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There’s a new transportation option that will make it easier for tourists to reach Florida’s beach destinations without a car. With trains that can reach top speeds of 130 mph, travelers visiting the Sunshine State can now get from Orlando International Airport to Miami in around three hours.
Brightline, the nation’s only private intercity rail company, begins a major expansion on Sept. 22. The company’s yellow, black and white trains will connect the terminals at Orlando’s airport with several South Florida destinations, including downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.
Featuring leather seats, complimentary Wi-Fi, a premium lounge for higher-paying customers and discounts for larger groups, Brightline figures to be an option for families planning a trip to Walt Disney World and Florida’s beaches, both of which are some of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations.
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What is Brightline?
Brightline is a newer rail service that operates between Southeast and Central Florida. The company began running trains between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2018, making several stops along the state’s East Coast. Since then, Brightline has been working on a significant 170-mile expansion of its tracks connecting its South Florida stops with Central Florida.
Brightline says the expansion should provide passengers with a smoother trip between Orlando and Miami compared with a car ride. The drive time is roughly three and a half hours between the two cities, but travelers risk running into delays or dealing with high rental car prices (especially if they’re making a one-way trip).
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Where does Brightline stop?
With the opening of its Orlando line, Brightline now has stations in six Florida cities, including:
Orlando International Airport.
West Palm Beach.
Brightline’s Miami station is located in the city's downtown area along NW 1st Avenue, near Kaseya Center (not at Miami International Airport).
How much does Brightline cost?
With the expansion of service just beginning, a trip along the line’s entirety, from Orlando to Miami, starts at $79 for adults and $39 for children for the rail system’s standard Smart fares. Groups of four get a 25% discount on Smart fares — a convenient option for families looking to save money on travel.
You can book a premium first-class-style ticket, which starts at $149 one way.
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Is Brightline nice?
On board, passengers will find an onboard experience that beats a main cabin seat on an airline. All passengers on a standard Smart Brightline ticket have access to leather seats, Wi-Fi and USB outlets, free Wi-Fi provided by Starlink, plus food and beverages for sale.
There are luggage racks if you choose not to check a bag. (It costs $10 to check the first bag.)
Is Brightline Premium worth it?
You’ll ride in a bit more style if you select a premium first class fare, which starts at $149. Passengers traveling on the higher-end ticket will have access to a dedicated lounge in Orlando. They’ll also get priority boarding, free checked bags as well as complimentary food and drinks on board. The seats onboard are the same, though.
Riding Brightline from Orlando Airport
Brightline plans 16 daily round trips between Orlando and Miami, with hourly northbound and southbound trains.
The new train station is connected to Orlando airport’s new Terminal C, but you can reach the station from Terminal A or B by taking the Terminal Link automated people mover.
The Orlando airport train station has various food and drink options before you board, including a full-service bar, store and children’s play area.
There’s also a lounge for passengers traveling on the standard ticket.
Is Brightline worth it?
Brightline is a new option connecting travelers between two of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations in Orlando and Miami, not to mention several spots along the Florida coast. The train should make it easier for families and other travelers to fly into one city and connect to another without renting a car.
The company isn’t done with its expansion. It plans to build an expansion of tracks out to Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In the West, Brightline is developing a new line featuring high-speed rail service between Southern California and Las Vegas.
(Top photo courtesy of Brightline)
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