Review: Brightline Florida / Virgin Trains USA

Filed Under: Travel

I think I’ve just found the new most economical way to get drunk on Saturday nights… and it involves riding the train.

Yesterday I took Brightline for the first time, and while my enthusiasm for transportation is typically limited to airplanes, Brightline might have just made me a train enthusiast. Choo choo!

What Is Brightline?

Brightline is an inter-city rail system between Miami and West Palm Beach, and it makes a stop in Fort Lauderdale. I know, that probably sounds like the least exciting thing ever (at least it did to me).

Brightline began operating in January 2018, and is the only privately owned and operated inter-city passenger railroad service in the United States.

Brightline has also rebranded as Virgin Trains USA, so it’s the only Virgin Trains system in the US.

Note that Virgin Trains USA is looking to expand beyond West Palm Beach. They currently have plans to add service to Orlando by 2022, and beyond that are looking to add service to Tampa and beyond.

I can’t even begin to express how much I’d love that, given that my parents live in Tampa. But I’m highly skeptical about that ever happening, unfortunately.

Why We Booked Brightline

Ford and I live in Miami, while my mother-in-law lives in West Palm Beach. So when we’re in town we try to see her for dinner with some frequency. Sometimes she’ll visit us, while other times we visit her.

Usually we’ll just drive to West Palm Beach, which is about a 75 minute drive from where we live.

Whenever she visits us she takes Brightline, and she raves about the service. Up until now I’ve almost found it a bit strange. Every time we pick her up there it’s the same story — she has a huge smile on her face and says “you really have to try Brightline, it’s the most amazing thing ever. They are so friendly. The trains are so nice. The station is beautiful.”

And I kinda just looked at her a bit weird, because I’ve never taken a train in the US that didn’t suck, and also because it looks like a basic inter-city rail. Well, now I finally get what all the hype is about.

Booking Tickets With Brightline & Pricing

Brightline has two classes of service — Smart and Select. What’s the difference?

  • Smart is described as a business class experience with 19″ wide seats in a 2-2 configuration, power ports and Wi-Fi, and food and drinks for purchase
  • Select is described as a first class experience with 21″ wide seats in a 1-2 configuration, access to a lounge, pre-boarding, complimentary food and drinks, and more

Brightline is also quite affordable, all things considered. The pricing is dynamic, but in general it seems to start at $15 for Smart, and $30 for Select. Note that sometimes it’s a bit more expensive, but I’ve never seen Select cost more than $45.

For what it’s worth, our last minute ticket booked yesterday cost $35 per person, though I managed to find a 10% off coupon code, so ended up paying $31.50 per person per direction.

The Brightline App Is Terrible

Speaking of the booking process, I should mention that Brightline’s app is really bad (and it seems I’m not alone, because it has terrible reviews in the app store). It’s pretty, but not functional:

  • I tried to change a ticket (which should be easy), but got an error message
  • The mobile boarding passes that they show are actually too small to scan, so I had to take a screenshot and then zoom in to use it
  • You can’t actually save mobile boarding passes to your wallet (or anywhere else), so every time you have to rely on internet connectivity
  • Many of the buttons are too small to actually push

It’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but still worth pointing out, in my opinion.

Brightline Select Review

Okay, now lets get into the review of the actual experience — first I’ll talk about the station experience, and then the onboard experience.

Virgin Miami Central Station & Brightline Select Lounge

Brightline trains leave from Virgin Miami Central station, located at 600 NW 1st Avenue, not far from Brickell. For booking Select tickets we received a voucher for one day of free parking, or a $5 Lyft credit.

I’m a bit confused by Brightline’s branding at the moment. I’m not sure if they’re actively transitioning from Brightline to Virgin branding, or if they’ll just continue to promote the two side-by-side.

The station’s exterior clearly said “Virgin Miami Central,” while all the other branding was for Brightline, with a lot of yellow colors.

Virgin Miami Central station exterior

Anyway, who really cares about the branding, because the station was beautiful. It’s unspeakable how much this rail station puts airports to shame.

We followed the signage towards the escalators, as the departure level is one floor up.

Virgin Miami Central station ground floor

You had to scan your tickets to enter, and then there was a quick security check, though only for those with bags. There was nice seating for all guests, as well as a cafe with food and beverages available for purchase.

Brightline station Miami seating

Brightline station Miami

Brightline station Miami cafe

Since we were traveling in Select we had access to the Select Lounge, so we followed the signage in that direction.

Brightline station Miami

You just had to scan your boarding pass, and then the gate opened to admit you.

Brightline Select Lounge Miami entrance

What a cute lounge — this is nicer than just about any Admirals Club! The lounge was large and quiet, had great views, and had several different sitting areas.

There were couches, there were workstations, and there’s even a conference room you can reserve for free (buying a Brightline ticket might just be the cheapest way to get a conference room in the city!).

Brightline Select Lounge Miami seating

Brightline Select Lounge Miami seating

Brightline Select Lounge Miami seating

Brightline Select Lounge Miami business center

Brightline Select Lounge Miami conference room

They also have complimentary food and drinks all day. Since we were on an afternoon service, they had cold cuts and cheese, as well as a variety of bread.

Brightline Select Lounge food & drinks

Brightline Select Lounge food

Brightline Select Lounge food

There was also self serve coffee, soft drinks, water, beer, and wine (there’s no hard liquor in the lounge, but there is onboard).

Brightline Select Lounge coffee

Brightline Select Lounge drinks

Brightline Select Lounge drinks

There were monitors in the lounge showing the departure times, and also indicating when boarding would start.

Brightline departures monitor

We were on a 4:10PM train, and boarding started at 4PM, with Select passengers being invited to board first.

Brightline escalators to tracks

This required going up another set of escalators to the train tracks. The signage towards the Select car was good as well.

Brightline Select boarding

Brightline train

Brightline Select Review

The Brightline Select car has 46 seats, and as mentioned above, seats are in a 1-2 configuration.

The train was bright, modern, and clean.

Brightline Select cabin

Brightline Select cabin

There are a variety of seating options available. Most seats are either forward or rear facing, with no “conference” table.

Brightline Select seats

Brightline Select seats

The standard seats have both big trays that can be extended, as well as smaller trays you can extend if you just want somewhere to put a drink.

Brightline Select seats tray table

Each seat also has a power outlet.

Brightline Select seats outlets

There are also 12 seats that face a table, which seems to me like the ideal place to sit. Ford and I selected table seating across from one another in the section with just one seat on the side.

Brightline Select seats

For these seats the outlets pop out from the table.

Brightline Select seats outlets

Brightline does have complimentary Wi-Fi that’s easy to connect to, and there’s not even a log-in page. However, speeds were slow and I found it was faster just to tether (which I would have done either way, since I desperately need to use data when in the US).

The Select car had a bathroom, which was spotless, to the point that the toilet paper was folded in a perfect triangle. Is this Singapore Airlines or a US inter-city rail?!

Brightline Select bathrooms

Brightline Select bathrooms

Select has a dedicated attendant, and on both of our trips they couldn’t have been friendlier. The attendants wear sport coats and are dressed rather stylishly, which you wouldn’t usually expect from a train-conductor-type.

The second we departed the attendant began the service. First there was a warm towel.

Brightline Select warm towel

Then there was a snack basket.

Brightline Select snack basket

Next a cart was rolled down the aisle with drinks of choice. The drink menu read as follows:

I had a glass of sparkling wine, which was Charles Lafitte and surprisingly not terrible. Ford had a tequila soda.

Brightline Select drinks

We were also offered our choice of three “bento boxes,” as they were described, which contained pita, olives, cold cuts, cheese, etc.

Brightline Select drinks & snacks

Brightline Select snacks

After the attendant finished her first round of drinks she came through the cabin again to offer refills… and this was all during the sub-30 minute trip to Fort Lauderdale!

Then from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach was another 45 minutes, and we were offered yet another round of drinks. I decided to have a tequila soda as well.

Brightline Select drinks

And once she finished that service we were offered a fourth round of drinks. Like what the actual hell?!

As far as the views go, Florida isn’t exactly the most scenic place aside from the coast, so don’t expect much in the way of views (this isn’t like a coastal train in California)…

Brightline view

…then again, I’d say my view wasn’t too bad.

Ford not hating Brightline!

Both of our trains departed on-time and arrived ahead of schedule.

Would I Take Brightline Again?

I loved Brightline, but would I take it again? We live about a 75 minutes drive from my mother-in-law’s home in West Palm Beach. Meanwhile Brightline takes 75 minutes, and then it’s about a 10 minute drive from our home to the station, and a five minute drive from the station to her home.

That doesn’t factor in needing to leave a bit of a buffer, how long it takes to order Uber, and it also doesn’t factor in that it’s nice to have a car when you get there, rather than needing to Uber.

Brightline was so much more enjoyable than driving, because Florida interstates aren’t exactly exciting places to drive, unless you have a lawyer billboard fetish, or get a thrill out of seeing just how bad drivers can possibly be.

So, would I take Brightline again? If I were going for more than just dinner and/or during the day, I would probably drive, because it’s faster and I’ll have a car when I arrive. However, if I was going for dinner and wanted to get kinda turnt, I’d take Brightline again any day. And frankly given how much fun Brightline was, I might just have to do that more often…

Brightline Bottom Line

Brightline is an absolutely incredible rail service. This is unlike any other train travel in the US — the stations are gorgeous, the trains are beautiful, every Brightline employee I interacted with was friendly and seemed to enjoy their job, and the trains both arrived ahead of schedule.

I’m only slightly kidding when I say that if Ford were out of town I might just spend my Saturday nights driving up and down the coast on Brightline, because I don’t think there’s a cheaper happy hour in town.

That being said, I find this whole operation to be a complete head-scratcher, and imagine they must be hemorrhaging money? The Select cars on both of our trains had a handful of people in them, not to mention the pricing is so low to begin with.

I get there might be demand during sporting events and Art Basel, but is there otherwise a big enough market to sustain this? I really want the concept to succeed, but I wonder how big this market is, let alone the market all the way to Orlando.

Is this like so many companies nowadays, which are all about building market share at a loss in hopes of being an attractive acquisition target? But who wants to acquire a train service anyway?

But seriously, Brightline is incredible, and I can’t recommend taking them enough.

Has anyone else had the chance to take Brightline? What was your experience like? Can anyone make sense of the economics here?

  1. Brightline is the equivalent of a European or Asian regional train, but has the stations and on-board service you’d expect to find on a European or Asian high-speed train. It’s almost like they know they can’t deliver speed or efficiency, so they feel the need to try and compensate with over-the-top stations and service. At the same time, the catering is laughably low-end American — cube cheese and plastic cups, for example — and it’s almost a parody of high-end service.

  2. Errr Lucky…. Are you pulling our leg or did you actually not notice that you can fold down the large tray table? I mean just look at the picture????

  3. Lived in Miami for the first 18 years of my life, and have been fortunate like you Lucky to travel around the world and back a few times in the last 12 years. For some reason this review really resonated as you applied your global lens to our small initiatives in what is, ironically, the wealthiest country in the world.

  4. My wife uses the Brightline/Virgin service on her commute from Fort Lauderdale to Miami and it has been a life changer. She used to use the Tri-rail service, but it’s dependability and slow local type service was a detriment. The one thing you should mention is that with traffic on I-95 or alternatively the Turnpike that 75 minute drive is only on a good day, a really good day!

  5. @ James — You’re totally correct, of course, and I think that largely comes down to relative expectations. The US has awful rail infrastructure, so of course I’m viewing this experience through a US lens. You’re also right that the offerings aren’t particularly high end, though the pricing is incredible, so from a value perspective…

    Would it be nice if they had better wine and snacks? Sure. But I don’t think people would be willing to pay for it. And in that regard I think they’ve figured out the market pretty well. To quote the lady sitting next to me, “I’m going to be fancy and order champagne,” and she seemed very happy with her choice. 😉

  6. @Lucky — Good review.

    Anyone: I was confused by this bit: “… water, beer, and wine (there’s no liquor in the lounge, but there is onboard).” I thought liquor included beer and wine. I looked through a few dictionaries and can’t quite tell if there’s a difference here between British and American English. It seems widely used as a mass (uncountable) noun outside the US, but often countable (“a liquor”) in the US. Although Lucky used the mass one above. And where does “hard liquor” fit in (definitely an American expression) – doesn’t that presuppose the rest isn’t? Can anyone shed some light on this for me…

  7. The problem with living in the US and Australia is that trains in general are awful. Long distance trains are a way of life in Europe, and parts of Asia (love the bullet train and can even cope with trains in India). I did the “Ghan” in Australia. It was really expensive for a decent class and IMO total waste of money (although we made it fun).

  8. “Is this Singapore Airlines or a US inter-city rail?!”

    well said, Ben! Great and useful review of a fantastic service!

  9. Ford looked a bit tipsy after all these drinks 😉

    As others have said, this is really just what people all over the world are used to on their HSR lines. It’s said that a standard train and service elsewhere becomes so notable In this county

  10. I question the economics as well. I never see a train full when I take it. Also it’s only practical if you are going to and from areas where stations are. For example, I live in Boca Raton, so a Brightline station is 30 miles north or south and if I am going to say North Miami, I am already driving half way, it makes more sense to drive.

    Also the other benefits is that it only makes one stop unlike TriRail. There are plans to open stops at the Port of Miami, Aventura, Boca Raton, (great for me), potentially Delray Beach or Deerfield Beach as well. Then going up to Orlando, possibly a stop in Port Saint Luci, then in Orlando, the station is built at MCO, not closest to everything, then it will go to Disney (MCO to Disney can be an economical market given how bad traffic) then to Tampa. The point is that if all is complete, the train can make like 5+ stops between Miami and Tampa. And while stops are quick, it will add to time of high speed direct rail.

    Also, another thing I noticed is they do not check tickets on board. So I have seen people book and pay for a ticket to Fort Lauderdale and then just stay on till West Palm Beach. And if the seat stays empty nobody notices and if not they just say wrong seat and move to empty. If you don’t check a bag it works.

  11. As with many ventures in Florida, Brightline is a long-term real estate play. Read up on parent company Florida East Coast Industries and their original founder, Henry Flagler, and it will make a lot more sense than viewing it in a vacuum.

  12. @malc
    In the US you’ll often see the phrase “beer, wine, and liquor.” In this context “liquor” generally means anything with a higher alcohol content. There are US states in which you can buy beer and wine at the grocery store but have to go to a Liquor Store to purchase whiskey, tequila, gin, etc.

  13. GoAmtrak— I had the same thought.

    New transit corridors are followed by development and increased property values. I’d bet the company own or controls significant land holdings near each station.

  14. As an Orlandoan, I’ll be be a regular customer when Virgin/Brightline starts service up here. No more monotonous three hour drives on the turnpike?!? Sign me up!

  15. As mentioned, it hinges on real estate. They owned and developed all three south florida stations and adjacent property. They actually owned all the ROW and most of the tracks were operational as well. So costs for anything along the east coast of FL is much lower than most rail corridors. To Orlando will require much more capital cost per mile for the portion of the route going inland, and then any extension to Tampa will really be expensive due to costly ROW acquisition as well. The saving grace is that an extension to Tampa would be relatively short and tap into another huge market.

    Brightline already sold the office development next to the Miami Central station for a decent profit, although I imagine they would have preferred to hold if they didn’t need the cash infusion.

    It’s still a very valid question whether this business model will work, but the real estate development is the missing piece to answer your question.

  16. “Ford and I selected table seating across from one another in the section with just one seat on the side.”

    When there are only two of you, you sit across from EACH other not ONE another. Correct?

  17. There are many reasons why train travel in the US isn’t at the level of Europe (primarily lack of government subsidies and density of development). And no train is going to be like SG F.

    Admittedly, my experience with amtrak is entirely limited to the NEC and the DC-Chicago train, but I’m not sure why you consider the experience so sucky. I think Acela first class is competitive with global standards, and regular Acela and even standard regional trains have comfortable seats with power plugs and wifi. While NY Penn and Baltimore Penn desperately need renovation, Union Station DC and 30th St in Philly are beautiful. For the points-inclined, Amtrak has the most generous revenue-based redemption system I know of.

  18. When was it that “available for purchase” became a polysyllabic substitute of “for sale”? As I recall, it was when airlines stopped serving free food and needed a polite way of saying “you will pay for this.” And now the term has migrated to a train station cafe. The English language — don’t you love it?

  19. Is it me or does that tequila look very clear to be añejo? Anyway, The train looks amazing! Wish we had something like it up here in Boston. And in my opinion 4 rounds Aviation Gin is very much worth the cost of the ticket.

  20. A great example of privately-operated vs. government run passenger rail service in the USA.

    Note the tremendous difference for first class in the selection of drinks, eats, and snacks-in the depot lounges, as well as on-board the Virgin/Brightline trains.

    Inevitably, Virgin will assume the market in waiting between Miami-Orlando/Tampa; as well as successfully expand into the wide open Las Vega-LA market.

    Ironically, now even the well run federal railways of Europe must now compete with private operators.

  21. Lets be clear on Virgin and Branson – he is no better than Trump and the Trump brand. He will license his name to anything he thinks he can make money on. So he doesn’t own this, Brightline, are leveraging the Virgin name. If its anything like the UK Virgin will stick around and if its profitable will stay, if not will be gone faster than one of the trains. Also the Virgin trains in the UK, while better than many still operate overcrowded, often dirty and delayed.

  22. >The mobile boarding passes that they show are actually too small to scan, so I had to take a screenshot and then zoom in to use it
    >You can’t actually save mobile boarding passes to your wallet (or anywhere else), so every time you have to rely on internet connectivity

    But… you took a screenshot of the pass. Which means you could save it to your phone. The only way you wouldn’t be able to is if it generated a new boarding pass that expired after every time you loaded it, which I’ve never heard of before.

  23. To my American friends, a very warm welcome to the 21st century. We’ve been expecting you 🙂

    No, seriously, I’ve been a fan of this ever since they announced service. I really wish them success, as a good train system benefits everyone.
    I have yet to try Brightline, though I did travel on Amtrak on several occasions when visiting the US and I found it perfectly OK. I really enjoyed the Acela Express, I liked Pacific Surfliner and even the NE Regional does its job nicely. I understand this is different on the many truly long-haul routes, but my experience with American trains is predominantly good. I just wish there were more. Hopefully we’ll see them rise in popularity as they did elsewhere in the world recently.

  24. @Lucky… It was Brightline. It is transitioning to Virgin.

    The sad thing about Brightline/Virgin… it is worthless for those of us up north traveling to MIA airport. The Miami station requires a trip on a metro bus to get to MIA airport. So by the time you add in getting to the West Palm Station, then busing from the Miami station to MIA airport, you are better off driving.

    Trirail could decide to destroy Brightline/Virgin by offering an upper-class experience with lounges. Get dropped off right at the airport. Sure there are more stops right now, but that could also be fixed with an express service. This would give people more options to pickup Trirail and get on the express at any of the airport stations.

  25. @Tom Smith: I took the Peoplemover to Tri-Rail to MIA in December last year. No bus involved.

    @Lucky: Unlike European trains which you can catch in the 60 seconds before they are scheduled to depart (something I have done many times), you MUST be at the BrightLine station something like (don’t recall exactly) 20 minutes in advance or they won’t even sell you a ticket for the next train. I was flabbergasted when this happened to me. I spent a long time talking to management and then I was treated super nicely on the next train out they could put me on.

  26. So for $30 you can drop into a station, make yourself some deli sandwiches, knock over a few beers – then when you get bored with that, get a free train ride if you’re still sober with moore booze. Awesome!

  27. If you’ll pardon the expression, in the US, you have to sort of “train” the market. So many places in the US have not had rail service to speak of for so long that its a novelty. I really wish Brightline all the success in the world largely because I would like to see the US get back the passenger rail infrastructure it had at one point.

  28. Like Steven L, I am puzzled by your comment about the issue of being unable to save boarding passes to your phone wallet. If you have a screen shot (as you indicated you did), then Internet connectivity would seem not to be an issue.

    Am I missing something?

  29. Let the Good Times Roll! While people are enjoying the luxuries of riding the Brightline trains, 32 people have been killed on their tracks. Experts recommended last year they needed to build more pedestrian barriers, fencing and walkable bridges at strategic points along the tracks but the corporation doesn’t have the cash. Now they’re going after fed and state TAX dollars to finance much needed safety measures. Can we say – building on the cheap?! And they’ll go OVER 100 MPH through 4 counties on their way to the Orlando airport. Now they’re trying to become the Elite commuter rail (stealing market share from Tri Rail) where you can have a glass of wine on the way home from work. Many people who’ve died can’t afford a car, let alone a ticket to ride, so they walk across the tracks. 32 DEAD and no one is talking about it.

  30. @Susan M– I was wondering how long it would take for the local NIMBYs to show up on this thread. It’s unfortunate that trespassers (especially motorists) keep insisting on encroaching on railroad property. These folks’ selfish actions put others in danger and cause immense grief for their loved ones AND for the train crews who are traumatized by these violent incidents.

    But it seems even more selfish for nearby property owners to use the decedents’ graves as soapboxes to push a truly elitist agenda of preventing Floridians and visitors from having the freedom to travel without a car. This railroad was there long before basically anything else in South Florida, and they’ve significantly upgraded the grade crossing hardware (and the new line to Orlando will essentially be a sealed corridor). Ignorant people still insist on thwarting the safety measures.

    If you care about saving lives, please do the following:
    1) Insist that your own towns create safe, complete streets that slow cars down and allow people to walk and bicycle with dignity.
    2) Volunteer for Operation Lifesaver to educate folks about the dangers of trespassing on the railroad.
    3) Advocate for anything that gives people alternatives to driving, by far the most life-endangering activity anyone will ever do in their daily lives.

    But I’m not holding my breath as your true agenda seems pretty transparent.

  31. Actually, the trains don’t go anywhere near my home or the homes of thousands who recognize the dangers. Ah, yes, I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring up “complete Streets”, Smart Streets, Sustainable Communities memes. The grand plan for local and regional governments to tell you where you can live, drive, work and go – where, when, how. Forget if taxpayers don’t want this top down control and use of their hard earned money – just do it. BTW, you’d be surprised to know that building and operating Brightline creates more CO2 than taking cars off the streets will save. They missed their 2019 ridership projections by 50% – that’s how many people are leaving their cars at home.

  32. Go Amtrak, let me add that we have NO PROBLEM with higher speed or high speed rail. We just believe the 2 studies done before Brightline that said the best place for true HSR is from West Palm west along the Turnpike or I-95 to Orlando. The 100 year old Flagler line was NEVER recommended for trains going over 79 mph. But then you have no clue about the facts of this nightmare – you just want to swill your wine once a year when you ride to the Orlando airport – if you even live in FL. Frankly, you’re probably paid to troll these blogs.

  33. S Mehiel and Susan M, I agree with you on the dangers but I believe the responsibility lies with the cities and communities that have built up around the railroad since it began operating nearly a century ago.

    Btw, Brightline speed does not exceed 79 mph in any stretch of its current operation.

  34. Yes, that’s the worst part – 32 dead at 79 mph and they will go through 4 counties at a max of 110 mph crossing 150 streets at grade with no fencing. We will agree to disagree on who is responsible for the costs but I would suggest:
    1) NO ONE, not Flagler, not the elected officials, not the taxpayers ever imagined 110 mph through their coastal towns.
    2) Flagler took credit for being the inspiration for all of the towns along the coast – but if any town wanted to expand they had to cross the tracks. They had no choice, except not grow. They agreed to continue to expand and pay for annual safety crossing equipment maintenance after the 60’s when there was only one track and a modicum of freight. For Indian River County, those charges were in the $500,000 range and will triple with the new equipment required. Those agreements are with FECR NOT Brightline but the increased equipment benefits only Brightline.
    3) Now Brightline wants $millions in federal grants to replace the single track bridges – which we have been saying are a danger for 5 years. This privately operated rail system is costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars.
    There are many more lies they’ve circulated – but this is the tip of the iceberg.

  35. Or move the “Shark! Shark!” Lady to the deadly intersections so the adults are warned of the danger of HSS and get her off the beach. Or hire some reef sharks and lionfish to threaten trespassers away from streets crossing the line and give surfers some peace.

  36. Not to detract from Susan, who makes some very good points, but I have to comment on the idea of pita, olives, cold cuts and cheese in “bento boxes.”

    All of us who have eaten S Florida Japanese food are getting a big laugh out of that.

  37. I regularly commute with Brightline. And yes, the app is bad. Can you believe it actually used to be worse? Yup. Lol. Can do with less of the station’s lemon zest scent…

  38. I suggest everyone go to our website where you can learn more about this higher speed rail system and how they will be sharing the tracks with freight trains hauling Liquefied Natural Gas. Talk about a real experience – wait until there’s an LNG breach! Don’t believe me, the FRA is reviewing a request by the Brightline’s sister company to put LNG on the rails everywhere.

  39. Man, why can’t they run it between Orlando and Miami, or even start from Tampa, touch Orlando and then Miami! I would ride on it in a heartbeat!

  40. Thanks for writing this! We usually fly into FLL (Southwest) and this helps us got to Miami with cocktails in hand! I’ll need to try it for an upcoming trip.

  41. All the way in Ocala, FL here and I am counting the seconds until I have access to this train!!!
    For those of us in Central FL, we don’t really visit Miami often. Truthfully, I have lived here for close to 20 years and I’ve never been to Miami. I’ve been all over the rest of the State and the rest of the U.S. as well. We go to Orlando monthly and sometimes weekly and enjoy our Disney resident passes. But Miami??? The driving, the traffic! We are officially going for the first time at the end of this month because the cruise we wanted didn’t leave from Canaveral. How wonderful to be able to take an Uber to Orlando and get to Miami, no muss, no fuss!
    Enjoying snacks and drinks along the way?!? Sign me up!
    I was asking about plans past Orlando and Tampa and from what I heard, The Villages would make a pretty ideal stop. Considering many in the city can’t or won’t drive, the clientele for the cruise ships and airports alone would keep Virgin/Brightline in business for a very, very long time.

  42. Reading through too many of the comments, I think that the commentators fall into a few categories, namely:
    1 Few respondents are over 30
    2. Most have never been on an interurban train in their life
    3.Most will never even try or intend to use Brightline
    4, Most seem like the people who hate the French, but have never been there, or know any
    5. Almost all emailers appear to be DEBBIE DOWNER’S relatives
    To realize that these are the people who actually know Brightline even exists, says volumes!

  43. Looks like the line could get extended at the Miami end – last month Miami-Dade’s Ports committee backed a deal between Brightline and Miami-Dade for a $16 million train station at PortMiami.

  44. I love Brightline! My husband and I took it from Ft Lauderdale to Miami just for fun. We both have traveled pretty heavily so to say this train station was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen is an understatement. If I found a very well-paying job in Miami (LOL) or West Palm (doable) I would not give commuting by Brightline a 2nd thought.

    I traveled Tri-Rail for 5 years from Hollywood to Delray. I could write a book. Actually, I wrote an illustrated a 2.5 pg full color spread in the Sun Sentinel about it. As a resident of Boston, I had no car and took trains, busses, and just plain walked everywhere. So I know some shady urban trains, including the stations and their colorful sights…and smells. Brightline is like a luxury liner to me.

    Anyway, great review. I highly recommend this service. I have no idea how they make money. Tri-Rail just raised their prices and they were struggling years ago to get govt funding (hence, my Sun Sentinel article). I suppose they’re in in for the long game – and like Elon, I never bet against Branson.

  45. I found this review after I noticed that Allstate Rewards currently sells Brightline gift cards for 25% off. Makes a good deal even better!

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