Full steam ahead for construction on high-speed train service to Orlando

Extension between Orlando, West Palm Beach set to open in 2022

Construction continues on Virgin Trains high-speed service across the state of Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – Construction continues on Virgin Trains high-speed rail service across the state of Florida. On Thursday, News 6 got a behind the scenes look at the construction underway by Virgin Trains, formally known as Brightline.

The train will connect Orlando to West Palm Beach, down to Miami, with speeds up to 125 mph.

In all, the project is expected to cost $2.5 billion, including a $70 million maintenance facility just south of the Orlando International Airport. The rail is part of a goal to get 3 million cars off the road.

Patrick Goddard is the president and CEO of Virgin Trains USA.

"With 1,000 people moving into the state daily and 126 million visitors last year, we cannot depend on the car," Goddard said. "We need alternative mobility solutions and we think this is a phenomenal option to what's out there."

As part of the 170 miles of track, construction crews must build 55 bridges to connect the train service from Orlando to West Palm Beach. The project will also require adjustments to major roads including the State Road 528, known as the Beachline Expressway.

Right now, the station at Orlando International Airport is the only one planned in Central Florida, but that will likely change.

"We would like to see stations every 50 or 60 miles, I think that's feasible and reasonable for an express train service," Goddard said.

Virgin Trains is working on plans for additional stations to possibly go in along the Space Coast and near Walt Disney World. Recently, Orange County leaders have made a push for a stop at the Orange County Convention Center, as well as Brevard County leaders.

The extension between Orlando and West Palm Beach is set to open in 2022.

A spokesperson with Virgin Trains said as part of the project, they are creating 10,000 construction jobs in the long term.

About the Author:

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.