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Brightline to test passengerless trains between West Palm Beach, Cocoa

Trains to run daily through 2022
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:21 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 2:40 PM EST
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Brightline is moving towards the next phase of its Orlando expansion project.

The fast train company announced that it will begin test runs on Tuesday

That will ultimately connect passengers from South Florida to Cocoa in Brevard County.

The trains won’t have any customers on board, just crew members. The training program is designed to help engineers and conductors get familiar with the 130-mile stretch.

Typically, the trains travel 80 mph in Miami and Palm Beach County, but since the trains are performing test runs, officials said they won’t be traveling any faster than 60 mph on the new route.

“Driving a Brightline train from West Palm Beach to Cocoa and that territory is new,” said Katie Mitzner, Director of Public Affairs. “And engineers and conductors need to be intimately knowledgeable about everything on that territory, the signals, the curves, the straightaways, the communities they’re going through. So this is an opportunity for these crew members to learn this territory and learn it back and forth.”

Per federal statute, Brightline and freight trains will be required to blow the horn as they approach at-grade crossings or in an emergency.

The Orlando expansion project is about 70% complete and is on track to be completed by the end of this year. The company hopes to begin carrying passengers in 2023.

Brightline is reminding the public, pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists to make safe choices around trains and crossings, always expect a train and obey all traffic laws and signals around crossings. The safety message is simple: look, listen, live.

  • Do not drive or walk around crossing gates when they are down. It is dangerous and illegal.
  • Remain alert and aware when near railroad tracks, remember trains operate in both directions.
  • Only cross the tracks at a railroad crossing and never walk alongside the tracks, which is dangerous and illegal.
  • Never stop on the tracks.

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