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Plan for high-speed train between Miami, Orlando on slow track

Brightline executive says Orlando leg will have to wait 2-and-a-half years

The new Brightline locomotive will shuttle passengers between Miami and West Palm Beach in an hour. The first phase is expected to open this summer, but the trains will eventually offer services between Orlando and Miami.
The new Brightline locomotive will shuttle passengers between Miami and West Palm Beach in an hour. The first phase is expected to open this summer, but the trains will eventually offer services between Orlando and Miami. (Todd Tongen/WPLG)

MIAMI – Plans for a high-speed train system between Miami and Orlando could take longer to reach its final destination.

Brightline is preparing to launch service in South Florida this summer, with stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

However, the planned expansion service to central Florida that was scheduled for next year will now have to wait at least two-and-a-half years, according to Michael Reininger, former Brightline president.

"As a practical matter, there's about 30 months of construction that needs to be done," Reininger told the South Florida Business Journal. "We won't start that construction until we finish the permitting and get the financing put in place."

Brightline spokeswoman AnneMarie Mathews said the company remains focused on the first phase of construction from Miami to West Palm Beach.

"Now that we are readying for service launch, we are continuing to make progress on Phase 2 to Orlando," she said in an email. "We are currently finalizing permitting and should have a better idea of timing to Orlando after we begin operations this summer."

Dave Howard, a former executive with the New York Mets, was recently named CEO and will oversee the transition.


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