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All Aboard: Brightline's Train Launches, Connects Fort Lauderdale To West Palm

After months of delay, the private company Brightline finally launched its train service from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach Friday with a preview voyage for county officials and politicians.

No one yells, ‘All Aboard!’ when you step onto one of Brightline’s trains, but the high-speed rail service does come through on its promise to get travelers from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, or viceversa, in about 35 minutes.

The trip took just 34 minutes  between the two stations, with the train traveling at 79 miles per hour.

“To all South Florida residents and visitors who are tired of sitting in traffic, I invite you to take a ride,” said Patrick Goddard, the company’s chief operating officer, and newly-promoted president, at the opening ceremony. 

One of the company’s chief investors, Wes Edens from Fortress Investment Group, announced at the opening that Brightline expects to complete construction on its Miami station and begin service between Fort Lauderdale and Miami in six to eight weeks.

inside of Brightline
Credit Caitie Switalski / WLRN
On the inside of Brightline's trains, there's full food and beverage service. Coffee and sodas will cost you $2 each.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler was also on the train at the opening. He thanked Brightline for choosing his city to be a hub on the train’s route.

“I want to thank you for investing in Fort Lauderdale,” Seiler said. “It means a lot to us that you put your money here, you put your trust here and your confidence here.”

Also onboard was Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who said she thinks Brightline's model could be a traffic solution in other congested parts of the country.

“If this goes well, I think we can replicate this in all of our urban cities,” Wilson said.

She wasn’t alone. Two congressmen from Pennsylvania and Virginia also came to see if the train was an idea they could take back to their own states.

Brightline has not released monthly pass prices for its trains yet, nor has the company said when the introductory fare will end.

For now, a one way trip will cost you $10.

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, currently leads the WLRN Newsroom as Interim Managing Editor. Prior to transitioning to leadership from production, Caitie reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.