Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, local media and the city’s movers and shakers were all in attendance at a recent press conference in Downtown Miami, where Michael Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida, unveiled the development company’s new passenger rail service, Brightline, at the future location of the train’s southernmost station, Miami Central (200 NW 1st Avenue). Brightline’s initial 4-car train sets will travel between 79 and 125 mph connecting Miami to Fort Lauderdale (in 30 minutes), downtown West Palm Beach (60 minutes) and Orlando (in roughly 3 hours) along a 235-mile route beginning mid-2017 when the service launches its MIA to WPB route. The centrally located stations, which are currently under construction, have now spurred the creation of new urban centers at or near their locations, featuring residences, offices and hospitality venues.
The All Aboard Florida team turned to David Rockwell of architecture and design firm Rockwell Group—whose projects include Nobu Hotel at Eden Rock, JetBlue’s terminal 5 at JFK, Disney Cruise Line—to help “reinvent what it means to travel by train in Florida,” Reininger noted. “Brightline lives at the intersections of transportation and hospitality” with “specially designed trains that will focus on customers’ needs and wants.” Rockwell expounded upon that thought, saying “We spoke to many people over the last four years to determine what people wanted in an amazing train experience. We found out humbly, that what they want is transparency. They want to be able to get their ticket and they want design to not just be about creating the building, but they want to experience design.” So the duo created welcoming stations in cheerful bright yellow and cool blue palette with “elements that would most transform the guest experience,” Rockwell added. Those elements include complimentary WiFi in stations and on board, all reserved seating on trains and food and beverage selections, as well as power outlets at guests’ seats on the train and in the station, wide aisles on trains and a pet-friendly product.
Julie Edwards, Brightline’s chief marketing officer, invites travel agents to reach out to the company to learn about special promotions and travel packages that they can extend to their clients. This year alone, Florida saw more than 100 million visitors and expects to receive 20 million more in 2016. As Reininger quipped, “We all know, no matter who you are, sooner or later you’re coming to Florida.” For more information, visit gobrightline.com or allaboardflorida.com.