Virgin Trains USA gears up for a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday in Orlando, Phase 2 work on its $4 billion higher-speed railroad already is underway north of West Palm Beach, according to the company.
Work through the Treasure and Space coasts has begun “simultaneously,” said Michael Hicks, spokesman for Virgin Trains USA, the passenger service previously known as Brightline and All Aboard Florida.
The trains already run between Miami and West Palm Beach, and officials remain staunch that they expect the train to be able to launch service to Orlando International Airport by 2022.
All the while, local officials are evaluating what comes next for them. Issues remain with safety and location of a new station. For some, their top question still is whether the controversial 32 daily trains will roll through their communities at all.
Construction between West Palm Beach and Cocoa will be done last, Hicks said, and will include installing a second track along the 129-mile stretch and replacing 19 bridges.
Virgin Trains is evaluating Fort Pierce, Stuart and locations in Brevard County for potential stops, Hicks said, among other sites.
In Brevard County, which generally has supported the railroad project from the outset, County Commission Vice Chairman Bryan Lober said he supports privately-funded passenger service, such as Virgin Trains, provides an alternative form of transportation and reduces congestion on highways.