Brightline ORLANDO ⇌ MIAMI

Quite a few people have asked me about the new higher speed Brightline train that is now operating between Orlando International Airport and MiamiCentral station in downtown Miami. Pictured above is the Miami station this past Sunday morning.
All their trains stop along the way at downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown West Palm Beach while only some trains stop at infill stations Aventura and Boca Raton. North of WPB the trains run nonstop to Orlando International Airport with new infill stations planned for Stuart and Cocoa.
Brightline trains use these Siemens Charger locomotives with one at each end of the consist. There are 4 passenger cars in between. Because of so many sold out trains, they’ve ordered more passenger coaches. There are currently 18 trains per day in each direction.
My train was wrapped in this tourism advertising. People have asked about the advantages of taking the train versus flying or driving. If you’re going to downtown Miami, the 3.5-hr travel time is comparable to driving…..on a good day. On a heavy traffic day with stop and go on the Turnpike and I-95, the train is much-quicker. If you’re not going to need a car during your visit, save the $30-$50/nt parking charges you’ll encounter in Miami and Miami Beach. At their Miami station you can connect to the free Metromover system at the adjacent Wilkie D. Ferguson station and travel anywhere downtown, the arts district or the Brickell district. Metrorail transit is also available from the nearby Government Center station to places like Dadeland or Miami International Airport.
Typical SMART (Economy) seating. Overhead displays show upcoming stations. Snacks, drinks and sandwiches can be purchased at your seat from an attendant, or in the stations.
Seat pitch in SMART class is around 35″, far more than you get in Economy class flying. Flying is definitely faster with 1 hour gate-to-gate but when you add getting to the airport early, TSA lines, baggage claim, travel into the city, etc, the difference wanes. You can arrive at a Brightline station 15-minutes before your train and be fine. (Note: You do have to clear security with Brightline too.) Flying is typically over $100 one way Orlando-Miami, less for Fort Lauderdale, plus baggage fees. Baggage is free on the train and there are places to put larger bags at the end of each coach while smaller ones will fit overhead above your seat. (There is checked baggage for a fee too.) Brightline recently had a sale with prices as low as $37 each way. Check prices here.
Much of the route is operated at 70 mph (112 km/h) while the new stretch of rail between Cocoa and Orlando International Airport (Terminal C) is operated at 125 mph (200 km/h). That section runs adjacent the Beachline Expressway (TOLL SR528) and we literally made traffic on that highway look like it was standing still. There are plans to extend the route west to near Universal Studios, to near Walt Disney World and then on to Tampa/Ybor City. Give it a try. On Brightline, a good time was had by…..ME.