OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – With Brightline services up and running once again, drivers can expect railroad crossings will be busier.
The company has resumed its full schedule, quickly transporting passengers between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
Services were stopped because of the pandemic and on its reopening day, the rail line pushed a message of safety.
After Monday’s car crash involving a 71-year-old grandmother who turned onto the tracks in Pompano Beach, drivers are reminded to be more vigilant.
Many were still though spotted on Tuesday making illegal U-turns or stopping on the train tracks altogether.
“Occasionally they pull up too close to the tracks. Sometimes they’re on the tracks,” said Debbie Blakely of Big Dog Station Bar & Grill, which is just off Oakland Park Blvd across from the tracks.
Someone residents and area workers say it happens more often than you’d think along the railroad.
“That thing has been speeding down here. They did practice runs for the last probably two months,” she continued.
Brightline says the problem is industry wide, adding the company has spent millions of dollars updating signage and safety equipment while partnering up with different organizations tied to mental health and education.
It even partnered up with WAZE to highlight and notify drivers of railroad crossings on the popular navigation app.
“Brightline trains in south Florida go top speeds of 79mph and the crossings that we pass are only down for about 45 seconds to a minute,” said Sr. Vice President of Brightline, Ben Porritt. “If people were to just take a second, obey the signs that exist, don’t try to beat a train they would not be putting their life in jeopardy.”
The company unveiled a safety campaign in three languages on its website.
As the rail line expands to Boca and eventual connect South Florida to Orlando, industry leaders are insisting these tragedies can be avoided.
The company currently operates between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in Florida and is scheduled to complete construction to the Orlando International Airport by the end of 2022.
As part of its relaunch, Brightline is unveiling guest enhancements that will elevate train travel to a true car-free lifestyle experience in South Florida through its new door-to-door service and upgraded food and beverage options.
For more information on Brightline trains and safety measures, click here.