USA: The first locomotives and coaches for the privately-funded Brightline inter-city passenger service between Miami and West Palm Beach in Florida were unveiled at Siemens’ Sacramento plant on June 7.

The initial Brightline service is expected to launch in 2017, using five trainsets each comprising four coaches with a total capacity of 240 passengers, top-and-tailed with Siemens diesel-electric locomotives. The 200 km/h Charger locomotives will be similar to those which Siemens is building for various US states, and will be fitted with Tier 4 emissions compliant 4 400 hp Cummins QSK95 engines.

The stainless steel passenger coaches are the first to be manufactured by Siemens in the USA. Fully-compliant with ADA accessibility requirements and designed for level boarding without steps, they will be painted in bright colours and will offer wi-fi, power sockets, bicycle and luggage space and be ‘pet friendly’. Siemens will maintain the fleet at a new depot in West Palm Beach.

The US$2·5bn Brightline project is being developed by All Aboard Florida, a private venture owned by Florida East Coast Industries. The first phase of the new service starting in 2017 will connect Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach using the existing Florida East Coast Railway. An hourly service of 16 trains each way per day is planned, with a maximum speed of 125 km/h on the mixed traffic corridor.

A second phase would see the construction of a new 60 km passenger-only line suitable for 200 km/h running along the State Road 528 corridor between Cocoa and Orlando International Airport, to complete a 385 km corridor from Miami. The Brightline fleet would then be expanded to 10 seven-car sets carrying 356 passengers.

  • A detailed feature article based on an interview with the All Aboard Florida project promoters appeared in the October 2015 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.