Rail travel in Florida is on track to be transformed this summer with new 125mph trains running north from Miami from July.
The express train is known as Brightline. Unlike the existing Amtrak service, it is a privately funded initiative.
The southern terminus is a brand-new station downtown Miami, called MiamiCentral; existing passenger rail links are a long way from the city centre. Trains will reach Fort Lauderdale in 30 minutes and West Palm Beach — close to President Trump’s “Florida White House,” his Mar-a-Lago property — in an hour.
A high-speed extension to Orlando International Airport will follow next year, cutting the journey between the two cities to just three hours — compared with the driving time, on a good day, of four hours. Existing Amtrak trains take nearly six hours.
Five trains are being built for the service, called BrightBlue, BrightPink, BrightGreen, BrightOrange and BrightRed. Brightline promises: “We’ll have frequent departures to meet your needs throughout the day and evening so that you can have lots of flexibility.
“During morning and evening rush hour or other peak travel times, you can be sure that we will have frequent departures to meet your needs.”
The trains will be powered by a diesel at each end, like High Speed Trains in Britain.
Initially they will have four passenger coaches, but there are plans to expand to seven carriages. The basic product is “Select” class, but anyone opting for “Smart” class gets free food and drink. The firm promises “powerful, free WiFi” for all passengers.
Each station will offer a “rideshare” service to reduce the cost of onward travel, as well as bus links.
Fares have not yet been revealed, but Brightline says: “We’re still working on it—but we’re working to make it comparable to taking the car.“