Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline) recently broke ground on 170 miles of new track in the intermodal facility located in the South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport as part of the company’s Phase 2 expansion into Central Florida.
The project encompasses four zones, such as the aforementioned area of the Orlando International Airport and the Virgin Trains Maintenance Facility. The work will put to use 225 million pounds of American steel and include the laying of 490,000 ties and the transportation of 2.35 million tons of granite and limestone via 20,000 railcars. Also, approximately 2 million spikes and bolts will be hammered and put in place over the next 36 months.
Virgin Trains currently operates between Miami and West Palm Beach, but has plans to eventually add Tampa following the Orlando expansion, which is expected to be finished in 2022.
The project between South and Central Florida, Virgin Trains noted, “will generate more than 10,000 jobs and more than $650 million in federal, state and local tax revenue over an eight-year period”—and carries a total private investment of $4 billion. In September 2018, Virgin Trains announced that it has plans to construct and operate a new service connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.
“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 revitalizing our nation’s infrastructure,” said Virgin Trains Chairman and Co-founder of Fortress Investment Group Wes Edens. “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 U.S. that follow this model for connecting city pairs that are too close to fly and too far to drive.”
“Officially launching construction to Orlando marks a huge milestone for Virgin Trains and the realization of our vision to reinvent passenger rail in America,” said Virgin Trains President Patrick Goddard. “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.”