The Year In Review at Brightline
December 28, 2016
As we look back at 2016, privately owned and operated Brightline is well on its way to reinventing what train travel is in America, creating a much-needed Florida transportation alternative that will positively impact the lives of millions of commuters and travelers.
Next summer, Brightline will celebrate the launch of service with the company’s state-of-the-art passenger trains running between Miami and Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Riders will be able to skip the notorious South Florida traffic jams and instead relish the comfort of travel by train.
Brightline is proud of the many milestones achieved in 2016 and looks forward with great anticipation to the year ahead.
Here’s what we achieved in 2016:
Station construction milestones
Construction was underway on MiamiCentral, Downtown Miami’s newest mixed-use development and the Brightline hub, as well as the new train stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Concrete was poured and Brightline’s iconic “V” architectural features were raised, as local community leaders joined in celebrations of construction milestones. In July, the first massive precast Florida I-beam, produced in Tampa and trucked to Miami, was lifted into place at MiamiCentral. By September, the Fort Lauderdale train station and the West Palm Beach train station were topped out and ready for interior outfitting, and construction of parking facilities was also underway. In late November, 3 MiamiCentral, the office building adjacent to MiamiCentral in Overtown, was topped out. This building will become Brightline’s headquarters next spring.
Trains Take Shape
In Sacramento, California, in January, Brightline and manufacturer Siemens celebrated as the stainless steel shell of the first passenger coach was completed. The 85-foot-long shell was built using a first-of-its kind spot-welding technology. In June, the first engine was installed in the first diesel-electric Brightline locomotive – the fuel-efficient Cummins QSK95 engine was built in Indiana and weighs 31,000 pounds. By September, the first Brightline locomotive successfully completed initial testing on a quarter-mile track in Sacramento. And in December, the first Brightline train set consisting of two locomotives and four coaches was completed and made a 3,000 mile journey from California to Florida via rail. More than 1,000 Siemen’s employees are involved in the construction of the Brightline trains, with components coming from more than 40 suppliers in more than 20 states.
The Big Reveal
In June, Brightline invited media to California to see the actual trains. Highlights, as noted in such national outlets as USA Today, CNBC and Wired magazine, include the fact the passengers coaches are fully accessible (100% ADA compliant), with custom ramps bridging the gap between the cars and station and making boarding easy for all passengers. Such features as custom-designed and ergonomic leather seats equipped with retractable trays and power and USB outlets and the trains’ high ceilings, wide aisles and thoughtfully designed restrooms also wowed the media visitors. Brightline revealed riders would be able to reserve specific seats in two Coach categories: Smart and Select. Train travel in Florida is about to get exciting!
Awards and Recognition
In April at an awards luncheon in New York, Brightline President and CEO Michael Reininger was named one of Engineering News Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers, for his overseeing of urban real estate around the three South Florida train stations. In June, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Miami-Dade recognized Reininger with the Vanguard Award, which celebrates leaders who have made a difference in bettering the South Florida community.
Coming Soon to MiamiCentral
As excitement grew about MiamiCentral, Ernst & Young LLP and Regus were named the first two anchor tenants for the development’s office tower, 2 MiamiCentral. Shortly thereafter, two more of the office tenants were announced: Cisneros, a global enterprise focused on media and entertainment, digital advertising, real estate and social leadership; and Moss & Associates, a construction firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale that focuses on general contracting, design-build and public-private partnerships throughout the United States.
There was also great news for foodies – the announcement that MiamiCentral will house CentralFare, a Miami-centric food hall. Among notable chefs opening restaurants within CentralFare are Bryan and Michael Voltaggio (known for their appearance son Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”), with their first-ever Florida venture, called Monger by the Voltaggio Brothers. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant will feature separate kitchens and coordinating dining areas to represent three distinct culinary resources: fishmonger, butcher, and green grocer. Guests will be able to curate their own meals through an interactive menu inspired by a vital yet simple part of most people’s daily lives: the grocery list.
The open area of Central Fare will take patrons on a culinary journey with a range of food and beverage offerings that are crafted by local and regional producers who focus on authentic experiences. The announced purveyors include: Azucar Ice Cream, Blackbrick Chinese, della bowls, Doggi’s, Miami Smokers, Parliament Espresso Bar, Romanico’s Chocolates, Rosetta The Italian Bakery and Toasted Bagelry & Deli. 800 Degrees Pizza, the Los Angeles-based authentic Neapolitan-style pizzeria, will open its first Florida location in CentralFare.
We are now gearing up for many more exciting milestones in 2017, culminating with the launch of the Brightline train service.