Brightline Begins High-Speed Rail Service Between Orlando And Miami

Brightline Orlando Grand Opening. Credit: Brightline.

On September 22, Brightline’s passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami officially commenced. The inaugural train, named Bright Pink, arrived in Orlando at 11:05 a.m., warmly welcomed by over 500 elected officials, business leaders, community partners, and company executives from across the state. This celebration served as an emphatic statement regarding the boldest private infrastructure project in the nation and represents the revival of Henry Flagler’s original vision for the Florida East Coast Railway. A project a decade in the making, Brightline’s launch is poised to revolutionize train travel in America, presenting a model for connecting city pairs that are too close to fly between and yet too far to drive.

The commencement of service was celebrated at the Brightline Orlando Station, where guests gathered with Brightline’s Founder Wes Edens, CEO Mike Reininger, and President Patrick Goddard. Upon the train’s arrival, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer welcomed guests on the platform and presented the Key to the City to Edens, who was accompanied by Reininger, Goddard, and other Brightline representatives. Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the Central Florida Expressway Authority, and others were also present to welcome the first train.

Keys to the City of Orlando- Brightline CEO Mike Reininger and Founder Wes Edens, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Brightline President Patrick Goddard. Credit: Brightline.

Brightline launched operations in South Florida in 2018, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Stations in Boca Raton and Aventura opened last year. Construction on its 170-mile extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando began in 2019. The $6 billion project has generated substantial economic benefits in Florida, creating 10,000 jobs and approximately $6.4 billion in direct economic impact to the region. Construction teams worked over seven million hours over four years to complete the project.

Brightline covers 235 miles between Miami and Orlando, and the new route will take between 3 and 3.5 hours, depending on South Florida station stops.


Brightline trains and stations are acclaimed for their outstanding guest experience, modern station design, roomy lounges, and comfortable train sets. Designed by The Rockwell Group and adorned with Brightline’s signature yellow, these stations are meticulously crafted to cater to the needs of today’s travelers. All stations and trains have essential amenities, including Starlink Wi-Fi, charging stations, and power outlets at every seat. Moreover, a diverse array of food, beverages, and cocktails is on offer for SMART passengers, which are complimentary for PREMIUM travelers. Guests can savor a wide selection of light bites, beverages, and cocktails throughout the day at one of Brightline’s signature Mary Mary Bars within the station. Additionally, travelers can conveniently shop for last-minute gifts, sundries, and refreshments at one of the MRKT shopping retail locations.

The new Brightline Orlando Station, in partnership with Orlando Health, is nestled within MCO’s impressive 37,350-square-foot Train Station, adjacent to its new Terminal C. Remarkably, it is the only intercity passenger rail station within a U.S. airport. This station soars three stories high and features a spacious 72,000-square-foot platform area, ranking as the company’s largest train station. Furthermore, the Train Station offers direct access to the airport’s Parking Garage C, with over 350 parking spaces exclusively designated for Brightline guests. With swift access to the other terminals, A and B, via the airport Terminal Link (an automated people mover), guests can navigate MCO’s facilities seamlessly in under five minutes.

Located strategically on an expansive 11-acre complex in downtown Miami, MiamiCentral serves as Brightline’s flagship southern terminus. Beyond its role as a transportation hub, MiamiCentral is a multifaceted live-work-play destination, boasting luxury rental residences, commercial offices, and vibrant retail and entertainment spaces. Travelers seeking further connections have various options, including Brightline+, the Miami Metromover, and Metrorail, all seamlessly integrated with the station.

Brightline train sets result from a partnership with Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, California. Crafted from stainless steel, these coaches incorporate components from over 160 suppliers across 27 states. Designed to focus on luxury and comfort, they feature ergonomic seating, contemporary communication systems, and enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity. The Venture trainset goes above and beyond ADA requirements with its wide aisles, wheelchair storage, and fully accessible restrooms, ensuring a comfortable experience for all passengers throughout their journey.


Brightline’s Orlando expansion showcases impressive engineering, advanced technology, and smart design, revolutionizing intercity travel. This extensive project involved constructing 56 bridges, including 18 new ones, along with drainage systems, tracks, and signals, creating 60 new miles of rail. Over four years, they improved three underpasses and 156 railroad crossings. Notably, they engineered double tracks under active airport taxiways and tug roads and developed a new 35-mile rail alignment along the Beachline Expressway/SR 528.

The Orlando extension also introduced Basecamp, a modern $100 million train maintenance facility spread across 62 acres south of Orlando International Airport (MCO). Operating 24/7, Basecamp employs skilled engineers, conductors, technicians, and inspectors, ensuring continuous train service and maintenance. This cutting-edge facility is crucial to Brightline’s commitment to delivering excellent rail travel.

Brightline’s phase I and II construction and service launch significantly impacted Florida’s economy. Independent studies indicate that these efforts will create more than 10,000 jobs, including 2,000 permanent positions, yield over $6.4 billion in direct economic benefits for the state. This innovative transportation system is poised to influence Florida’s travel and workforce sectors while providing a sustainable transit alternative. Equally noteworthy are its environmental benefits, including a reduction in highway and urban congestion and a yearly decrease of approximately 72,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This system is projected to take over three million cars off the road yearly.
In 2022, Brightline introduced a concierge service, Brightline+, allowing seamless station-to-destination connectivity through the Brightline app. Passengers can effortlessly plan their entire journey, including add-on options available during the booking process. Mobility choices at the Orlando Station are tailored to visitors’ unique needs, with new Brightline+ offerings like MEARS shuttles, Uber rideshare, and Avis car rentals. Upon booking, guests receive a confirmation email with instructions on adding extras, such as parking, checked baggage, and Brightline+ mobility options, available closer to their travel date.

Recently, Brightline unveiled an enhanced digital experience for guests, featuring a revamped website and native mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. With a modern backend system, intuitive design, and additional upgraded features, this digital journey streamlines the booking process, making it fast, reliable, and frictionless.

Brightline’s Orlando expansion marks a significant milestone, with ambitious plans to redefine high-speed rail in the U.S. via Brightline West on the West Coast. Brightline West will become the nation’s first true high-speed rail network, operating fully electric trains at up to 200 mph. Groundbreaking is scheduled by the end of 2023, connecting millions of travelers between Los Angeles and Las Vegas annually.
Brightline is America’s sole modern, eco-conscious, higher-speed rail service provider. Currently serving Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, Brightline has been lauded by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in Travel and featured in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2023 Hot List for revolutionizing travel. With a guest-centric approach designed to transform train travel and reduce road congestion, Brightline plans to extend its award-winning service to additional city pairs and congested corridors across the nation, addressing routes that are too close to fly and too far to drive. Immediate plans include connecting Las Vegas to Southern California.

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9 Comments on "Brightline Begins High-Speed Rail Service Between Orlando And Miami"

  1. Slow and expensive. So much money and time to offer a service that matches the competition, doesn’t beat them. It’s just shortsighted.

  2. Their money, their time. I wish their investment had produced a better product and not something slow and expensive to the customer.

  3. Concerned Citizen | September 26, 2023 at 9:00 pm | Reply

    Well their success, even within the last three years and without the Orlando station online, tells a different story.

    By commensurate competition you mean air travel, enjoy your Spirit Airlines flight from hell. By better project you meant a true HSR on grade-separated track, assuming it broke ground, would have been a train to nowhere in order to acquire all the appropriate rights-of-way i.e., the pork project former Governor Scott canceled.

  4. Good for them.
    The competition includes air travel – not by Spirit, which i have never used – and driving. And I never said “better project”. As a consumer, it is cheaper, faster and less cumbersome for me to go to Orlando via other means.
    Maybe for you it is not, go for it.
    That simple.

    • To assume that the people using the train are choosing this over options that, in your OPINION, are “cheaper, faster, and less cumbersome” seems to me to be based on unsound reasoning. Why would they do that? Obviously, other people don’t share your opinion. I still don’t understand why you are so concerned about how a company spends it’s own money. Especially when to date the business seems to be meeting expectations, in spite of a pandemic. All without the massive government direct subsidies like those for air transportation and highway infrastructure. The gas taxes cover only a fraction of the total direct subsidies to road infrastructure. In my opinion, Federal, state, and local transportation authorities should be compelled to set up a system where travel on roads is paid for in full based on each driver’s use of roads. The farther you drive and the heavier your vehicle, the more you pay. Get rid of the gas tax.

      • Concerned Citizen | October 1, 2023 at 12:00 pm | Reply

        So be it, if he’s fine with “other means,” as in spending more time at airport security checkpoints than the flight itself, or waiting in standstill traffic because rubbernecking over some car off to the shoulder of a freeway.

        Maybe he’s angry he can’t jaywalk anymore across railway tracks that maybe only saw a couple trains a day?

  5. I look forward to trying the Brightline to Orlando to visit family. We no longer drive any distance, and a plane will take a similar amount of time with TSA.

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