Starting Sunday, Brightline crews will ramp up test runs along a portion of newly double-tracked rail corridor in Brevard County — with trains accelerating up to 79 mph, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
The private company’s future $2.7 billion passenger rail extension linking Orlando International Airport with Orlando will follow the north-south Florida East Coast Railway corridor from Cocoa southward to the St. Sebastian River and beyond.
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Brightline officials say the six-day “signal and track cutover” test period will help crews integrate the new section of second track between Rockledge and Melbourne, impacting six railroad crossings.
“Trains will operate at speeds of up to 79 miles per hour to perform the necessary testing,” a Brightline press release said.
“Both drivers and pedestrians should be aware that once the second track is commissioned trains could continue to operate at higher speeds and rail traffic could run on one or both tracks in either direction at any time,” the press release said.
The higher-speed tests will occur between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 p.m., Friday, July 29. Affected rail crossings:
Rockledge: Barnes Boulevard, Carver Street, Ansin Road and Viera Boulevard.
Suntree: Suntree Boulevard.
Melbourne: Post Road.
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Flaggers will be stationed at the six rail crossings while the new systems are commissioned, and work could result in traffic delays.
Brightline officials hope to complete construction of the Orlando expansion by year’s end, with service debuting in 2023. The company operates in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with passenger stations in Aventura and Boca Raton opening later this year.
In Melbourne, the Sarno Road rail crossing is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 7 p.m. Friday, July 29 after an extended eight-week shutdown.
Construction began on June 2 so crews could install a second set of tracks, new gates and signals, enhanced signage and striping, pedestrian sidewalks and gates, and stormwater drainage upgrades.
The project lasted a month longer than expected because Melbourne city workers had to relocate two water main lines and a sewer line, Brightline reported.
On July 1, Brightline reopened a section of Melbourne Avenue after a yearlong closure during the ongoing $17 million Crane Creek railroad trestle replacement project in downtown Melbourne.