ORLANDO, FLORIDA — The long-awaited Brightline high-speed train line stretching from Orlando to Miami is finally completed and ready to open for business after nearly a decade of anticipation.
The first-of-its-kind train line is set to begin service from Orlando to Miami on Friday, September 22. The project began almost nine years ago and cost over $6 billion. Brightline constructed 170 miles of new track and 56 bridges.
The train line promises to transport passengers between the two cities in less than three hours with a top speed of 125 mph. Amtrak trains take no less than five hours to make the same trip, while driving on the interstate freeways takes close to four hours with minimal traffic and much longer with heavy traffic.
“It’s kind of a lousy drive between them,” Wes Edens, co-founder of Fortress Investment Group and the mastermind behind Brightline, told CNBC. “It’s this 230-mile trip between the two places with lots and lots of trouble in between.”
Brightline expects to operate 16 daily round trips between Orlando and Miami, with one-way rides starting at $79, according to the New York Post. The company projects Brightline trains to service 8 million passengers each year in Florida.
“Brightline is the first privately-owned intercity rail system in the U.S,” the paper added.
“Florida leaders expect Brightline — which already carried close to 1 million passengers during the first half of this year in South Florida — to serve 4.3 million annual ‘long-distance’ riders between Orlando and Miami, while injecting more than $6 billion into the state’s economy as it more closely links the Magic Kingdom with South Beach.”
The company plans to extend its Florida rail lines to Tampa, while a project connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas will get underway next year.
Sarah Watterson, president of Brightline West told CNBC: “We are planning to make our project, as I call it, the blueprint for America’s high-speed rail industry.”