Brightline Qualification Runs Now Underway Between West Palm Beach and Brevard County
By Space Coast Daily // January 18, 2022
trains are NOT carrying passengers
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Brightline has begun the new year with a critical step toward the completion of its intercity rail system connecting Miami and Orlando.
Starting Monday, Brightline began running qualifying trains between West Palm Beach and Cocoa.
The trains will be an opportunity for locomotive engineers and train conductors to learn the tracks and territory along a 130 mile stretch of the corridor.
The trains will not carry passengers.
Qualifying trains will operate one round trip a day and are expected to occur daily through 2022. Qualifying runs are the federally approved approach to familiarize certified engineers and conductors with new rail territory.
Operating a train requires engineers and conductors to be intimately familiar with the rail corridor, including road crossings, signals, curves and speed restrictions.
During qualifying runs, Brightline train crews will work with a manager already qualified on the territory, who will provide oversight and instruction.
Brightline trains will be operating at freight speeds, with maximum speeds of 60 miles per hour. For qualifying runs, Brightline trains will NOT be operating faster than 60 miles per hour.
Per federal statute, Brightline and freight trains will be required to blow the horn as they approach at-grade crossings or in an emergency situation.
Brightline is reminding the public, pedestrians, motorists and cyclists to make safe choices around trains and crossings, always expect a train and obey all traffic laws and signals around crossings.
The safety message is simple: look, listen, live.
■ Do not drive or walk around crossing gates when they are down. It is dangerous and illegal.
■ Remain alert and aware when near railroad tracks, remember trains operate in both directions.
■ Only cross the tracks at a railroad crossing and never walk alongside the tracks, which is dangerous and illegal.
■ Never stop on the tracks.
Construction on Brightline’s extension to Orlando is more than 70% complete and spans from the Brightline West Palm Beach station to the Orlando station at Orlando International Airport.
To date, the project employs more than 1,300 workers who have worked 4.7 million man hours. The north-south corridor between West Palm Beach and Cocoa includes 156 railroad crossings that are being upgraded with safety improvements.
Improvements have been completed on more than half of the crossings with the additional crossing work to be completed this year.
Brightline expects to reach substantial completion of the Orlando extension by the end of 2022 and begin service in early 2023.