Orlando-To-Miami Train Moves Forward As Potential Connector Between Central & South Florida

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An Orlando-to-Miami train, the potential passenger rail connector between Central Florida and South Florida, has just passed another crucial milestone. It has received approval to sell $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds.

The train will run from Orlando and only have stops in West Palm and Miami. Although it is not a “high-speed train,” at 125 miles per hour (a train needs to be 150 to be called high-speed), they want it to make its run between the cities in 3 hours. So, limiting the stops is one way to achieve that. However, John Brown and others do wish to have other stops — and plenty of choices to get on and off. The problem, Dan Tracy explains, is that a diesel-powered train does not have the capacity for acceleration and deceleration as an electric-powered train does. Thus, the operators must have relatively few stops on the 235-miles line — to keep up speeds close to 125 mph and hit its target travel time.

After winning the pivotal approval of a state board on August 5th, the 235-mile All Aboard Florida train route will be able toto sell $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds at a low-interest rate.

os-all-aboard-station-jpg-20150731 (2)
Rendering of All Aboard Florida train station, via Orlando Sentinel

This 3-0 decision by the Florida Development Finance Commission is expected to swiftly enable the Coral Gables–based operation to get trains running in South Florida, with the estimate being by early 2017. Following soon after, they expect the trains running into Orlando by late 2017.

Tracy points out that “the vote capped a contentious eight-hour public hearing in downtown Orlando attended by several hundred people, many of whom lined up to speak for and against the proposal by the company that traces its lineage to the state’s original train builder, Henry Flagler.”

Still, more than half were decidedly in favor of the train. Florida is too car dependent (and not very aware quite yet of the healthier electric motorcar). There are ridiculous numbers of automobiles in Florida compared to better options, like reliable mass transit.

However, the discussion was apparently passionate with opponents and proponents from all over the state. Tracy reports, “Opponents came mostly from the Treasure Coast counties of Martin, Indian River, and St. Lucie. They did not have a stop and vowed to continue fighting the train though it was not clear what they intended to do next.”

All Aboard Florida expects to run 32 passenger carriers a day, in addition to the 14 freight trains that typically use the tracks. Mike Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida, quieted complaints and addressed anxiety. He presented information that the fears are unfounded. Tracy explained that Reininger presented a 40-minute presentation to the board, setting the record straight that the All Aboard Florida trains “typically would clear intersections within 45 seconds. You wait at traffic lights longer than that,” he said.


Thus, the state board approved All Aboard Florida’s request for tax-exempt status, since the train will serve the public (in various ways). They project it will also give a big economic boost to the region. And it should be noted that the state does not back the bonds. It is All Aboard Florida that handles repaying them.

Tracy continues by noting that essentially all of Central Florida local, state, and congressional leaders were in favor of All Aboard Florida. “I support 100 percent All Aboard Florida. I am a railroad lover,” said U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville.

US Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, said the train “brings jobs to Florida. It reduces traffic, which affects us all.”

Fares will be close to $100 one way. It sounds as if some smart city influences are also in the works, with All Aboard Florida expecting to make money by developing around its three South Florida stations. That includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The vision is for apartments, office space, retail shops, and restaurants.

And forget the fuss of getting to the airport. With $213 million secured by the Orlando airport, it will build a station about a mile south of the main terminal. Orlando Sentinel reports, “The stop would handle All Aboard Florida and two other systems, including a proposed SunRail link.”

Besides being much safer, and more relaxing, the trains would take a bit less time than by motorcar. About three hours to travel from Miami to Orlando is about a half-hour shorter than by car. Orlando Sentinel continues, “The trains would roll on improved freight lines the company already owns along the East Coast. The train would turn west at Cocoa to get to the airport.”

In an earlier article I wrote, “Miami To Orlando Rail May Mark Promising Return of Private US Passenger Rail,” I noted that there is a grand theme to this with a deep historical context. It is over 30 years since a private intercity passenger rail line has operated in the United States. There is an absence of fresh services for intercity rail further back than 30 years. Florida, which got a big population boost from rail projects many decades ago, now has very limited rail options.

Supporters of this new transit project say this is a substantial step in Miami’s quest to arrive as one the world’s great urban centers.

Related Stories:

Chicago High-Speed Rail Line Gets Funded

Texas Bullet Train Announcement Surprises Critics

UK’s Battery Electric Train Completes First Test

New Train Speed Record Set In Japan… Twice In One Week

1st Solar Tunnel to Help Power High-Speed Trains Electric Train

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor.

Cynthia Shahan has 946 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan

6 thoughts on “Orlando-To-Miami Train Moves Forward As Potential Connector Between Central & South Florida

  • Well it won’t be electric, but still better than people driving if they can put people in the seats.

    Strange that they only want 4 stations. The train route goes directly east from Orlando to the coast, and then down the coast. Over 2/3’s of the route has no stations. I can see why the counties above Miami/Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach would be upset they didn’t get a station. With 32 trains a day planned, they could at least have some trains stop in those areas while still making the ride faster for people who desire that on certain routes. It also seems that it would benefit the train people as much as it would the counties without stops. But it is being run by a real estate developer, so the idea may be to use the train to push people to where they are developing or have developed.

  • European high-speed rail lines have zero intersections with roads. They are too dangerous at 300 km/hr.

    I’m pushing my simple idea to reduce the cost of electrification: small batteries in the trainsets, enough to handle stations and maintenance sidings. You only need catenaries for the main track.

    • James, I honestly think you could start ~10 companies and succeed with them. Musk-like potential. 😀

  • This project is only “clean” in the fantasyland of the developers. There are 342 at- grade crossings that will experience 32 additional closings per day along the densely populated east coast of Florida. That will be 10944 additional traffic stops with cars idling per day. These are real cars with real emissions, not the imaginary cars that will be removed from road.

    • Not to mention, (if it is anything like the commuter train near me) there will be 10944 more times a day that a massively loud train horn will sound to the displeasure of those within earshot.

      • My parents live in St. Lucie County, I grew up in Port St. Lucie. There are a lot of really pissed off people who feel completely ignored regarding this rail or are pissed off at Martin County and Indian River county residence and their elected officials. Like you pointed out It will cause a lot of traffic issues… It will give 0 economic growth to the area. At least when people drive they stop along the way and eat,get gas, shop… Why are people in st Lucie county pissed at their neighbors? A main problem the developers faced was with their choice in the train depot/stop to service these complainers. The developer wanted to put a stop in St. Lucie country, a poor country with little to no industry, which is central to the complaining counties… AKA: Indian River and Martin County residence threw a fit because they didn’t want to go to the “poor” county to get on the train… Lol. Well they shot themselves in the foot. The developers threw their hands up in the air and said fine, no one gets a stop if you can’t even play nice with each other. Source: my Dad… Lol take it for that. I don’t have any links or anything.

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