Florida Moves Closer to Revolutionary Transportation

Soon it will be easier than ever for tourists to hit Disney World and the beach in the same trip.

Florida is a big place with a lot to do, from Disney World in Orlando to the lovely beaches in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. But if you are a tourist who wants to try to get it all done in a week, or if you have grandparents chilling at the tip of the state that you would like to see more often, then you have to resign yourself to a four hour drive. (Or more, if you hit traffic, which you will.)

But since 2018, Florida residents, as well as people who visit the Sunshine State, have been dreaming of a faster way to get from the middle of Florida to the Southern most part. And now, those dreams are even closer to reality.

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The private inter-city rail Brightline opened in 2018, and it’s owned and run by the real estate company Florida East Coast Industries. Brightline got started with a train that got you between Miami and West Palm Beach in about an hour, with a stop at Ft. Lauderdale along the way. The company added stops at Boca Raton and Aventura last year.

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But the big one that Floridians have been hoping for is an Orlando stop. And after years of construction, and delays, Brightline has announced that it will open a stop at the fancy new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport. The exact date the stop will open is still unknown, but founder and Co-CEO of Brightline Wes Edens promises it will be no later than Christmas 2023, pending a U.S. Federal Railroad Administration-required testing period. So this Christmas, you can do the beach and Disney World  (DIS) – Get Free Report in one go.

Of course, Floridians have been waiting quite a while for the ability to travel between Orlando and Miami, quickly, smoothly and with a glass of train wine in hand. But there have been plenty of delays, often owing to the complications of the 129-mile section of track between West Palm Beach and Cocoa. So it’s understandable if anyone is still just a bit dubious about the Orlando stop ever happening.

But take heart, as Brightline offered an update over the weekend, writing in a statement that the company “is breaking records as we make our way toward Orlando. During testing on the new 35-mile corridor between Orlando International Airport and Cocoa, FL. Brightline reached speeds of 130 mph. This beat the previous record of 110 mph and set Brightline as the fastest train in Florida and the Southeastern United States.”

The company also stressed safety, noting it was working with community partners, government agencies, and media to raise awareness for rail safety, and offered a safety PSA that read, in part, “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.” 

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