Brightline launches high-speed rail trials along the Florida coast

Brightline’s ongoing expansion from Miami to Orlando begins high-speed testing along Florida’s Treasure Coast on Friday.

The trains are expected to reach speeds probably never seen in Florida.

Testing will take place for approximately six weeks along the newly renovated track in Martin and St. Lucia counties, 11 miles with nine crossings between Jensen Beach Boulevard and Walton Road. The California-made train by Brightline is expected to reach 110 mph, which must be the operational speed when service begins in 2023.

Brightline, a private Miami-based company, has invested $5 billion to connect Miami and Orlando with high-speed service.

“The start of 110mph testing is an important milestone for the future of rail travel in Florida and across the United States,” spokeswoman Katie Mitzner said.

“If the crossing arms are down, don’t go around them,” Mitzner said. “Never stop on the tracks and only cross the tracks at a designated level crossing. Failure to comply with the law can lead to fines, points on your license or your life.

Brightline and federal and state railroad officials have sought to stem a relatively high rate of accidents and fatalities between Miami and West Palm Beach, where the top train speed is 79 mph.

In January, Brightline will test at 110 mph in Brevard County. Along the segment through Orange County on the way to Orlando International Airport, there are no road crossings and train speeds will be as high as 125 mph.

Jose P. Rogers