Virgin Trains USA announced its team of builders has started construction on long-awaited tracks between West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport.
Last month the company first announced its plans to develop service between Orlando’s airport and South Florida with a station at Walt Disney World. During their original announcement of the news, Virgin Trains’ President, Patrick Goddard told the Orlando Sentinel, “It’s our expectation to get it done and to build out to Disney.” While the Walt Disney World station has not officially been announced to be a done deal, Virgin Trains did sign a letter of intent with Disney last year. “We’ve had an excellent relationship with Walt Disney World,” Goddard said. “They are big supporters of our project.”
The company already operates trains between Miami and West Palm Beach, and their plans are to connect to Orlando and Tampa. The hope is to get approval for the Walt Disney World station and to open it at the same time as the Orlando Airport station. However, the timeline is dependent on permits and funding.
Currently, the privately owned passenger-rail company is starting its expansion at the airport with the installation of 3 miles of track, signals and similar infrastructure and the development of 70 acres for a maintenance shop. According to the company, the start of additional rail construction from the airport to West Palm Beach “is imminent” if they expect to complete the project and start its service by 2022.
Reportedly, construction of the railway will include about 35 miles of new track from the airport to near Cocoa along the State Road 528 corridor. Another 129 miles of rail along the east coast will require upgrades to 56 miles of existing track and construction of 100 miles of new track.
According to Orlando Sentinel, Virgin Trains began operating last year between Miami and West Palm Beach, a 67-mile trip that takes 74 minutes.
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Source: Orlando Sentinel