Brightline Train Service Expands To Orlando

Brightline Train Service Expands To Orlando

95

While I’m a huge plane enthusiast, I can’t say that trains get me excited in the same way. However, as someone who lives in Florida, I do have an appreciation for Brightline, which is one of the coolest train services in the United States.

It’s a big day for transportation in Florida, as Brightline’s much anticipated expansion to Orlando has just launched. I first wrote about this several months ago, but with the service having now launched, I wanted to provide an update with everything we know. First a bit of background…

What is Brightline?

The US isn’t exactly known for its great rail service, though Brightline is an exception. Brightline operates trains between Miami and West Palm Beach, with stops in Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton.

Brightline used to be associated with Richard Branson and was going to be rebranded as Virgin Trains, but Brightline and Virgin cut ties in 2020. Brightline has for years been planning an ambitious expansion, which includes connections to Orlando, and eventually even to Tampa. This is pretty major, since it greatly extends the distance that Brightline operates.

I reviewed the Brightline experience in 2019, and it’s so incredibly good that it’s hard to believe that this is in the US. The stations are gorgeous, the trains are new and well maintained, and the employees are consistently friendly.

Beautiful Brightline station in Miami

For a reasonable premium you can typically book Premium, which is the equivalent of business class, and that gets you access to lounges, snacks and alcoholic drinks onboard, and more.

Brightline Premium lounge
Brightline Premium cabin

Brightline is now running trains to Orlando

Several weeks back, Brightline unveiled its new station in Orlando, and the service has now launched as of Friday, September 22, 2023.

Brightline has expanded to Orlando

Tickets have been on sale for quite some time.

Brightline tickets between Miami and Orlando are on sale

So, what should you expect from this train connection?

  • Brightline’s station in Orlando is at Orlando International Airport (MCO), connected to Terminal C, and roughly 37,350 square feet; unfortunately there isn’t a stop at Walt Disney World, at least for the time being
  • There are 16 daily roundtrip trains between Orlando and Miami that operate hourly, with some services being nonstop, and some stopping at all stations
  • Nonstop trains between the two markets take 2hr59min, while trains stopping at all the stations take 3hr30min
  • One-way fares to & from Orlando start at $79 for Smart, $149 for Premium, and there are bundles whereby a family of four can travel together in Smart for $199
  • Premium tickets include complimentary meals, snacks, and beverages, while those things are available for purchase for other passengers
Brightline station at Orlando Airport
Brightline station at Orlando Airport

This sounds exciting, but I’m skeptical

As a Miami resident I absolutely love the concept of Brightline. The passenger experience is fantastic, and it’s a joy to ride with the company. Furthermore, I’m convinced that Florida (and in particular South Florida) has the world’s worst drivers, so I’ll do anything to stay off the road.

If I were to travel to Orlando, I love the concept of taking Brightline, though practically speaking I’m not sure I see where the demand is supposed to come from:

  • Florida is not like Amsterdam or Tokyo, and the reality is that most people want a car to get around, especially if you’re visiting Orlando; so even if Brightline can efficiently get you between two cities, it doesn’t change the need for a car
  • While Brightline was initially supposed to have a connection to Walt Disney World, that’s no longer the case, and it poses a major issue; having the station in Orlando be at the airport is only ideal for those who have a flight out of there
  • While I don’t think the ticket prices are unreasonable given the cost to operate, it still seems pricey for most; at best you’re paying $50 per person one-way (in a bundle of four), but most people are paying way more than that, so I imagine it’ll be rare that there are cost savings to taking the train vs. driving, unless you’re alone
  • 16 daily trains is an incredible amount of service; it would appear that the capacity will be 239 people per train, so that’s nearly 4,000 seats in each direction every day, which is a lot

Honestly, I’m impressed that this Orlando service has actually started, as I had my doubts. I hope the service succeeds, as the state of train travel in the United States is pretty bad for the most part. Therefore I don’t want to be “down” on this idea, but I also think that for an individual train service to succeed, there needs to be a bigger infrastructure investment. A train service is only so valuable when many people feel they need a car on both ends of their journey.

Brightline train at the Miami station

Bottom line

Brightline has launched its much anticipated service to Orlando. Brightline is operating 16 daily roundtrip journeys between Miami and Orlando. Pricing starts at $79 one-way, and a family of four can purchase a bundle that lowers the cost to under $50 per person.

This is a really cool new way to get between South Florida and Orlando, assuming you don’t feel like you need a car. I look forward to giving this service a try.

What do you make of Brightline’s Orlando expansion?

Conversations (95)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Luke Guest

    This should've been planned to stop at Port Canaveral cruise port and ideally where the train stop would be walkable from the ship terminals. That could have attracted a lot more travelers.

  2. NedsKid Diamond

    I just took the very first departure from Orlando to Miami (inaugural) at 0640 this morning. Took a ton of notes and photos. I should find somewhere to post.

    1. NedsKid Diamond

      Did so in Premium and used their included Uber and shuttle tie in on either side.

  3. simmonad Guest

    BL will be hoping for a good deal of generated demand (i.e. people who did not travel between Orlando and Miami/FL before but will now do so, thanks to BL). But, as I understand it, the speed doesn't offer major savings over doing the journey by car (as of right now,4 hours between downtown Miami and MCO, 1450hrs Eastern time) and is somewhat slower than the proposed Los Angeles-Las Vegas link.

  4. Jeff Guest

    I recently took Brightline from WPB to Miami for our cruise (also happens to be Virgin). I was impressed how clean and modern everything is and the employees are all eager to help. The self-service snack shop is cool and the vibe of the bar is like an airport.

    I too hated driving in Florida and thanks to my friend, I would not had known about this service - in addition, the Miami station...

    I recently took Brightline from WPB to Miami for our cruise (also happens to be Virgin). I was impressed how clean and modern everything is and the employees are all eager to help. The self-service snack shop is cool and the vibe of the bar is like an airport.

    I too hated driving in Florida and thanks to my friend, I would not had known about this service - in addition, the Miami station is straight shot to the cruise terminal - around 10 mins only and $13-$15 on Uber X

  5. Exit Row Seat Guest

    Just as an experiment, instead of flying into FLL, I'll fly into MCO and take the train down to Ft Lauderdale. Curious to see if it's worth the extra effort to use as a back up. Also, no mention if rental car counters are located near the Ft Lauderdale station.

  6. JOJO Guest

    took the train a few sundays ago as a spur of the moment. Boca to MIami. $18 per ticket. on the way back at 5:30pm it was $32 per person. the train is nice if were you need to be is near a station

  7. 9volt Gold

    I agree. I don’t see the demand. Maybe a family in South Florida who wants to visit Disney World and prefers not to drive? (Although, they'd still need to catch an Uber from MCO to Disney.) I mean, they’re already spending thousands on the Disney trip, so what’s another couple hundred for the train?

    1. Luke Guest

      I just priced out a uber x ride from a random marriott hotel in Fort Lauderdale to walt disney world park, and comes to $225 for uber x. Assuming family of 4, even that might actually be cheaper than taking the train then uber from MCO (and most likely time saving too)

  8. Tom0706 New Member

    Looking forward to giving this a try from Palm beach to Disney World!

  9. Nate Guest

    While I think it's great to have modern, efficient train service between two major cities in Florida, it strikes me as being a train service for those who live in Palm Beach, Broward and Orange Counties. If you live in Brevard County, like me, or Volusia, Flagler, Marion, Lake, or Sumter Counties, where's the benefit? You still have to drive to the airport (possibly an hour or more) and then where do you park and...

    While I think it's great to have modern, efficient train service between two major cities in Florida, it strikes me as being a train service for those who live in Palm Beach, Broward and Orange Counties. If you live in Brevard County, like me, or Volusia, Flagler, Marion, Lake, or Sumter Counties, where's the benefit? You still have to drive to the airport (possibly an hour or more) and then where do you park and what is the cost? Without the state and county governments being willing to make major investments in infrastructure, we'll never see convenient, efficient rail service for the general public that serves the very populated areas around OAI or Miami. I have a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale coming up. It's about a two hour drive to the port. It's about a one hour drive to the airport in Orlando. Then there's the parking. Then there's the 3 hrs by train and transportation to the port, as well as the $300+ each way for the four of us to go (Not one family). It would be great to get a train from Palm Bay or Melbourne. Coming from the Northeast, I'm familiar with Regional Rail Service. Around 90% or more of people in the five counties surrounding Philadelphia, live less than 15 minutes from a train that can take to the individual terminals at Philadelphia International Airport, plus all the major towns in all of those counties. It is funded by the city of Philadelphia, the five surrounding counties and passenger fares. Without a major financial commitment by the state and counties, this rail service that benefited from tens of millions in federal taxpayer funding, will continue to be a rail service for the benefit of those who live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm beach and Orlando, since there will be no service for anyone living between Palm beach and Orlando.

    1. 305 Guest

      Brightline offered to put stations between Palm Beach and Orlando. All of your neighbors went crazy NIMBY against Brightline. They didn’t want the train to pass through period let alone have stations

  10. Phillip Reynolds Guest

    We live in West Palm Beach and Our daughter goes to college in Orlando and will be taking the Brightlines regularly. Orlando has over 100,000 College students and most of them live in S Florida. Many tourists that go to Miami will also use the train to visit Orlando parks. This Also opens Orlando Airport up to S Florida residents as another option. We hate flying out of Miami and will now consider Orlando as an option

  11. Brian Guest

    Miami-Orlando service will start Fri Sept 22 just announced at GoBriteline dot com website

  12. Yang Jin-Hong Guest

    What a joke, trains are supposed to be another option for transportation instead of cars or planes, and now it stops at the freaking airport of all places, and 36 km away from downtown and 30 km from disney at that? Not even near the areas where people go to and do business? It's not even actual high speed lmao Japan had faster running speed in freaking 1964.

  13. LovetoFly Member

    I live about40 minutes from MCO and travel frequently to Miami. I can take a shuttle from my home to MCO ($40) and then the train. Just the tolls are around $40 if I were to drive, so this is a great option.

  14. iamhere Guest

    I was thinking the comment that you mentioned about the cost and time versus number of people.

  15. BradStPete Diamond

    I live in St. Petersburg and would love to relax on the rails over to Orlando and on to the Gold Coast. Its a long, aggravating drive on I4 between Tampa Bay Area and Orlando and a longer drive on to The Gold Coast. Can't wait for the Tampa extension.

  16. Jonathon Guest

    Brightline will never generate enough revenue to support itself.

    Florida taxpayers will have to make up the difference in this rail system with its sub-par route structure.

    There is no dedicated Right-Of-Way for these trains that will travel at 110 MPH. Railroad crossings are not protected with more than just lights, bells and arms. The rate of injury and death could be very high.

    Brightline misses Walt Disney World and the term 'close-enough' still isn't...

    Brightline will never generate enough revenue to support itself.

    Florida taxpayers will have to make up the difference in this rail system with its sub-par route structure.

    There is no dedicated Right-Of-Way for these trains that will travel at 110 MPH. Railroad crossings are not protected with more than just lights, bells and arms. The rate of injury and death could be very high.

    Brightline misses Walt Disney World and the term 'close-enough' still isn't your intended destination. The MCO airport stop is excellent but only if there was a destination for that many available seats.

    Tickets are too expensive for what will be nothing more than mass transit.

    1. 305 Guest

      It’s privately owned, taxpayers aren’t on the hook for a thing. Also, the company that owns it is making hundreds of millions off the real estate development surrounding the stations. The train can lose millions for years and they won’t care, they’re still winning

    2. Bobby B Guest

      That's actually not true. The line was financed by private activity bonds where a government agency acts as a conduit to issue bonds for the private company. The bonds are then tax free unlike normal corporate bonds, so taxpayers are subsidizing financing for the project. I'm all for expanding infrastructure in the US so I don't really care, but taxpayers are essentially making these bonds more appealing/cheaper than they normally would be for a private...

      That's actually not true. The line was financed by private activity bonds where a government agency acts as a conduit to issue bonds for the private company. The bonds are then tax free unlike normal corporate bonds, so taxpayers are subsidizing financing for the project. I'm all for expanding infrastructure in the US so I don't really care, but taxpayers are essentially making these bonds more appealing/cheaper than they normally would be for a private issuer. Normally for private activity bonds the issuing agency does not pledge to backstop the bonds if the private company defaults, so that part is true. I also agree that Brightline is trying to do what private railroads in Japan do where they own/develop real estate around the stations to the train operations themselves don't have to be profitable.

  17. NedsKid Diamond

    Let's see if it really happens... I'm a bit annoyed with them, having been comped a ticket on the first one twice... and bought plane tickets... to have it canceled and postponed. Now they are super serial it's gonna happen next week, and this last time confirmed first train got replaced with a voucher. So booked on one later in the day. They jumped the gun selling tickets twice just to have to refund a week's worth....

  18. Andy 11235 Guest

    Have you seen the price to park at the Orlando theme parks? I very much challenge your assumption that most people will want a car to get around Orlando.

  19. Lars Guest

    I'll be curious if this can be sustainable given the ticket prices and high frequency. I think there almost has to be a plan to get government subsidies in some way or another to eventually make pricing more competitive.

    As is, I can see it beating out air travel between MCO and S. Fla. (despite the train often being more expensive), but it will be tough to compete with driving and/or bus options. You really...

    I'll be curious if this can be sustainable given the ticket prices and high frequency. I think there almost has to be a plan to get government subsidies in some way or another to eventually make pricing more competitive.

    As is, I can see it beating out air travel between MCO and S. Fla. (despite the train often being more expensive), but it will be tough to compete with driving and/or bus options. You really do need a car to function in metro Orlando, and the same could be said for all but the certain limited areas of S. Fla. All that said, I hope it does great!

  20. DiogenesTheCynic Member

    Random but I wonder if, in their future plans, they may be considering the possibility of a Lakeland stop between Tampa and Orlando. I have some travel to Lakeland in the future and I guess you just take a $50-60 (or more?) Uber from TPA or MCO to the face if flying there. Would be neat if you could do a train from MCO.

  21. ZTravel Guest

    Airlines, auto and oil companies don’t want this to be successful! Hence there will not be a metro/public transport network that would feed into this train service. So it’s up to us, the people, to support this model even if it doesn’t make sense economically! Use it as a time to unwind, read, play games with your family rather than driving through our limited, congested and dangerous (I4) highways (95 or 75).

    The way our...

    Airlines, auto and oil companies don’t want this to be successful! Hence there will not be a metro/public transport network that would feed into this train service. So it’s up to us, the people, to support this model even if it doesn’t make sense economically! Use it as a time to unwind, read, play games with your family rather than driving through our limited, congested and dangerous (I4) highways (95 or 75).

    The way our cities are designed and the lack of public transport is what creates this social isolation and leads people to become afraid and hate others. For social cohesion we need to see each others, neighbors need to connect, we need to use shared public transport and we need to walk/bike instead of each one in their own car alone or at most with ppl who are echo chambers. US was on a trajectory to have advanced public transport like Europe or Asia pre WWII, but then Corporations and lobbyists came and advanced their interest over which led to a lot of the social/political issues we have today.

    1. James S Guest

      I would be shocked if more than 20% of Orlando tourists rent a car. There's a reason there's such a competitive shuttle bus market there. Really weird so many people in here, who supposedly are frequent travelers, think a rental car is necessary to get from the airport to a hotel. International tourists especially do not want to risk driving in an unfamiliar country

  22. Farnorthtrader Guest

    All the comments seem to be centered on people taking the train from Miami to Orlando. There will be a lot of demand from Orlando to Miami. Probably 10% of the people we know in Orlando travel to Miami at least half a dozen times a year for either business or family. Add in the eventual Tampa traffic (and, of course, the tourist traffic) and I could see this working.

  23. Yvonne Guest

    We're tourists arriving in Orlando in November 2023. We're spending a few days in the Orlando area using a rental car which we will drop off in Fort Lauderdale before boarding a cruise ship in Port Everglades. I was happy to find out Brightline will be travelling to Orlando this fall, just the perfect way to catch a ride to Orlando airport to catch our return flight! Didn't want to rent a car for a few hours just to get up to Orlando.

  24. Liz Guest

    It is so true that brightline will be a convenience for people that needs those hours to work, read or relax and not stress out because of the traffic, however is so true what another person commented, about the lack of transportation in our nice Florida. Once you arrive to the airport in Orlando, most likely you will need a car to go to the parks or anywhere else, as there are not enough public...

    It is so true that brightline will be a convenience for people that needs those hours to work, read or relax and not stress out because of the traffic, however is so true what another person commented, about the lack of transportation in our nice Florida. Once you arrive to the airport in Orlando, most likely you will need a car to go to the parks or anywhere else, as there are not enough public transportation, other than the local buses provided by the Hotels. On the other side, for the whole family does not make sense to take the brightline to Orlando from Miami, considering that the car rental may be most convenient in regards to price, if you calculate the price per passenger versus the price per day an no milage limits offered.

    1. LovetoFly Member

      When Disney stopped offering free shuttles to their resorts Mears shuttle buses do an amazing business. If all you are doing is the parks and staying on a resort, the buses to those resorts are a nice cheap option. Most tourists have no desire to drive around Orlando.

  25. Andrew Diamond

    Looks like the parent company was bought by Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund. Hopefully they're in it for the long haul and not short ROI.

  26. Jungseok Guest

    expect more opposition funded people crossing the tracks coincidentally just on time when a train passes through, no wonder why America cant have nice infra

    1. Sosongblue Guest

      Don’t see that happening at all, that’s not as tolerated in FL as it is elsewhere…the opposition is primarily from retirees and not activists

  27. Nick Guest

    Can a family of 3 pay $200 and buy family of 4 pkg?

  28. Debo Gold

    I can't imagine there won't be future fill-in stations along the West Palm - Orlando routing. Indian River County is growing fast and a stop in Ft. Pierce or Vero Beach would be great. I can see Melbourne and Cape Canaveral stops too.

  29. George Romey Guest

    I don't know long term if this will be sustainable. Also, Disney is losing numbers between the outrageous pricing and their decision to become political Disney is losing it's luster. But Orlando has become a huge center of business otherwise. It's just that it's a 200 mile trip from Miami (albeit a not enjoyable one at certain times of the day), not to mention multiple flights.

    Personally, I've used Brightline from Miami to West...

    I don't know long term if this will be sustainable. Also, Disney is losing numbers between the outrageous pricing and their decision to become political Disney is losing it's luster. But Orlando has become a huge center of business otherwise. It's just that it's a 200 mile trip from Miami (albeit a not enjoyable one at certain times of the day), not to mention multiple flights.

    Personally, I've used Brightline from Miami to West Palm, really like the experience, just not sure if it is viable long term. As far as cross country high speed rail that will only have been with open, no bars imminent domain and that realistically will never happen in this country.

  30. stogieguy7 Diamond

    In this case, I disagree. There's plenty of demand for HSR between South Florida and Orlando as well as Tampa/St. Pete. The traffic sucks, flying is a PITA, so you can just as easily save an hour or two by hopping Brightline to MCO and renting a car there. It's brilliant really,

    And Brightline is quickly becoming popular in that WPB-MIA corridor. I have relatives there and they love Brightline. Oh, and they say (and I quote) that "Tri-Rail sucks".

  31. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Diamond

    I am a big avgeek as well and that's a big reason I read your site. But I LOVE trains and I sometimes wonder if I am not more of a railfan. Granted, in the US, there is little outlet for that unless you live in the NE, which I do not. But when I go to Europe, I look forward to my HSR trips than I do the transatlantic flight!

    This summer we are...

    I am a big avgeek as well and that's a big reason I read your site. But I LOVE trains and I sometimes wonder if I am not more of a railfan. Granted, in the US, there is little outlet for that unless you live in the NE, which I do not. But when I go to Europe, I look forward to my HSR trips than I do the transatlantic flight!

    This summer we are booked in Air France's A350 business class R/T from Atlanta. I am certainly excited about that as it has the prospect of being the best business class experience I have had. However, we are also taking the TGV is premium class to Nice and then back from Avignon and I am completely geeked out over that. Nice is probably close to my breakpoint in flying distance, but I not once thought about flying. It was TGV all the way! (I would probably go further on the continent by rail should I need to except that my wife is a "I don't care how, just get me where I am going" type and she would not look favorably to many more hours of travel just so I can ride a train! In fact, I don't think she is all that interested in AF business class except to get on board and get to sleep!)

    I don't have much "need" for Brightline from Orlando to Miami. However, the next time I head down the Miami for a football game, I am hopeful to fly to MCO and try Brightline, for nothing else but the experience. I took my first Amtrak overnight trip last year and LOVED it and I want to see where Brightline slots betwen Amtrak and European train experiences.

  32. vlcnc Guest

    The US in general is car dependent, so it seems a little unfair to expect a private rail operator to solve this issue on their own when you talk about the fact people need cars at either end - the atrocious public transport the country has that means people need cars is a failure as a country.

  33. Joanne Guest

    I just took this train from a hotel in ft Lauderdale to West Palm Beach to fly out of PBI given a several hundred dollar difference in fares vs Miami or FLL all yesterday & today. Very nice & easy.

    I could see it being a great combo for tourists doing a little parks and a little beach. And they should advertise it as such. At WPB a free community shuttle goes all around to hotels, beach, restaurants, etc so no specific need for a car after leaving Orlando.

  34. MM Guest

    The drive from Miami to Orlando is not horrible if you take the Turnpike.

    And to answer the poster who asked about living in Florida right now, I am personally having a blast doing the things I like and ignoring the politics/media.

    1. TM Guest

      I can't disagree more. The turnpike is mostly two lanes in each direction, full of traffic and semi trailers, it's very stressful. No one seems to know that the left lane should be reserved for passing, right lane for slower vehicles. Give me the Brightline anytime.

  35. Lou Gargano Guest

    Not stopping at Port Canaveral/Cocoa is a huge mistake. They would generate tons of revenue from cruise passengers. Opportunity missed.

    1. Nb Guest

      On the subject of florida how do you as a florida resident feel about living in the state right now given the radical bigoted actions the states political leaders are taking?

    2. Max Guest

      @Nb
      It’s absolutely great! I’ve actually moved here due to the Florida and it’s leading politicians being based!
      Minimum of ridiculous Covid limitations of freedom, Not giving in to the grooming lobbyists and cultural degenerates.
      A truly marvelous place for heritage Americans!

    3. Ben Guest

      "Grooming lobbyists and cultural degenerates" - far out. What does this even mean?

    4. Sosongblue Guest

      @NB

      That was out of left field, seems you have alot of misconceptions about Florida or your brain is just broken with hate and rage….leave your political diarrhea elsewhere …..now back to talking about trains.

    5. 305 Guest

      Cocoa and other coastal towns north of Palm Beach all fought against brightline for years. When they realized they had lost, they then begged for stations. Was too late at that point

    6. Franklyn Guest

      I agree BUT even without that a Orlando local like myself can park at the economy lots (save stress gas tolls) to go on a cruise out of Miami.

      If I'm in miami I can uber to the downtown station take the train up and meet my cruise shuttle at the airport.

      Florida turnpike is a 2 lane road for most of the trip between Orlando and WPB and if theres an accident…you’re stuck.

      I def can see brightline working with cruse lines for connectivity when they prove reliability.

  36. Eskimo Guest

    Just did an Amtrak survey for sleeper trains.
    Which reminds me, if they want trains to be profitable, they need to get Amish people down to Florida.

  37. iamhere Guest

    Doesn't make sense because of the time it takes to drive and the cost to drive. Also, what do people do when they get to their destination? Call an Uber? You mentioned in the article that the premium fare is not much more or a reasonably amount more than the economy fare but it appears almost double. For a three hour ride are you really caring about the snacks, drinks and seat?...

  38. PH Guest

    Predictable! I didn’t have any insider info when I commented on the February article “ That would be my guess… LV cafe, Dior or maybe even Cheval Blanc spa… keep it all in the LVMH family. They’re keen to build their ‘experiences’ business.”

  39. Mary Guest

    My family either drives or flies from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando several times a year to visit the parks. We are looking forward to Brightline as an alternative and will definitely try it out as soon as tickets are available. I hope it will be a viable alternative for future trips.

  40. David Guest

    When will liberals learn that the US is not Europe and (other than the Northeast) train travel is not practical for a country the size of the US?

    1. Hank Tarn Guest

      It is pattetic the way they copy the Europeans.

    2. billb303 New Member

      It's obvious we don't copy the Europeans because, if we did, we'd have a functioning rail system...

    3. lavanderialarry Guest

      If only the US would invest in its infrastructure, the country wouldn't look like the third world entity it is turning itself into. Take a trip abroad and see what there is beyond the US.

    4. Alex Guest

      Train travel is practical in the US. The US is smaller than Europe and Europe makes it work in a bigger area. The US is a country Europe is a continent it is far bigger. China is a country similar size to US but has a far superior railway.

    5. Max Guest

      False. The US has the perfect geography and distribution of population to have two high speed railway corridors along the coasts, one from San Diego to Vancouver and one from Miami to Montreal/Toronto. Heck, unlike too densely settled central-western Europe, it even makes sense to build 600km/h MAGLEV there.

    6. GGC New Member

      Not sure about population density within the 600 miles from Sacramento to Portland. IMO a potentially profitable HSR corridor on the west coast must be cut in two sections, SanDiego-Sacramento and Portland-Vancouver

    7. Zain Nensey Guest

      This is privately built without public money. Learn to research before you make automatic assumptions about what has and hasn't happened. Be excited for free enterprise.

    8. Ben Guest

      People who appreciate train travel are "liberals". When did a mode of transport become a left/right culture war issue? And no one is suggesting a TGV from New York to San Francisco. The US has plenty of population centres close enough to one another to have a decent train network and alternative to the freeway.

    9. K.C. Cooper Guest

      The problem is that many people have a form of xenophobia known as "not-invented-here syndrome".

    10. Albert Guest

      @ K. C. Cooper
      So, so true.
      The USA bangs on about free trade, and has done much good on that front in the world, but the inner mindset of most Americans is indeed that only something invented there is anything worthwhile.

  41. Brian Guest

    I am a little confused about the mention of the supposedly scrapped Disney World stop. Building out to there was never part of this phase, but of a future expansion. And the stop has in fact not been scrapped. What happened is that Disney cancelled their plan to work with Brightline to build a station directly on Disney property, because under new plans that also see Brightline serving Universal, the line won't go through Disney...

    I am a little confused about the mention of the supposedly scrapped Disney World stop. Building out to there was never part of this phase, but of a future expansion. And the stop has in fact not been scrapped. What happened is that Disney cancelled their plan to work with Brightline to build a station directly on Disney property, because under new plans that also see Brightline serving Universal, the line won't go through Disney property. A future stop is still planned at Disney world, just not on their land.

  42. DLPTATL Guest

    I own properties in Miami, West Palm, Orlando, and Tampa. The ability to visit all of them in a single trip without having to spend hours in a car with the notoriously excellent Florida drivers is really appealing. I've been using the service between Miami and WPB for a while now and it's great, except when the train has a vehicle strike. I've experienced this and it's not a pleasant experience and the time it takes can wreck a busy meeting schedule.

  43. magice Gold

    This. Is. Awesome!

    This means I can fly into Orlando, hang out at Disney World for a day or 2, train down to Miami, hang out at the beach for a few days, then fly home :). Well, it also helps that my son is a *huge* fan of rail traveling (seriously; light rail intra-city in Silicon Valley got him super excited, and he was swooping the entire time we rode the train from St....

    This. Is. Awesome!

    This means I can fly into Orlando, hang out at Disney World for a day or 2, train down to Miami, hang out at the beach for a few days, then fly home :). Well, it also helps that my son is a *huge* fan of rail traveling (seriously; light rail intra-city in Silicon Valley got him super excited, and he was swooping the entire time we rode the train from St. Paul to Chicago).

    I do wonder if they plan for any round trip discount, since that would be sweet.

  44. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Brightline will have negotiated private ticket prices which will be lower and will appeal to the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors that come to Florida every year.
    It is possible that this will dramatically increase the feed to MCO and MIA and FLL airports as air passengers can "feed" into several major airports.

    Brightline is also a clear financial success for the private sector while California will spend far more money and come...

    Brightline will have negotiated private ticket prices which will be lower and will appeal to the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors that come to Florida every year.
    It is possible that this will dramatically increase the feed to MCO and MIA and FLL airports as air passengers can "feed" into several major airports.

    Brightline is also a clear financial success for the private sector while California will spend far more money and come up with a much smaller and less useful network.

  45. Trey Guest

    I live in Orlando and it's certainly a good addition but $79 each way is just not economical for most leisure travelers that reside in either city. Factor in high price of rental cars ($80+/day) it really doesn't make sense. Free or very cheap direct shuttles to theme parks and shopping areas would help. Otherwise that fare needs to be under $40 each way.
    Who will take it at $79? Tourists who are flying...

    I live in Orlando and it's certainly a good addition but $79 each way is just not economical for most leisure travelers that reside in either city. Factor in high price of rental cars ($80+/day) it really doesn't make sense. Free or very cheap direct shuttles to theme parks and shopping areas would help. Otherwise that fare needs to be under $40 each way.
    Who will take it at $79? Tourists who are flying to one city and out of another, last minute airport customers (e.g. living in Orlando, but flying international out of MIA), business travelers between the 2 cities that used to fly or drive but will now consider train because it's on the company's tab, less hassle, and better travel time reliability.

  46. Jack Guest

    The drive between Miami and Orlando is miserable. Heavy traffic and to Ben’s point, terrible Florida drivers. I’ll be taking the train over driving every time. Can’t say it’s really a cost or even a time saver, but definitely a stress saver.

    Sixt is already at Terminal C adjacent to the station and more companies coming soon. That, combined with rideshare and connections to downtown make this fairly easy. I will say that hourly...

    The drive between Miami and Orlando is miserable. Heavy traffic and to Ben’s point, terrible Florida drivers. I’ll be taking the train over driving every time. Can’t say it’s really a cost or even a time saver, but definitely a stress saver.

    Sixt is already at Terminal C adjacent to the station and more companies coming soon. That, combined with rideshare and connections to downtown make this fairly easy. I will say that hourly frequency seems way too much, but I imagine that will sort itself out.

  47. NedsKid Diamond

    I'm glad to see this. One can fly between the airports though... Silver has tickets for under $60 each way frequently and Spirit you can get regularly for a dollars plus tax. The convention center stop will add more utility because as it is, the MCO connection is basically in the middle of nowhere. I've seen on some other blogs people bemoaning the price. I would pay the Premium price in a heartbeat for what...

    I'm glad to see this. One can fly between the airports though... Silver has tickets for under $60 each way frequently and Spirit you can get regularly for a dollars plus tax. The convention center stop will add more utility because as it is, the MCO connection is basically in the middle of nowhere. I've seen on some other blogs people bemoaning the price. I would pay the Premium price in a heartbeat for what is offered - and the fact that it is productive time. I figure what my time is worth into my travel arrangements and also put a dollar value on frustration or lack thereof.

  48. James S Guest

    "and the reality is that most people want a car to get around, especially if you’re visiting Orlando"

    I would guess the vast majority of people who fly into Orlando airport do NOT rent a car, and use shared rides to get to their hotel and between the parks.

    This will also make it easier for a family to fly in from Europe is South America, spend a few days at the parks and add...

    "and the reality is that most people want a car to get around, especially if you’re visiting Orlando"

    I would guess the vast majority of people who fly into Orlando airport do NOT rent a car, and use shared rides to get to their hotel and between the parks.

    This will also make it easier for a family to fly in from Europe is South America, spend a few days at the parks and add a Miami component to their trip without the hassle of a car rental or driving on an unfamiliar country

  49. George Romey Guest

    I would question the demand from Miami to Orlando, particularly as the train goes to the airport not any of the theme parts.

  50. 305 Guest

    The Orlando extension is borderline pointless. It doesn’t save time or money and leaves you stuck at the airport. Wonder if they’ll provide free shuttles like they were doing in South Florida for the first few years

    And just a reminder: Brightline is a real estate development play. They already owned the ROW and tons of land adjacent to it. The train itself will continue to hemorrhage money for years, meanwhile they’re making millions on...

    The Orlando extension is borderline pointless. It doesn’t save time or money and leaves you stuck at the airport. Wonder if they’ll provide free shuttles like they were doing in South Florida for the first few years

    And just a reminder: Brightline is a real estate development play. They already owned the ROW and tons of land adjacent to it. The train itself will continue to hemorrhage money for years, meanwhile they’re making millions on the real estate development around the stations. That’s how they make it work and why their model isn’t so easily replicated

    1. Scudder Diamond

      Anyone who doesn't lead with the facts in your second paragraph is completely missing the point.

    2. Ed Guest

      This is a very odd comment given that south Florida owes its existence to a railway real estate play by Henry Flagler’s Florida East coast Railway which is the progenitor to the company that owns Brightline.

      This is how transport works, you build a link between two places and then make money by transporting goods and people between them. To do this you give them reasons to live and work by your hubs, if...

      This is a very odd comment given that south Florida owes its existence to a railway real estate play by Henry Flagler’s Florida East coast Railway which is the progenitor to the company that owns Brightline.

      This is how transport works, you build a link between two places and then make money by transporting goods and people between them. To do this you give them reasons to live and work by your hubs, if you own the land and build the homes and workplaces, so much the better.

    3. Dusty Guest

      "That’s how they make it work and why their model isn’t so easily replicated"

      Bass ackwards comment. This business model is used successfully around the world by for-profit railway operators. By owning the housing and commercial developments around stations, you not only get the rent from those properties but also guarantee yourself customers for the railway itself. Not even having restaurants and shops within metro and regional rail stations is one of the biggest own...

      "That’s how they make it work and why their model isn’t so easily replicated"

      Bass ackwards comment. This business model is used successfully around the world by for-profit railway operators. By owning the housing and commercial developments around stations, you not only get the rent from those properties but also guarantee yourself customers for the railway itself. Not even having restaurants and shops within metro and regional rail stations is one of the biggest own goals of US rail transit.

  51. MP Guest

    I have exclusively been taking Brightline on my trips to Miami instead of driving since the Boca Raton station opened in December. It's not as cheap as typical commuter rail, but between tolls/gas/Miami parking, losing productivity sitting for hours in traffic, and the general pleasantness of the experience, it's well worth it

    I was hoping for a bit shorter trip to Orlando (and I imagine they'll get the speeds up on the West Palm Beach...

    I have exclusively been taking Brightline on my trips to Miami instead of driving since the Boca Raton station opened in December. It's not as cheap as typical commuter rail, but between tolls/gas/Miami parking, losing productivity sitting for hours in traffic, and the general pleasantness of the experience, it's well worth it

    I was hoping for a bit shorter trip to Orlando (and I imagine they'll get the speeds up on the West Palm Beach - Orlando stretch before too long), but I see my wife and I using this to consider more international travel from MCO. I could definitely see situations where flying to Orlando and hopping a ~2 hour train to Boca that leaves directly from the airport makes more sense than connecting.

  52. YinDaoYan Diamond

    I hated trains when all I rode was Amtrak (not Acela and not even in the northeast). The passengers were uncouth and staff pompous.

    Then I traveled to Europe and took the Thalys. I traveled to China and took the Gaotie. I became a train buff.

    1. Henry Guest

      Amtrak is still better than flying because there is no that much security theatre (I do use amtrak for coast-to-coast travel)

    2. CHRIS Guest

      Unless you're on the No Fly List, there is absolutely no reason to use Amtrak coast to coast. If TSA bothers you that much that you're willing to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars and many days vs. hours just to avoid it then you probably should not be allowed on an airplane anyway. It's better for everyone that way.

  53. Dan Guest

    While the Disney Springs stop was indeed cancelled when Disney pulled out of the project, there IS going to be connections to the convention and Universal areas. Not sure when those will open, but this will not ultimately just be an airport train -- you'll be able to take it all the way into convention and theme park areas, which I think greatly increases the potential utility.

    https://www.disneytouristblog.com/brightline-train-to-disney-world-everything-we-know-opening-timeline-stops-more/

    While the Disney Springs stop was indeed cancelled when Disney pulled out of the project, there IS going to be connections to the convention and Universal areas. Not sure when those will open, but this will not ultimately just be an airport train -- you'll be able to take it all the way into convention and theme park areas, which I think greatly increases the potential utility.

    https://www.disneytouristblog.com/brightline-train-to-disney-world-everything-we-know-opening-timeline-stops-more/

    1. K.C. Cooper Guest

      There will be a stop close to Disney Springs but not directly on property (there is a sidewalk to walk onto Disney property.)

  54. Alonzo Diamond

    This is great news and a blueprint for the rest of the country on how to run proper train service. I took Brightline myself a few weeks ago and it's exceptional. There's nothing bad about this whatsoever. This country needs to embrace proper train service like hmmm idk, the rest of the world.

    1. YinDaoYan Diamond

      United States is too spread out, people are too attached to private cars, the airline lobby is dominant, the culture of individualism means we are all too good for one another to be sharing space onboard a train.

    2. Ben Guest

      "The culture of individualism means we are all too good for one another to be sharing space onboard a train."

      Every long distance train I have got to and from New York has been full or close to it.

    3. BurritoMiles Guest

      Brightline is exactly the opposite of a blueprint for the rest of the US. Brightline is a real estate project, not a transportation project. It's owned by a freight rail company who is just trying to make money from the land they own in the downtown areas. They shut down for 2 years during covid. 2 years of no service. Did Amtrak shut down for 2 years? Did the NYC Subway stop running for 2...

      Brightline is exactly the opposite of a blueprint for the rest of the US. Brightline is a real estate project, not a transportation project. It's owned by a freight rail company who is just trying to make money from the land they own in the downtown areas. They shut down for 2 years during covid. 2 years of no service. Did Amtrak shut down for 2 years? Did the NYC Subway stop running for 2 years? If you want reliable service it needs to be subsidized by the government, just like roads and airways. California with all its problems is leading the way with their high speed rail project, if only the Feds would chip in, we could get it finished much faster and show the country how it's really done.

    4. Alonzo Diamond

      Who cares. It works now and it's great. Brightline is also developing the LA to Vegas line as well. Something that's been rumored for over 2 whole decades and never materialized.

    5. BurritoMiles Guest

      Victorville is not LA and the Vegas station will be south of the airport. What am I gonna do? Rent a car to drive to Victorville and then pay $100+ to have a train drop me off in the middle of I-15? How am I gonna get to my wraparound terrace suite at the Cosmo? $50 cab ride? Take the bus?! Sounds like a great plan to make tons of money.

    6. Frank B Gold

      Rancho Cucamonga is the Brightline terminus. Also not LA but an hour closer than Victorville.

    7. Albert Guest

      One interesting lesson from Europe - overnight trains were cut and cut and cut.
      The nadir was 2015 when the German train company gave up on night trains.
      The Austrian state railway company moved to fill the gap (EU free trade rules means that they can operate in all EU countries)
      They have expanded and expanded, and now competitors are joining in.
      One of the key points is that they have...

      One interesting lesson from Europe - overnight trains were cut and cut and cut.
      The nadir was 2015 when the German train company gave up on night trains.
      The Austrian state railway company moved to fill the gap (EU free trade rules means that they can operate in all EU countries)
      They have expanded and expanded, and now competitors are joining in.
      One of the key points is that they have not gone for the Low Cost market - 6AM flights from Ryanair are cheaper.
      Between major European cities, a cabin for two, with flat beds, private toilet and shower is typically EUR300.
      That means that they can afford decent hardware and enough staff (who presumably sleep in hotels at destinations during the day)
      But they are superbly convenient - typically depart between 7PM and 10PM; arrive between 7AM and 10AM.
      If staying with friends that's easy; if staying in a hotel one has to think about early check-in or Hilton's day rates.
      They have even started shunting trains in the middle of the night - E.g. trains from Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Vienna all go to Mannheim where at 3AM they split up and rejoin the carriages, with the newly formed trains departing to the same four cities.
      One of the key insights is to run the trains slowly overnight - departing at say 8PM, you don't want to arrive at 4AM; 7AM is much better.

  55. Jason Guest

    What do you do in Orlando in general, assuming you dont want to do the theme parks? Is there anything else there? as far as train utility, Do you just rent a car when you get to the airport? I'm confused?

    1. 9volt Gold

      The main draw is the theme parks. Although, some other areas of note are a large convention center, several professional sports teams, and UCF (University of Central Florida).

      As far as transport once you're there, yes you can rent a car, or use uber/taxi. Most people who visit the theme parks stay for several days and remain on park property, using shuttle service to get to/from their hotel, and do not use a car.

  56. Hillshum Guest

    The thing about a station at Walt Disney World is even there you need a vehicle unless you are staying on-property in a Disney resort (and can then use their busses to get around).

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Farnorthtrader Guest

All the comments seem to be centered on people taking the train from Miami to Orlando. There will be a lot of demand from Orlando to Miami. Probably 10% of the people we know in Orlando travel to Miami at least half a dozen times a year for either business or family. Add in the eventual Tampa traffic (and, of course, the tourist traffic) and I could see this working.

4
Jack Guest

The drive between Miami and Orlando is miserable. Heavy traffic and to Ben’s point, terrible Florida drivers. I’ll be taking the train over driving every time. Can’t say it’s really a cost or even a time saver, but definitely a stress saver. Sixt is already at Terminal C adjacent to the station and more companies coming soon. That, combined with rideshare and connections to downtown make this fairly easy. I will say that hourly frequency seems way too much, but I imagine that will sort itself out.

4
Mary Guest

My family either drives or flies from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando several times a year to visit the parks. We are looking forward to Brightline as an alternative and will definitely try it out as soon as tickets are available. I hope it will be a viable alternative for future trips.

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT