All Aboard’s Brightline reaches building milestone at West Palm station


Construction of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline train station in downtown West Palm Beach reached a new milestone on Friday when company officials hoisted a bright yellow flag on top of the building to mark the completion of vertical construction at the site.

Palm Beach County and West Palm Beach commissioners, tourism leaders and construction workers were among the roughly 100 people who attended a “topping out” ceremony at the station site on Friday — an event that signifies the project has reached its top elevation and the “skeleton” of the building is complete.

Construction crews in Nov. 2014 began demolition work at the site located just north of CityPlace between Datura and Evernia streets west of the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. The first of 18 large concrete pillars, which serve as the station’s architectural signature, was hoisted into place in March.

On Friday, construction crews had moved on to the exterior finishing work outside the building. Escalators that will carry passengers to the station’s waiting areas perched above the train tracks rested near the building, wrapped in plastic and ready to be installed.

“It was about two years ago that we were standing very nearby here with a bulldozer to take down a building that was standing at this site in order to really mark the beginning of the journey that we are coming to the end of,” Brightline’s president Michael Reininger told the crowd gathered at Friday’s ceremony. “If you think about that, in just a short two-year time, we went from that to what is soon to become a glorious new station right here in the hub of downtown.”

Over the next six months, Reininger said the company plans to hire 133 employees to operate the station, work with customers, and help with the company’s fleet of trains.

Construction on the first phase of Brightline’s service, which includes three stations and track work between Miami and West Palm Beach, is more than 65 percent complete, a company official said. As part of the project, Brightline is adding a second track to the Florida East Coast railway line. Service between West Palm Beach and Miami is expected to begin next year.

Eventually, Brightline plans to run 32 trains a day between Miami and Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

The second phase of the track work, which runs between West Palm Beach and Orlando, has not yet begun.

Martin County commissioners have been fighting to block the rail line’s expansion north through the Treasure Coast. Martin officials this month raised questions about the service’s proposed path, saying All Aboard has not considered a western alternative that would keep trains away from more populated eastern neighborhoods.

On Friday, Palm Beach County leaders said they welcomed the project, adding that it would bring tourists to the area, as well as provide an easy way for locals to travel between West Palm Beach and Miami.

“We have been big supporters since the very beginning because we believe this is just a wonderful alternative for people to get to the Palm Beaches,” said Jorge Pesquera, the president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County’s official tourism marketing organization.

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan, whose district includes the station site, said the express passenger train will be an important transportation project for the city.

“I want to thank Brightline for having the vision to take this new, old way of thinking and bringing it to the City of West Palm Beach,” Ryan said. “The ability for us to get on a train and…go to any event outside of West Palm Beach and not get in your car is something that my husband and I have only dreamed about.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Trump in Palm Beach: Anniversary goes on without president at Mar-a-Lago
Trump in Palm Beach: Anniversary goes on without president at Mar-a-Lago

Despite President Trump ending up not leaving Washington -- he decided to stay in the nation’s capital as the government shutdown began Friday night -- a party in honor of his first anniversary as president went on as planned Saturday night at his home in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago. Partygoers submitted a few Instagram images of the event...
Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants
Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down. “President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals...
Michael Phelps reveals he considered suicide after 2012 Olympics
Michael Phelps reveals he considered suicide after 2012 Olympics

Swimmer Michael Phelps has revealed that after the 2012 Olympics, he considered suicide. “Really, after every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression,” he told David Axelrod at the fourth annual conference of the Kennedy Forum, an organization for mental health advocacy, according to CNN. Phelps revealed that...
Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games
Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games

UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will  air the AFC and NFC Championship games. >> Read more trending news  The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers...
Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive appear in court
Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive appear in court

David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after police say the couple kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions in their Perris, California, home. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance. David Turpin appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife...
More Stories