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Rail News: Passenger Rail
Virgin Trains starts construction of Orlando-South Florida rail line
Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, yesterday began construction on the company's passenger-rail line between Orlando and southern Florida.
The rail line's second expansion phase involves 170 miles of new track that will run into the completed intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at Orlando International Airport. The project is estimated to represent $4 billion of private investment, Virgin Trains officials said in a press release.
Phase 2 construction will be conducted in four zones between Orlando and West Palm Beach. Work on the first two zones began yesterday near Virgin Trains' maintenance facility at the airport. Full scale construction of the second two zones is imminent, they said.
The construction project will include the laying of 490,000 ties and transporting 2.35 million tons of granite and limestone by 20,000 rail cars. About 2 million spikes and bolts will be hammered into place over the next 36 months.
Contractors for Phase 2 are Hubbard Construction Co., Wharton-Smith Inc., The Middlesex Corp., Granite Construction Inc. and HSR Constructors.
HSR is a joint venture of three rail and transit contractors: Herzog, Stacy and Witbeck and RailWorks Corp.
"Connecting Central and South Florida will bring thousands of jobs today and by modernizing infrastructure, we will strengthen Florida’s economy for decades,” said Virgin Trains USA President Patrick Goddard. "For a project of this scope and magnitude, a world-class construction team has been assembled to undertake this tremendous assignment and we congratulate them helping us make history.”
Currently, Virgin Trains operates passenger-rail service between Miami and West Palm Beach.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.