All Aboard! Brightline finally ready to launch Saturday – West Palm to Ft. Lauderdale
The suspense has been killing us, but South Floridians will finally be able to ride the higher-speed trains of Brightline from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale beginning on Saturday.
Six years and an estimated $1.75 billion of tax-free bonds ago, All Aboard Florida announced that they were going to launch a higher-speed passenger train from Orlando to Miami.
The WPB to FTL leg is the first phase of the South Florida endeavor. Service is expected to complete linking West Palm Beach to Miami by the end of this year. Service from Orlando to South Florida is not projected to begin until 2020.
Although met with opposition as well as support, the journey to getting the diesel-electric powered trains on track has not been easy.
Just how much will a ride cost? Beginning Saturday, a round-trip ticket between West Palm beach and Fort Lauderdale starts at $20, with slightly roomier options costing more. One-way passes begin at $10.
At time of publishing, Brightline’s website was experiencing an overwhelming interest, which rendered the online booking system useless. According to the website, they are working to resolve the booking problem and urge passengers to check back soon.
Can we just say it again? The suspense is killing us!
Here is one of our previous articles about Brightline’s progress:
Brightline now says trains will begin running week of January 8
For now, trains will run between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with the MiamiCentral train station believed to be ready in the next three months.
The $3 billion project known as Brightline is expected to expand between Miami and West Palm Beach in the summer of 2018. An extention to Orlando is planned to be completed by 2020.
Below is our December 27 article on Brightline:
Brightline gets final approval for West Palm Beach to Orlando Fast Train
The fact that Brightline still has not begun its South Florida routes is not stopping the company from chugging along on its track to gain approval for expansion. In fact, the Department of Transportation has given Brightline the last necessary environmental approval to trudge ahead with plans to extend the system between West Palm Beach and Orlando.
Brightline’s CEO, Dave Howard, explained that the South Florida to Orlando connection will be Phase II. Phase I, with routes between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are in testing, but are yet to launch.
The company continues to say that start dates for the Phase I routes are coming soon. They are hopeful to begin construction on the extension in the first quarter of 2018, once infrastructure design and engineering are finalized.
The journey north will include a 70-acre maintenance facility located at Orlando International Airport.
“We look forward to launching service to Miami and starting construction north to Orlando in the first quarter of 2018,” stated Howard.
Once construction and testing is completed, Brightline says their services will be able to transport riders from West Palm Beach to Miami in about one hour and from Fort Lauderdale to Miami in 30 minutes.
There is no additional word on how long it will take to travel from Miami to Orlando, which would eventually become the full extension of Brightline’s routes.
We will continue to update the article as more information becomes available.