FIRST LOOK: Inside WPB’s new Brightline train station

All Aboard Florida’s Brightline on Tuesday unveiled the inside of its West Palm Beach station, offering the first glimpse at how passengers will move from the building’s ticketing turnstiles to its shaded train platform.

Crews are still putting the finishing touches on the station’s security area, “Good to Go” cafe, and two passenger waiting lounges, but officials said the bulk of the construction work has already been completed.

Brightline officials had said the company would start “pre-season” service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in late July. Service between West Palm Beach and Miami was expected to begin in August.

PHOTOS: Tour of new Brightline train station in downtown West Palm Beach

But CEO Dave Howard said Tuesday the launch may be delayed.

“It’s probably going to be a little later in the summer,” Howard said Tuesday.

A grand opening that was set to be held in September, is now set for the fall, a company official said.

Once operational, Brightline’s trains will shuttle passengers between West Palm Beach and Miami in about an hour. Ticket prices have not been announced.

RELATED: Why is Brightline testing its train in this state park?

As part of Tuesday’s event, which was attended by elected officials, local business leaders and members of the media, Howard explained how passengers will maneuver through the station, which is located just north of CityPlace in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach.

Tickets can be purchased using the company’s soon-to-launch mobile app or at the station’s first-floor ticketing area. Baggage can also be checked at counters on the ground floor.

Escalators will carry passengers to the second floor, where “smart turnstiles” will scan their tickets. The system will be able to tell if a passenger has arrived early, and may be able to board an earlier train, Howard.

ALSO: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit over bonds for All Aboard Florida’s Brightline

After scanning their tickets, passengers will go through a security checkpoint, before making their way to one of two waiting areas depending on their class of ticket.

Brightline will sell tickets in two classes — Select and Smart. The Select tickets feature larger seats and complimentary food and beverage service both in the stations and on the trains. Smart car travelers will be able to purchase food items, officials said.

The station will also boast a business lounge, conference room, WiFi, and a play area for children, Howard said.

When a train is arriving, passengers will be directed to another set of escalators, which will carry them down to the station’s shaded rail platform.

Brighline is also building a residential tower and parking garage across the street from the station. Howard said Tuesday that the garage and the station are expected to open at the same time. Units in the residential tower will be available in the third quarter of 2018, he said.

Meanwhile, work continues on a planned “quiet zone” to silence train horns along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. The quiet zone will be in place when Brightline begins operating its trains this summer, Howard said.

Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick praised the project at Tuesday’s private event saying Brightline will not only help keep cars off the road, but it will also serve as an economic engine for the county.

“I look forward to that very first train and welcoming our guests in a very short months,” Burdick said.

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio said the station has already helped spur new development in the downtown area, adding that she expects the economic benefits to continue to grow after service begins later this year.

“It is going to be a great asset for our city,” Muoio said Tuesday. “I only see positives here.”

Eventually, Brightline plans to expand service north to Orlando.

Construction on the company’s West Palm Beach-to-Orlando leg has not yet begun. Brightline officials have said the project will take at least two years to complete from the time work starts.

The second phase has the potential to carry millions of tourists between South Florida and Miami each year.

“The statistics in this state are amazing,” Howard said Tuesday. “Orlando has 60 million visitors a year. Miami has 40 million visitors. There are hundreds of millions of trips a year between those two city centers.”

Florida’s population is expected to grow by 6 million people over the next 12 years, according Mark Wilson president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. By that point, 150 million tourists are expected to visit the state each year — up from last year’s record-breaking level of 112.8 million, he added.

“One thing that they all have in common is they want to figure out how to get from here to there,” Wilson said. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Ex-CFO ends lawsuit against the Batmasians that alleged fraud
Ex-CFO ends lawsuit against the Batmasians that alleged fraud

The former chief financial officer for real estate moguls James and Marta Batmasian has dropped his lawsuit against the couple, putting an end to his explosive allegations that the Batmasians’ Boca Raton empire was a “financial crimes enterprise.” On Monday, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Edward Garrison issued a final order...
Palm Beach County home prices hit post-crash high
Palm Beach County home prices hit post-crash high

Palm Beach County home prices hit a post-crash high in March. The median price of a single-family house sold last month was $348,000, the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale said Monday. That’s up slightly from February’s median of $345,000, and a 7 percent increase from March 2017. Sales were down slightly, and the...
Gas prices hit three-year high
Gas prices hit three-year high

Brace your wallets. Prices have popped to three-year highs at the gas pump. Florida’s statewide average of $2.74 per gallon marked the highest since December 2014, according to motorist organization AAA The Auto  Club Group. It costs $5 more to fill the average Florida tank than it did a year ago. Palm Beach County holds the...
Boca Raton’s Telsey: “The only disability is a bad attitude”
Boca Raton’s Telsey: “The only disability is a bad attitude”

Debbie Telsey is a former special education teacher and executive recruiter who blended both careers into a business. Two years ago, Telsey co-founded I Can Living and Learning Center, a Boca Raton-based company that helps find jobs for adults with disabilities. “It’s the perfect job for me,” Telsey said. “I love being a recruiter...
Tourism leaders look to expand Palm Beach County Convention Center
Tourism leaders look to expand Palm Beach County Convention Center

On the heels of a record-breaking year for the once-fledgling Palm Beach County Convention Center, local tourism leaders are weighing expansion of the 365,000-square-foot building to accommodate larger conventions and meetings. The county’s Tourist Development Council voted this month to spend up to $50,000 to study expanding the...
More Stories