MELBOURNE, Florida. – Brightline will be one step closer to opening in Orlando after a round of high-speed testing in Brevard County.
High-speed testing is scheduled to begin as early as Friday in Brevard County, where trains will reach speeds of 110 mph, officials said at a press conference Tuesday morning in Melbourne. Testing will take place on a 41-mile stretch of track with multiple railroad crossings throughout Brevard County including Cocoa, Rockledge, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Malabar, Grant Valkaria and Mikko (see full list below).
Testing will take place every day from 9:00 to 19:00.
This testing is one of the last tests before the official opening of Brightline in Orlando.
“We are very excited. We’re going to start service in just a few weeks,” Brightline’s Kathy Mitzner said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It took decades, and for the last four years we have been building in Orlando.
“So seeing the trains go by doing this testing is very exciting to see how it goes and we’re excited to be open for Orlando in just a couple of weeks.”
Brightline also implemented millions of dollars of improvements ahead of Brightline’s Orlando opening.
“We’ve made all the engineering improvements, but it really comes down to human behavior,” Mitzner said. “The Brightline train takes a mile to stop. Once you see the Brightline train approaching, it’s too late. You must always follow the laws at railroad crossings and stay off the tracks.”
When is Brightline in Orlando open?
Tickets are on sale now, and Brightline’s first flights will begin on September 1, the Labor Day holiday weekend.
LEARN MORE: How much are Brightline train tickets? When can I purchase them?
Security improvements ahead of Brightline’s opening in Orlando
During high-speed train testing, residents may expect additional waiting time at railroad crossings in the testing area. Flaggers will be present at railroad crossings in addition to local law enforcement who will operate along the testing corridor.
The Melbourne Police Department has launched a rail safety awareness campaign in which officers actively patrolling the rail corridor will distribute rail safety materials to drivers and pedestrians. They will also strictly enforce the laws on trespassing on railroad tracks and at level crossings. This campaign will run until August.
In addition to these security measures, Brightline has implemented several of its own, including new barriers, signal systems, pedestrian gates, sidewalk markings, and roadway profiles. These improvements vary from cross to cross.
Railroad crossings will also have quadruple gates, or dividers, to prevent drivers from avoiding lowered crossing gates in areas where train speeds exceed 79 mph, Brightline said.
Brightline Safety Tips for Drivers, Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Here are a few safety reminders, according to Brightline:
Can Brightline open a station in Brevard County?
Mitzner said the Brightline station on the Space Coast has always been a “vision”, but now the focus is on Orlando.
“We will continue talking about where these future stations will be,” she said.
Brightline railroad crossings in Brevard County
Here is a list of railroad crossings that Brightline will pass through during the high-speed test in Brevard County. Flaggers will be present at all railroad crossings where speeds exceed 79 mph when testing is actively underway.