ORLANDO, Fla. – The Miami-to-Orlando Brightline route is one step closer to opening to the public, as the high-speed rail company revealed its finished Orlando station Thursday.
In February, the company received “Bright Orange 2″ which completes the Brightline fleet of 10 trains.
In preparation for the route, Brightline put its high-speed trains through rigorous drills in Orange County.
The trains reached their maximum speed of 130 miles per hour. That is a fraction faster than they will go with passengers onboard later this year.
Ticket sales are set to begin in May, with one-way tickets for Smart service starting at $79 and Premium seats beginning at $149.
WATCH: An inside look at Brightline’s new station at @MCO. Patrick Goddard, @GoBrightline President, said ticket sales for #highspeed Miami-to-Orlando route scheduled to start next month in time for start of #summertravel season. https://t.co/OSpz2YrdRV pic.twitter.com/1YZmsrNvZt— Christina Boomer Vazquez, M.S. (@CBoomerVazquez) April 20, 2023
The company said it also plans to offer ticket bundles that would cost less than $199 for a family of four.
In March, a $100 million, 62-acre facility south of Orlando International Airport, began commissioning new Brightline trains and servicing existing trains. Brightline also said that the work on the planned Miami-to-Orlando route is 90% complete and that it expects to begin to offering service during the second quarter of this year.
“We think this will serve as a great blueprint for other opportunities around the country,” Brightline President Patrick Goddard said. “We are already working on a project that would connect Los Angeles to Las Vegas. For this intercity passenger service, Tampa makes all the sense in the world to be the next connection, but we are focused on connecting central Orlando and South Florida.”
Underpinning the applause at Thursday’s unveiling event was a test case, an expert said.
“Intercity passenger rail exists in every other country except ours,” John Renne, the director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, said. “We are about 50 years behind Europe and Asia. It’s about time to caught up.”
Renne teaches urban planning and is a nationally-recognized expert on sustainable transportation.
“There are no other models like Brightline anywhere else in the United States,” Renne said about the company, the only privately-owned high-speed rail line in America. “If this rail line works, and the one in California line works, we might see the expansion of rail across the United States.”
Airport officials said the new service also provides an opportunity for the more than 50 million visitors they get ever year to now use Orlando’s airport as a gateway to Miami.