Rail travel in the United States took a significant step forward in September with the arrival of a new Brightline service in Florida: a fast train between Miami and Orlando.
According to the Associated Press, it is the first privately owned inter-city passenger rail service to open in the country for a century, and project deliverer Fortress Investment Group is hoping the line will transport eight million people every year between the state’s major tourist cities.
The journey between the two locations takes three-and-a-half hours, with the train reaching speeds of up to 125 miles per hour on the 235-mile stretch.
Trying the new brightline route today. Pretty comfortable experience.— Simon Yu (@SimonYuSEA) October 20, 2023
I'm glad the US is making some progress in public transportation. pic.twitter.com/8yPZz2KHBB
Brightline has previously outlined its commitment to sustainability. The company says its trains that run on the Miami to West Palm Beach line that opened in 2018 are the most environmentally friendly models in service, with the biodiesel electric trains said to cut equivalent pollution on the journey in personal vehicles by 75% per passenger per mile.
It is the first train company to receive the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management for its trains and stations, and it’s said the Miami-Palm Beach route can remove three million cars a year from roads in the area.
The opening of the new line has caught the imagination of Redditors, with a number of people sharing their thoughts on Brightline’s latest operation and the state of rail travel in the country.
“If more 110mph trains are going to be built around the country then I’m all for it,” one user said.
“[The government] should be building both [high-speed rail] and [non-high-speed-rail] so that trains can compete against both road and air travel,” added another. “Cars and planes are both terrible for the environment so we should be trying to get people off these and onto greener transport instead.”
Brightline’s trains don’t quite fit in the “high-speed rail” category, but the service between Orlando and Miami reduces travel time when compared to cars by around 30 minutes.
It’s safe to say the United States is lagging a bit when it comes to high-speed mass transportation by rail, with China among the world leaders in this field.
Meanwhile, Brightline CEO Mike Reininger heralded the possibilities that train travel provides, allowing passengers time to do other things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do behind the wheel.
“The idea that my car is the only way for me to get where I need to go is being challenged by a new product,” he told the AP. “A new product that’s safer, that’s greener, that is a great value proposition (and) it’s fun.”
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