First ‘Brightline’ train for Florida unveiled

FLORIDA EAST COAST (FEC) is planning the USA’s first privately owned inter-city services since the 1960s.

Ironically, FEC was the first major US railroad to completely abandon passenger services in 1968, before the creation of Amtrak.

The first of the ‘Brightline’ trains: This set is named BrightBlue and has coaches in blue livery. The new Siemens ‘Charger’ loco appears in Brightline corporate yellow. Courtesy BRIGHTLINE

FEC has changed owners several times since the 1960s and is planning to reintroduce modern inter-city passenger trains on the Miami to Orlando route from next year.

The journey time for the trains – branded ‘Brightline’ – will be around three hours, and will be operated using five purpose-built trains being supplied by Siemens. Each seven-car train is powered by a new Siemens 125mph- capable ‘Charger’ loco.

Brightline services are due to begin later this year between Miami and West Palm Beach using upgraded FEC-owned lines, extending to Orlando International Airport, utilising a brand new 125mph line from Cocoa to Orlando during 2018, with 16 train pairs a day planned.

The new MiamiCentral station is being built on the site of the old city-centre FEC passenger station, which closed in 1963, and has been used for the Miami metro ‘Government Center’ station since 1984; a new rail/metro interchange is currently under construction.

Brightline may extend its services north from Cocoa to Jacksonville using the whole FEC route in the longer term.

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