palm Beach station covers an area of 60,000ft² with scope for new development.

Brightline high-speed rail project phase two

The second phase of the Brightline high-speed rail project will extend the railway line from West Palm Beach to Orlando. It will include the development of 170 miles (273.5km) of new track between South Florida and Orlando.

The construction of phase two began in May 2019 and service is expected to begin in 2022. Phase two will create more than 10,000 jobs and will have an annual ridership of more than three million.

The Orlando station is currently under construction at Orlando International Airport’s South Inter-modal Centre (ITC). It will also provide connections to future SunRail and automated people mover (APM) projects, which are under development.

Phase three details

The third phase of the Brightline high-speed rail project is still in the planning stage. It will include an 85-mile (136.7km) rail line between Orlando International Airport and Tampa. Trains on the line are expected to travel at a speed of 125mph (201.16km/h).

Brightline high-speed rail line construction

Construction on the project began with the laying of new tracks between the Miami and West Palm Beach section in mid-2014.

The existing building located on the site of the Fort Lauderdale station was demolished and construction on the new station commenced in October 2014. The external structure of the station was completed in September 2017 while the interior was finished in the second half of 2017.

Construction on the West Palm Beach station began in November 2014 and was completed in the second half of 2017.

Other track works and construction at Miami Central station are scheduled for completion by the end of 2020.

Construction of phase two includes four zones with zone one including 70 acres of development near the Orlando International Airport and the Virgin Trains’ vehicle maintenance facility located south of the airport.

Zone two includes a 3.5-acre section at the centre of the airport, while zone three includes rail alignment of 35 miles (56.3km) along Highway 528 corridor between OIA and Cocoa.

Zone four includes the upgrade of 129 miles (207.6km) of existing Class IV track to Class VI, which will allow trains to operate at speeds of up to 110mph (177km/h).

Rolling stock operating on the line

The Brightline trains feature level boarding and utilise automated retractable platforms. The platforms extend up to 12in to enable easy access for disabled passengers.

The trains feature 32in-wide aisles, which provide enough space for wheelchairs and prams. The trains also feature wide windows and free Wi-Fi with convenient plug sockets.

The coaches provide two different experiences with one select and three smart coaches. The select coaches offer 21in-wide seats and complimentary beverages and snacks, while the smart coaches feature 19in-wide seats.

The Brightline trains also feature luggage towers, bike racks, pet carriers and restrooms with a touch-less flush facility.

Each train is composed of two diesel-electric locomotives and four stainless-steel coaches. The locomotives are powered by 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 engines with a maximum power output of 4,000hp each. The Brightline trains run at a maximum speed of more than 200km/h.

The engine meets the requirement of EPA Tier 4 standards, produces ultra-low emissions and noise, and consumes minimum fuel.

Contractors involved with Brightline high-speed rail project

All Aboard Florida placed a contract with Siemens USA for five train sets in 2014. The first trainset was delivered in December 2016, while the last was handed over in December 2017.

Cummins received the contract to supply the QSK95 engines for the locomotives. The interiors of the train sets were designed by the Rockwell Group.

GE Transportation was contracted to provide signalling system for the high-speed rail service, in April 2015.

All Aboard Florida contracted Suffolk Construction for the pre-construction and construction management services for the nine-acre multimodal station being built in downtown Miami.

The contract for building the Fort Lauderdale station was awarded to Adache Group and Moss & Associates.

Brightline has partnered with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) for the supply of clean biodiesel to fuel the trains. FPL will supply more than two million gallons of biodiesel-blended fuel a year under the two-year contract.

The contractors involved in phase two are Wharton-Smith, The Middlesex Corporation, Hubbard Construction Company, Granite and HSR Constructors.

Brightline high-speed rail benefits

The new express service will offer an alternative mode of transportation for 50 million passengers, who currently travel by air or road between Orlando and South Florida. It will enable passengers to travel from downtown Miami to downtown Fort Lauderdale in just 30 minutes, Miami to West Palm Beach in 60 minutes, and Miami to Orlando in approximately three hours.

The project is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs during construction, and an average of 5,000 jobs a year when operational.