Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Boca Raton Station Work to Begin in March

January 25, 2021

Florida intercity rail operator Brightline expects to begin construction in March of a station in Boca Raton.

The $46 million project will get underway with construction of a temporary parking lot and garden and last for more than a year.

The station is expected to open in 2022. The Boca Raton City Council earlier approved the project, which is getting a $16.35 million federal grant.

Construction of Brightline Tampa Route Expected to Start in 2022

October 28, 2020

Construction of the Brightline route between Orlando and Tampa line is expected to start in 2022 with a completion date of 2025.

That timeline was advanced by Michael Cegelis, Brightline’s executive vice president of rail infrastructure.

He also said Brightline is studying a potential shared operation on some of the route with Orlando commuter railroad SunRail.

The proposal calls for Brightline to use existing SunRail tracks to reach Disney World and the Orlando International Airport.

The Tampa route is expected to be built in part along Interstate 4.

Cegelis said that Brightline is giving a higher priority to reaching Disney World than Tampa. timeline.

No Service Resumption Date for Brightline

October 1, 2020

Brightline still has not indicated when it plans to resume operations in Florida.

The intercity rail passenger carrier suspended operations in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic on its line between Miami and West Palm Beach.

A company spokesman said Brightline managers are “evaluating a number of factors” to determine when to resume operating trains.

Such things as falling levels of tourism, the lack of sporting and entertainment events drawing crowds, decreased business travel, and the shutdown of the cruise-ship industry sent Brightline ridership plunging.

The carrier suspended service on March 26 and laid off 262 workers.

Brightline Breaks Ground on New Station

September 11, 2020

Ground has been broken for a new station in the Miami region that will be used by Brightline.

The 17,500-foot facility will be build on three aces in Adventura, Florida, near a shopping center.

It will have an 860-foot platform and 240 parking spaces. The project includes the building a pedestrian bridge over railroad right-of-way and Biscayne Boulevard that will provide direct access to the Miami-Dade Transit bus terminal in Aventura Mall.

Although Brightline suspended service in March due to the CVOID-19 pandemic, it normally operates between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Brightline has announced that it plans to build additional in Boca Raton and PortMiami.

The Aventura Station is expected to be completed in fall 2021.

The county is providing $76 million for the station, which is expected to generate $90.8 million annually in economic impacts over a 30-year period.

Brightline Wants to Sever Ties With Virgin

August 12, 2020

Florida-based Brightline plans to sever its ties with Virgin Enterprises and continue operating under its original name.

Brightline had been moving toward operating under the Virgin Trains USA brand after reaching a licensing agreement with Virgin, which is overseen by Richard Branson.

Branson told Forbes magazine earlier this year that Virgin had not yet invested in Brightline but was interested in doing so.

News reports indicated that Virgin plans to contest the termination of the marketing agreement it has with Brightline Trains LLC.

In a statement, Brightline was quoted by Forbes as saying, “Virgin has no remaining affiliation with us, our parent or its affiliate.”

Brightline reportedly issued its notice to terminate the marketing agreement with Virgin on July 29.

Virgin also operates Virgin Atlantic Airlines, which sought bankruptcy protection last week.

Brightline had operated intercity rail passenger between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Those operations were suspended in March due to plunging ridership prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virgin Completes Laying Track at Orlando Airport

July 24, 2020

Virgin Trains USA has completed laying track at its terminal at the Orlando International Airport.

The project is part of a 170-mile extension from the current northern terminus on the service, formerly known as Brightline, at West Palm Beach, Florida.

The intercity carrier said it has laid 3.5 miles of track at the airport. That work was done in tandem with construction and remodeling that included a revision of the airport’s main entrance and a new south terminal.

Brightline Service Suspension Extended

May 21, 2020

The suspension of intercity rail service by Virgin Trains USA in Florida has been extended for several more months.

Virgin, which operates the service  formerly known as Brightline between downtown Miami and West Palm Beach, declined to say when service might resume.

The service was suspended on March 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In social media posts, Virgin blamed pandemic work-from-home policies and social distancing mandates for the continuation of its service suspension.

In Twitter and Facebook posts said Virgin expects it will take a long period of time for service demand to return to pre-virus levels.

In the meantime, Virgin has laid off 250 employees including some senior staff.

Virgin said it would continue work on extended its route from West Palm Beach to Orlando.

A public filing last month said service to Orlando is expected to begin in 2022.

Before service was suspended during the pandemic, Virgin trains had seen rising ridership, reaching 271,778, an 11 percent increase year-over-year increase.

Virgin to Build Station in Boca Raton

December 13, 2019

Virgin Trains USA will build a station in Baca Raton, Florida, after that city council there approved a long-term land lease for the construction of the station and parking garage.

The facility is expected to open by late 2020, becoming the third new station for the service also known as Brightline.

Other new stations are planned at Aventura and PortMiami. Brightline trains currently stop only at West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Virgin will pay for and operate the station, which will be built on a 1.8-acre site near Palmetto Park Road and Dixie Highway.

The city will fund most of the design and construction of the 455-vehicle parking garage adjacent to the station, but Virgin will be responsible for all operating expenses of the garage and the parties will split the profits.

Virgin to Start Laying Rails in January

November 27, 2019

Virgin Rails USA had told an Orlando news outlet that is will begin laying rails in January 2020 for its extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando, Florida.

The carrier said it will begin construction in February 2020 of a $70 million, 138,000 square foot maintenance center that it said will create 160 new jobs.

The 170-mile line to Orland will have 55 bridges that will cost $35 million apiece. Virgin projects that each bridge will take 12 to 30 months to build.

“Obviously our goal is to maximize mobility for the Central and South Florida communities,” said Virgin Trains USA CEO Patrick Goddard said. “We are looking at stations. We are in a dialogue with the Treasure Coast, we are in a dialogue with the Space Coast. We would like to see stations every 50 to 60 miles. I think that’s feasible and reasonable to have an express train service so we will continue to pursue to update those as we make progress.”

Virgin said the steel being used in construction of the line is being purchased from American Steel in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Approximately 1,000 will be employed to build the line.

Goddard said before building west of Orlando International Airport that Virgin must reach an agreement on a lease from the Central Florida Expressway Authority and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Virgin plans to build along existing highways between Orlando and Tampa.

Virgin to Build Miami Station for Cruise Ship Transfers

November 1, 2019

Virgin Trains USA this week said it would launch a $53.3 million station project in Miami that will steer passengers toward cruise ships and trains bound for Disney World.

To funnel cruise ship passengers, Virgin will build a station on land owned by PortMiami.

But taking passengers to Disney World will hinge on completion of an extension to Orlando that Virgin USA President Patrick Goddard said is expected to be completed in about three years.

The new station in Miami for cruise ship passengers is expected to cost $14.4 million and have 20,500 square feet.

Miami-Dade County will invest $5.4 million into that project and in return expects to receive $49 million in rent and passenger fees over 30 years.
Virgin said that in preparation for the expansion to Orlando it will spend $35 million to buy another trainset.

In a related development, Virgin is also planning to replace Florida East Coast’s single-track, 94-year-old drawbridge over the St. Lucie River at Stuart, Florida, with a double-track lift bridge.

The new bridge will cost $100 million and be 180 feet in length. The existing bridge is 50 feet.

The longer length will allow boats to pass each other in each direction beneath the bridge.

The vertical clearance for marine traffic when the bridge is closed will be 18 feet. The clearance of the existing bridge is 6.5 feet.

The additional clearance is expected to reduce the need to raise the bridge for pleasure boats.

The new bridge is expected to open around the time the extension to Orlando is completed.