PRIVATE US passenger operator Brightline opened its 273.5km extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando on September 22.

Brightline is initially operating six round trips per day with trains from Miami calling at Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach en route to Orlando Airport with a journey time of 3h 30min. However, the service will be stepped up in October to 16 round trips per day to provide an hourly service during the day.

For a limited time, Brightline is offering one-way Smart-class fares starting at $US 79.00 for adults and $US 39.00 for children. Groups of four or more passengers will automatically save an additional 25% on Smart fares. One-way Premium-class fares start at $US 149.00.

The project involved upgrading the existing freight railway from West Palm Beach to Cocoa Beach for passenger operation at up to 177km/h and constructing a new double-track 200km/h line west to a new station on the south side of Orlando Airport, with provision for an extension to Tampa.

First impressions

IRJ’s publisher, Jon Chalon, was on board the inaugural run from Miami to Orlando. “The main terminal in Miami makes an exceptional impression for the train service,” Chalon said. “The station is clean, modern and offers many locations for food and drink.

“Pre-screening security is easy and an important feature of the service. The trains are modern, clean and comfortable. Food service and drinks were very good.

“The fastest part of the route is when the train curves west from Cocoa Beach to Orlando Airport. Peak speed was 200km/h when we blew past the cars on the highway.

The inaugural train from Miami at Orlando Airport. Credit: Jon Chalon

“At Orlando, there is a seamless connection to the main airport terminal area via the airport train. I was easily able to make my 12.09 flight off the train that arrived in Orlando at 11.08.”

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