A new transportation project has been launched between two major metropolises in Florida. Labeled the “All Aboard Florida” project, this train system will be the first privately owned railroad link between two American cities. It will connect Orlando and Miami, the two largest cities in Florida, and will cost an estimated 1.5 billion dollars. This track will be completed in late 2014 or early 2015.
The passenger trains will run on 200 miles of track alongside Florida’s eastern coast, property owned by Florida East Coast Railways (FECI). FECI is a Miami company that specializes in real estate and transportation. The journey will take a total of three hours and three minutes, a significant reduction over other transportation methods. By car, it takes an average of 4 to 5 hours, as experienced by over 50 million people every year; by Amtrak train, a government-owned railroad company, it takes between 5 to 7 hours. The All Aboard trains will run as fast as 110 miles per hour on the route.
The All Aboard passenger train system will begin and end in Miami and Orlando, with stops at Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in between. Three primary train stations will be built along the route: at Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with the Miami station being the largest. The train tracks in Miami will be on an elevated platform, providing an all-encompassing view of downtown upon both exit and arrival. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Marshall, the same company that designed the newly-constructed Freedom Tower in Manhattan, Miami station’s main hall will be over 60,000 square feet and will be across from the new U.S. Courthouse on Northwest First Avenue.
How will the train system make such a quick journey? The plan is to include two diesel-powered systems with a 400-seat capacity. Hourly runs will be made between Miami and Orlando, with both first-class and business-class seating. Also included are gourmet dining and WiFi availability. The train service will also include a 40-mile inland track, built from Cocoa Beach, Florida to Orlando. This will enable customers to easily access a popular beach destination.
FECI wrote up the proposal for the business idea in March, but was not able to make a deal on the inland segment from Cocoa Beach without allowing the state of Florida to first accept other solicitations for the property in question. No additional bids were given, so Florida gave FECI the green light last Tuesday.