Florida’s new high-speed train makes 1st test run to Orlando airport

May 19, 2022

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When Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) new Terminal C opens Sept. 19, “higher-speed” train travel between Central Florida and Miami will be one step closer to reality.

The rail service known as Brightline, which currently services stations between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, ran its first test into the new terminal on Tuesday. The black and yellow train called Bright Blue 2 rolled onto the platform at the Intermodal Terminal Facility accompanied by engine roar, train whistles and flashing lights.

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While no passengers were on board during the test, project engineer Jerome Hall was there to offer his thoughts about the milestone. “To be able to have higher-speed premium passenger rail service here in the Orlando region and connecting down to Miami is the future,” he said. “For the past four years … we’ve been dreaming and working tirelessly toward this goal with design and construction.”

(Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Once testing was completed, the train returned to Brightline’s maintenance facility just south of the airport. The connector project from Orlando to Miami cost a total of $2.7 billion. It’s about 80% complete and will start carrying passengers from Orlando to South Florida in 2023.

Related: Brightline breaks ground on Orlando extension

The trip between Miami and Orlando will take about three hours, which shaves off an hour or more from travel time by car. That’s a big deal where the only current options for visitors are either to hit the road in a rental car or hop a connecting 40-minute flight.

Three additional stations are currently under construction in South Florida: Boca Raton, Aventura and PortMiami, where riders can hop off the train to board the cruise ships docked there.

(Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Future expansion plans for Brightline include a connection between Orlando International Airport and Disney Springs, and then a continuing connection to Tampa. Plans for a three-hour connection between the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Los Angeles are also underway.

Related: Brightline name sticks for California and Florida lines

Since its opening in January 2018, Brightline has carried more than 2 million passengers between its three current operating stations.

Featured photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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