Author: Kyle McCarthy
Tags : Business Travel, Couples, Florida, Multigen, Tips & Documents, Travel Trends, USA
In one of the best ideas we’ve heard in a long time, work is proceeding on Brightline, a high-speed rail line that will serve south Florida’s busy tourist corridor. Their motto -- “carefree and car-free” – sums up the vast potential for this train to succeed with business commuters and international tourists who prefer not to rent a car.
Envisioned to run a 235-mile route from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and, eventually, Orlando; Brightline will begin its intercity service between Miami and Fort Lauderdale in summer 2017.
New Transportation will Transform Cities
Brightline is headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, a fitting home for a company that is using Henry Flagler’s old Florida-East Coast rail lines to run its service. Many of the original ca. 1912 tracks now being leased by Metrorail and Amtrak will be refurbished so that the high-speed trains can reach so-called “Higher Speeds” between 79mph and 125mph.
The beauty of the system using existing tracks is that it will link with three currently operating public transit rail systems to create integrated multimodal hubs. The first is known as MiamiCentral, an 11-acre mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Miami set to open by mid-2017. Located by the Perez Art Museum near Biscayne Bay, it will house the Brightline station, shops, the Central Fare food court featuring several local celebrity chefs, and more.
Having residential units in the mix guarantees there won’t be a ‘wrong side of the tracks’; station areas will be fully functional and vibrant neighborhoods on their own.
Brightline will Transform Commuting
Brightline is projecting hourly rail service in the project’s billion-dollar Phase 1, with an expected annual ridership of 3 million. Another $1.5 billion will go towards completing the Phase 2 extension to Orlando Airport, with its huge potential market of 60 million annual visitors.
As their spokesperson Annemarie Matthews told us, “Brightline is reimaging train travel to bring in elements of hospitality.” Commuters may pay a bit more than Amtrak, but can expect amenities such as a roaming food cart and power outlets at each seat.
Five four-car train sets carrying up to 240 passengers are currently under construction at Siemens USA in California. Each rail car will be fully accessible, pet-friendly, and have touch free washrooms to maintain hygienic conditions.
Select cars will be configured with two seats on one side and one on the other, and lower-priced Smart cars will have two and two seating. Passengers will be able to use complimentary WiFi, bike and luggage storage racks, and eventually, a dining car.
For now, speed and comfort are the allure.
Imagine going from Miami’s downtown Government Center Metrorail station to Fort Lauderdale in just 30 minutes, or to Orlando in 3 hours without traffic. Users can take advantage of the Brightline app to book tickets, reserve seats and get schedule updates.
Brightline is the Future of Rail Travel
Brightline is currently the only privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail system in the United States. The man in charge of delivering this new rail experience, Mike Reininger, is hoping for rapid growth, to 10 trains carrying 356 passengers each, by June of 2018.
Among the company’s biggest potential benefits are a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, because an estimated three million vehicles will be off the roads each year.
Just being able to avoid the I-95 traffic is enough to get most Floridians excited. To watch her progress, follow the Go Brightline site.