Virgin Trains USA breaks ground on Miami-Orlando express rail line
June 26, 2019 – Virgin Trains USA, an express inter-city rail system, has broken ground on a project to build a fast rail route between Miami and Orlando in the US state of Florida.
Expected to be operational in 2022, the express rail route will connect the two metropolitan areas, bringing not only ease of travel, but could also spark economic development along the route.
The train ride is expected to take only three hours, running at 80 miles an hour.
Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, expects that the rail route could help in transporting six million passengers per year, generating nearly $6.4bn (£5.02bn) and could generate more than 10,000 jobs.
Virgin Trains USA chairman and Fortress Investment Group co-founder Wes Edens said: “This is a historic milestone on the path to reinvent passenger rail in America and clearly demonstrates the leadership role that the private sector can play in revitalising our nation’s infrastructure.
“Virgin Trains service between Orlando and Miami will launch an American passenger rail renaissance. We expect that this will be the first of many passenger lines in the US that follow this model for connecting city pairs that are too close to fly and too far to drive.”
The project will include laying 170 miles of new track, using 225 million pounds of steel and hammering nearly two million spikes and bolts into place in the next 36 months.
Virgin Trains president Patrick Goddard said: “Officially launching construction to Orlando marks a huge milestone for Virgin Trains and the realisation of our vision to reinvent passenger rail in America.
“Connecting Orlando and Miami, two of our nation’s greatest cities, will provide tremendous economic and environmental benefits that will be an asset to Florida for generations.”
In September 2018, Virgin Trains USA also announced that it will build and operate a new rail route connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.