Brightline test trains begin running next week; here are answers about the higher-speed train

·3 min read

Brightline is on its way. Trains carrying passengers won't be seen on the Treasure Coast for another year, but colorful Brightline trains will begin rolling through Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties Tuesday as the railroad begins test runs.

Brightline previously announced the inaugural run would be Monday.

While residents — including public officials — have come to accept the reality of the railroad coming here, there still are questions. Here are some of the things the Treasure Coast wants to know:

When will the first Brightline train run through the Treasure Coast?

Tuesday. Brightline will run one train daily for the rest of 2022 to help engineers and conductors learn the tracks and territory along the 130 miles between West Palm Beach and Frontenac, an unincorporated community north of Cocoa in Brevard County. Once passenger service begins, Brightline has said, it will run 16 daily roundtrips between Miami and Orlando International Airport.

How can I watch the first train next week?

The railroad hasn't announced when its first northbound train would leave West Palm Beach, so it's unknown when it would pass through downtown Stuart, Fort Pierce and Vero Beach. That announcement might not come until Monday, Brightline says.

Brightline test runs: Daily test runs with empty trains begin next week from West Palm Beach to Cocoa

Treasure Coast traffic: Fort Pierce drivers to encounter detours through Jan. 14 because of Brightline construction

When will Brightline passenger service start?

Early 2023, according to Brightline.

Will Brightline have a station on the Treasure Coast?

Yes, that was guaranteed in its lawsuit settlement with Martin County. But that won't happen until after passenger service begins. No site has been chosen.

A Brightline passenger walks through the Miami station, May 19, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
A Brightline passenger walks through the Miami station, May 19, 2018 in Miami, Florida.

If trains are doing tests, why is there still construction along the rail corridor?

About 70% of the construction is complete, Brightline says. Work continues on crossings and bridges.

Won't Brightline trains be traveling a lot faster than freight trains?

Once passenger service begins, trains will travel 80-110 mph through the Treasure Coast. But during the tests, they will go no faster than 60 mph, the speed of Florida East Coast Railroad freight trains.

Weren't there lawsuits against the railroad?

Indian River and Martin counties tried to block the project in court. Martin County eventually agreed to a settlement with Brightline, but Indian River did not, and ultimately lost its federal lawsuit. It was unsuccessful in getting the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Weren't there delays in the project?

Yes, when the project was announced in March 2012, it was to be completed and running between Miami and Orlando in 2014.

Aren't Brightline trains already running in South Florida?

Yes. Passenger service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale began Jan. 13, 2018, and was extended to Miami May 19, 2018.

What's all this costing?

The entire Brightline system between Miami and Orlando is to cost $4.5 billion. Just the extension from West Palm Beach to the Orlando airport is to cost $2.7 billion.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Brightline testing trains in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River counties

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