If you've been following the development of All Aboard Florida, you've probably thought to yourself at one time or another, Wait, are they going to call it THAT? The answer is no. You won't be talking about jumping on the "All Aboard Florida train" to Orlando. In fact, the project has had a secret name all this time that will actually be used for the line, and that name was finally announced today.
It's the Brightline.
The privately owned train line will connect South Florida — with stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach — to Orlando, with the trip north taking about three hours. That's compared to the three hours and 20 minutes it takes by car, assuming, of course, there's not much traffic.
The trains are not quite fast enough to be deemed high-speed rail and, in fact, are designated "higher-speed rail." The private project hasn't been without significant controversy. Gov. Rick Scott helped hand the deal to a company with ties to his chief of staff after he blocked the Obama administration's ambitious plans to bring true, publicly funded high-speed rail to Florida in 2011.
At its presser today, the company emphasized the project's benefits to Florida, echoing claims that the trains could take 700,000 off of I-95 and create four million square feet of new train stations and retail space in city hubs like Miami's under-construction main station.
“With the introduction of Brightline, we set out to reinvent what traveling by train can mean in America, making it a forward-leaning solution that is a smarter alternative to more cars on crowded roads,” Michael Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida, says in a release.
However, the design of the trains will try to emphasize speed and modern technology. The fleet is being constructed in California by Siemens USA, and the design, seen above, is meant to evoke high-speed rail. The trains will be painted with flashy, brightly colored designs in five colors: red, orange, green, blue, and pink. All trains will be pulled by a distinctive yellow locomotive.
Notably, the company didn't release any mockups today of the trains' interiors, but the Brightline promises "giant picture windows that are perfectly aligned with every seat." Free Wi-Fi will be offered, and power outlets will be available onboard. Seats will be covered in leather, and seating configurations will vary throughout the trains. Passengers will be able to have beverages, including wine and coffee, delivered to their seats, and a café car will provide food.
Ticket prices were also not confirmed, but the company has long said the cost to ride the Brightline will be comparable to the cost to drive between Miami and Orlando. Earlier reports this year, however, suggested that a one-way ticket from Miami to Orlando would cost about $143.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.