USA: A weekend of celebrations entitled ‘Welcome to the 305!’, referencing the city’s historic telephone code, marked the launch of Brightline inter-city services to Miami on May 19.

Brightline’s first public trains ran in January over the 74 km between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The extension to Miami extends this by a further 46 km. The standard journey time between West Palm Beach and Miami Central is 1 h 20 min.

Owned by the All Aboard Florida subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, Brightline runs medium-speed inter-city trains over the route of the Florida East Coast Railway first built by entrepreneur Henry Flagler. It shares tracks with FEC freight trains, which limits its maximum speed to 160 km/h.

The 4·5 ha terminus at MiamiCentral is a new elevated development intended to catalyse property development opportunities in the city centre. It is close to Government Center station which provides interchange between the city’s metro and peoplemover networks. Both Amtrak and the Tri-Rail commuter rail operation use stations in the Hialeah district northwest of central Miami.

Subsequent phases of the Brightline project envisage an extension north from West Palm Beach to Orlando Airport, including some new alignment designed for 200 km/h operation. All Aboard Florida hopes that this section could be open by the end of 2020.