Virgin Trains, formerly Brightline, broke ground today on the nation’s largest, privately funded infrastructure project to expand passenger rail service to Orlando. Today, Virgin Trains announced the introduction of the “red spike era” and the company’s commitment to reinventing passenger rail service in America by providing fast, efficient, hospitality-driven transportation that connects cities that are too close to fly and too long to drive.
“This is a historic milestone on the path to reinvent passenger rail in America and clearly demonstrates the leadership role that the private sector can play in revitalizing our nation’s infrastructure,” says Virgin Trains Chairman and co-founder of Fortress Investment Group Wes Edens in press materials. “Virgin Trains service between Orlando and Miami will launch an American passenger rail renaissance. We expect that this will be the first of many passenger lines in the U.S. that follow this model for connecting city pairs that are too close to fly and too far to drive.”
Virgin Trains is developing 170 miles of new track into the completed intermodal facility located in the South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport as part of the company’s Phase 2 expansion into Central Florida. The infrastructure is made up of four zones including the area of the Orlando International Airport and the Virgin Trains Maintenance Facility.
The service to Orlando is expected to begin in 2022. The Miami to Orlando route will take approximately 3 hours, while the West Palm Beach to Orlando route will take about 90 minutes. There will be 34 scheduled departures Monday through Friday, with 20 departures on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. Guests aboard the Virgin Trains will have access to free high-speed WiFi, power and USB outlets at every seat, a selection of food offerings and beverage options, bicycle and luggage storage, plus it will be pet-friendly for those guests who can’t leave the family pet behind.
In addition, back in September 2018, Virgin Trains announced that it will construct and operate a new service connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.