Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, currently operates an express, intercity passenger rail service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, FL. This is the only privately owned and operated passenger rail system in the United States. With trains traveling at 79 mph, travelers arrive at and depart from conveniently located downtown stations while avoiding the highly congested highways in Southeast Florida.
The Virgin Trains USA Phase 2 expansion will include a mix of track upgrades and new construction along a 168-mile rail corridor and will allow maximum allowable speeds of 110 mph between West Palm Beach and Cocoa, and 125 mph between Cocoa and Orlando. Once finished, the entire system will be Positive Train Control compliant and travel time between Miami and Orlando will be three hours.
Construction is divided up into four zones:
• Zone 1: 70 acres one mile south of Orlando International Airport (OIA)
• Zone 2: 3.5-mile segment at OIA
• Zone 3: 35-mile segment between OIA and Cocoa
• Zone 4: 129-mile segment between Cocoa and West Palm Beach
The HSR Constructors joint venture is the prime contractor for the north-south segment from Cocoa to West Palm Beach and will build 129 miles of ballasted track within the existing Florida East Coast Railroad (FECR) right-of-way.
Scope will also include the following:
• Shift 56 miles of existing FECR track
• Build 100 miles of new Class VI track
• Rehabilitate 28 miles of siding track
• Install 40 new crossovers and turnouts
• Relocate 40 crossovers and turnouts
• Install a fiber duct bank parallel to the right-of-way
• Upgrade signals for 155 at-grade crossings
• Replace 19 bridges
HSR Constructors will also perform trackwork on the Zone 3 segment as a subcontractor to the prime contractor, Granite Construction. This 35-mile stretch of ballasted double track will be constructed in a new, grade-separated right-of-way, with the northern terminus at the new OIA Intermodal Terminal.
“As the lead of HSR Constructors, Herzog is eager to partner with Virgin Trains USA on this landmark project that will connect central and South Florida’s passenger rail network in unprecedented fashion,” said HSR Constructors’ Executive and Herzog Senior Vice President Scott Norman. “Zone Four is a significant undertaking that will be delivered using HSR Constructors’ collective local and national transit experience. This is an exciting project that will redefine what it means to travel within Florida for locals and visitors.”
For additional information on the project, please see the Virgin Trains USA press release.
Image credit: Brightline