Take a virtual ride with us on Brightline's express passenger train

Take a virtual ride with us on Brightline's express passenger train

Starting this Saturday, speedy private rail line Brightline is beginning its introductory service to Fort Lauderdale from West Palm Beach.

Brightline's diesel-electric powered trains feature a variety of amenities, including retractable platforms that facilitate easy boarding, bike racks, wide aisles and free wireless Internet.

Travel time is expected to be between 35 and 40 minutes each way with the first train departing at 6 a.m. each day and ending at 11 p.m. Schedules will change from weekdays to weekends. The $10 one-way tickets buy a seat in the 66-seat Smart Coach. Seniors, active military personnel and veterans will receive a 10% discount, and children younger than 12 will ride for half price as part of discounted introductory fares, according to Brightline.

The company, formerly known as All Aboard Florida, has been pushing to get service started on the South Florida phase even as it has battled politically over the past several years for approvals for the second phase of the business, a high-speed railroad route from West Palm Beach to Orlando. It has been running a simulated service since December, with 10 round trips between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. A segment is one way between the West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale Brightline stations.

Brightline President Patrick Goddard on Thursday hailed the launch of Brightline as a "transformative" moment for South Florida. Eventually, the train will run between Miami and Orlando.

The news comes as Brightline launched its mobile app and new website.

"We are thrilled to have South Florida preview Brightline with the launch of introductory service", said Patrick Goddard, Brightline President and Chief Operating Officer.

Brightline had earlier planned to begin service in July 2017, but then delayed that to the week of January 8. Construction on Phase 2, connecting to the Orlando International Airport, will begin in 2018.

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