All Aboard Florida’s Brightline will begin simulated service this week, running 10 round-trip trains a day along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks as it prepares for the launch of its passenger service later this year.
The trains will not be carrying passengers. The company said the simulated service includes 10 northbound and 10 southbound trains running daily along the FEC line between 15th Street in West Palm Beach and Broward Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale.
Brightline trains are expected to start shuttling passengers between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale this month, with service to Miami set to begin in the first quarter of 2018, according to an analysis of a $600 million bond issue the company plans to use to help pay for the project.
The December start comes five months after Brightline’s original launch date, which called for service to begin this summer on the 30-minute route between downtown West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. A series of issues delayed the launch of the project.
Despite the delays, officials said last week that a plan to create a quiet zone to silence the horns of both Brightline’s trains and other freight traffic along the Florida East Coast Railway is still on track.
On Tuesday, Brightline officials said safety remains their top priority. In addition to Brightline’s service, freight trains will continue to operate along the FEC route.
“With the double tracking in place, trains can run in either direction and at any time,” Brightline said. “The public should always expect a train and should cross only at designated at-grade crossings.”
Top 5 rail safety tips
1. Look and listen for a train as you approach all railroad crossings — obey all signs, warning lights and gates.
2. Trains are quieter and faster than you think — never try to beat a train.
3. Because of their size and weight, it can take a mile or more to stop a train.
4. Always expect a train on any track; avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.
5. Railroad property is private property. Walking on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.