Brightline Makes History as Fastest Train in Florida
Brightline, a provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity rail in America, is officially the fastest train in Florida and the Southeastern United States after reaching speeds of 130 mph. The historic accomplishment took place while Brightline conducted train testing along its new 35-mile rail corridor between Orlando International Airport and Cocoa, Fla. The new tracks are built along the Beachline Expressway/SR 528, which is fenced and has no grade crossings.
During testing, Brightline trains are required to test faster than planned operating speeds. Once carrying passengers, Brightline trains will travel at maximum speeds of 125 mph which is more than two miles per minute.
“Reaching 130 isn’t just another milestone to our team, but the continuation of a dream that we’ve been working towards for several years,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline Trains. “More importantly, this historic feat brings us one step closer to launching Brightline service between Orlando and Miami.”
“Florida has always been at the forefront of train travel since the days when Henry Flagler connected Jacksonville to the Keys,” said Jim Kovalsky, president, Florida East Coast Railway Society. “Back then, there were reports that trains ran at 100 mph, but no one ever dreamed of reaching 130 mph. Brightline dreamed big and did it. History has been made and Henry Flagler would be proud.”
By reaching 130 mph Brightline broke its previous record of 110 mph, which the company set last fall during testing through Martin and St. Lucie Counties in Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Opening this year, the Orlando Station will revolutionize train travel in America and continue Brightline’s vision of offering a guest-first travel experience. Connecting two of the most congested city pairs in the nation, Brightline will whisk passengers between South and Central Florida in about three hours.
Just how fast does a Brightline train go? Here are the maximum speeds:
Current Operations in South Florida: 79 mph
Orlando Extension from West Palm Beach to Cocoa: 110 mph
Cocoa to Orlando International Airport:125 mph
The Brightline train sets are powered by two locomotives, one on each end, that are 16-cylinder, 4,000 hp Cummins EPA Tier-IV compliant diesel-electric engines. These locomotives and coaches are manufactured by Siemens Rolling Stock Facility in Sacramento, Calif.
Brightline continues to work closely with community partners, government agencies and news media to raise awareness for rail safety throughout all testings. Brightline’s current testing along the corridor from Cocoa south to West Palm Beach is ongoing, reaching speeds of up to 110 mph. Brightline has made significant infrastructure and safety improvements at all 156 crossings between Cocoa and Palm Beach. At the crossings where testing is occurring all safety improvements have been installed. Those improvements vary per crossing, but may include new crossing gates, signal systems, pedestrian gates, pavement markings and roadway profiles. Where trains will operate at 110 mph, all crossings have quad gates or medians to prevent motorists from driving around lowered crossing gates.
The public is encouraged to help spread the message of rail safety with Brightline’s safety materials, including taking the digital rail safety pledge and viewing and sharing the new safety PSA.
Trains will continue testing between Orlando International Airport and Cocoa daily throughout March between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
For Cruisers, as Brightline nears completion of the Orlando connection, the intercity rail system is already making a cruise vacation departing South Florida easier. Cruisers can begin their vacation early by connecting to South Florida’s ports through a partnership with Uber that conveniently connects PortMiami, Port Everglades or Port of Palm Beach to the stations, skipping the headache of I95 traffic and parking at the port.