First Look: Brightline’s Basecamp

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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Brightline on March 27 showcased Basecamp, the private-sector passenger railroad’s 135,805-square-foot state-of-the-art train maintenance facility in Orlando, Fla., which has begun commissioning new Brightline trains and servicing existing trains.

According to Brightline, the $100 million facility, which broke ground in 2019 and was completed in 2022, sits on 62 acres south of Orlando International Airport and will ramp up to a 24/7 operation when the railroad opens its Orlando Station this year, employing 175 highly skilled engineers, conductors, technicians and inspectors.

In recognition of the facility’s commencement of full service, Brightline President Patrick Goddard, Executive President Infrastructure Michael Cegelis and Vice President/Chief Mechanical Officer Tom Rutkowski led a behind-the-scenes tour of Basecmp and discussed operations related to the facility.

“Today we welcome you to the most advanced train maintenance facility in the Southeast and I would venture to say the country—Brightline’s Basecamp,” shared Goddard as he welcomed members of the media to tour the site. This impressive facility was developed by Brightline and is an essential component to our service from Miami to Orlando launching this year.”

Brightline’s Basecamp features cutting-edge technology, including:

  • Truck Shop: where coach and locomotive trucks can be disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt for additional use.
  • Drop Table: a 25-foot-deep drop table that operates between the heavy maintenance track and the truck shop and can swap out trucks quickly to get trains back into service.
  • Parts Warehouse: an 11,000-square-foot, three-story tall parts shop.
  • Wheel True Facility: where wheels are cut or “trued” back to their original profile allowing for maximum ride quality and performance.
  • Two Fueling Islands and a Sand Island: an 80,000-gallon biodiesel fuel farm.
  • Train Wash Facility: can wash a four-coach train and two locomotives in 15 minutes, using 75% recycled water.

The facility will also include:

  • The ability to service up to 16 trains at one time in its undercarriage pits.
  • Multiple overhead cranes, including a 30-ton crane capable of removing 30,000-pound engines.
  • Storage tracks that extend the length of more than two football fields.

“This world-class facility has everything under one roof to maintain our trains, will provide highly paid highly skilled jobs to the region and will be a bustling hub for train maintenance, maintaining eight of our 10 trains here nightly,” shared Cegelis during the briefing. “Currently we are more than 90% complete with our construction to Orlando and once completed, we will follow a rigorous certification and verification process. We are closer than ever to connect Florida with high-speed rail.”

As construction of Brightline’s $2.7 billion Orlando Extension continues, the railroad recently made history as the fastest train in Florida, reaching speeds of 130 mph during testing between Orlando International Airport and Cocoa, Fla. The Orlando Station, which is set to open this year, will “revolutionize travel in America and continue Brightline’s vision of offering a guest-first travel experience connecting two of the most congested city pairs in the nation, whisking passengers between South and Central Florida in about three hours,” Brightline stated in a release.

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