Miami-Orlando Rail Service to Debut on 2016
Florida boasts a reputation as a top tourist destination. Its palm-tree-lined streets, bustling hotspots, nightly crawls, and sprawling beaches draw visitors all year round. But tourists think of Florida as a single entity rather than an interconnection of travel highlights. How do you change that? All Aboard Florida, a privately owned and maintained venture, seems to have the answer: a passenger rail service that would whisk residents and tourists to and from two of the largest cities in the state, Orlando and Miami.
All Aboard Florida would spin the vision of Henry Flagler, the architect of the Florida’s East Coast Railway, and turn it into something that would fit the current millennia with a high-speed (just under three hours at around 110 mph) rail service complete with clean diesel and WiFi access.
The planned project would change how tourists think of Florida: a set of destinations instead of just one whole spot.
Construction of the railroad is already happening. All Aboard Florida is busy updating the current rail lines in the southern part of the line and installing 40 miles of new track to complete the connection to Orlando Airport which is located a few minutes away from the city’s theme parks and other attractions. Passengers planning to explore such locations in Orlando would still have to use existing modes of transportations although the upcoming SunRail commuter train would eventually ease the travel time as it is expected to expand south to Poinciana and Kissimmee.
Dubbed as both a transportation and hospitality project, the train would offer large seats, dining service, and specialized seating for families, tourists, and business travelers. The 1,000-foot-long trains have an expected capacity of 400 passengers and would depart every hour with stops at Orlando Airport, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami. A total of 16 departures are expected daily.
The project is seen to also help boost the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as it can provide a hub for unique businesses, and retail and dining options.
Executives of All Aboard Florida are also gearing up for promotion. Although they are confident that ridership would support the service, they are also meeting with travel industry professionals and other relevant parties to promote the four destination areas of the train.
A planned seamless travel option is also expected to materialize as All Aboard Florida is looking for ways to provide a one-stop destination for airline and train tickets as well as access to current options, including the Metromover and Metrorail in Miami-Dade, and the SunRail in Orange County.
The rail service would help relieve some of the stress in the interstates especially during rush hour. According to Don Robinson, president and COO of All Aboard Florida, the ridership will be able to take as much as 3 million cars off the roads each year.
And although details on the pricing is yet unclear, All Aboard Florida promises competitive pricing to the current transportation options and package tickets.
The rail service is set on track for 2016.
By Mark Michael Ferrer