If you live in South or Central Florida, then you’re probably aware of the Virgin (former Brightline) Trains that started making their rounds from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach back in January 2018. In May of 2018, lines south to Miami opened up, and extensions from West Palm Beach to Orlando are planned to open in late 2021 or early 2022. While the plan was always to have a station at Orlando International Airport (MCO), it appears that for us Floridian Disney fans looking to hitch a ride north, some extra pixie dust has been sprinkled on the train tracks.
According to a breaking piece from the Orlando Sentinel, a station at Walt Disney World, as well as a link with SunRail’s Meadow Wood station are set to open at about the same time as Virgin Train USA’s Orlando airport station. “It’s our expectation to get it done and to build out to Disney,” Virgin Trains president Patrick Goddard said about the lines. Construction is expected to take between 30 to 36 months. And so you know they’re serious, Goddard also mentioned that Virgin Trains signed a letter of intent with Disney last year.
“We’ve had an excellent relationship with Walt Disney World. They are big supporters of our project.”
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the venture-capital Virgin Group said about the Orlando line:
“Orlando is very important to us. Connecting Orlando to Miami is a real dream. It will transform the lives of many people.”
Wondering how long it’ll take? The Cocoa-Orlando line is proposed to operate at high speeds of up to 125 mph. From Miami to West Palm Beach, trains will operate at speeds of up to 79 mph. From West Palm to Cocoa, it’s a max of 110 mph. That means a trip from Miami to Orlando could be made in under 3 hours! (For reference, driving takes about 4 hours, and flying from Fort Lauderdale technically takes under an hour, but between boarding and screening, can take about the same time as driving.)
Additional stations planned include a link to Tampa, and according to company officials, construction will possibly begin while the tracks from West Palm Beach to Orlando are still under construction.
(Featured Image courtesy of Virgin Trains USA.)