- Federal Railroad Administration – fra.dot.gov
- FDOT – dot.state.fl.us/rail
- Florida East Coast Railway – Freight
HISTORY OF RAIL IN BREVARD
Brevard County has had rail services since late 1885 when the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railroad line arrived in Titusville. Although regular passenger rail services are currently no longer operating in Brevard, Florida East Coast Railway maintains and owns all of the 351-miles of mainline track from Jacksonville to Miami, transporting tons of cargo freeing our roadways from hundreds of trucks daily.
The Space Coast TPO has facilitated the study of both the applicability of “quiet zones” and a Passenger Rail Station Location Study. Below are resources and documents currently available related to rail initiatives in Brevard.
BRIGHTLINE/VIRGIN TRAINS – New Passenger Rail service from Miami to Orlando
Brightline (also known as Virgin Trains), is the first privately funded passenger rail system in America in over a century. Brightline is designed to reinvent travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too close to fly and too long to drive.
The first phase of this new venture has been completed and currently operates between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
Phase 2 of the construction between West Palm Beach to Orlando via Cocoa is underway. The company is double tracking the corridor, improving signaling systems and upgrading every grade crossing to meet the applicable safety standards set by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration. Part of the safety upgrades includes installing positive train control (PTC), which will enhance their ability to monitor and control train movements. The segment between Cocoa and Orlando is the only segment that does not have existing track.
The Orlando station is part of the new Orlando International Airport Intermodal Terminal. Phase 2 Service is anticipated to begin running late 2022.
or contact Brightline Public Affairs: 407-502-3587 or e-mail.
For more information about Brightline/Virgin Trains, please visit their website at gobrightline.com.
FUTURE EXPANSION OF BRIGHTLINE/VIRGIN TRAINS
After passenger rail service to Orlando is established, the company has expressed interest in adding a future station in Cocoa on the Space Coast and the Treasure Coast (Fort Pierce or Stuart). The company is also looking into expanding and developing a connection between Orlando to Tampa.
SCTPO PASSENGER RAIL STATION LOCATION STUDY
In 2015, the Space Coast TPO conducted a passenger rail study in response to the prospect that passenger rail services may return to Brevard via Virgin Trains, a new private endeavor to provide higher speed passenger train service between Miami and Orlando. This was determined to be an opportunity to advance the County’s public transportation vision, as described in the TPO’s adopted 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, and support the region’s economy and tourism industries. The TPO has been encouraging Virgin Trains to add a station in Brevard County upon the start up of service between Orlando and West Palm. The results of this study have been provided to Virgin Trains and they are open to conducting a revenue study to finalize where best to locate a station.
SCTPO Resolution 16-14 – Resolution endorsing future passenger rail station locations in Central and South Brevard County and a preferred location.
RAILROAD QUIET ZONE ANALYSIS
The Space Coast TPO coordinated an analysis in 2014 to assess the applicability of “quiet zones” at specific locations along the Florida East Coast (FEC) rail corridor. The analysis was conducted to address concerns by local jurisdictions and citizens about increased warning horn noise along the railway due to the frequency of the passenger trains to be running by Virgin Trains, anticipated to start in 2022.
Quiet Zone Technical Memorandum – September, 2014 (Large File ~ 38 MG)
SCTPO Resolution 15-12 – Resolution authorizing the SCTPO to coordinate the application for quiet zone designation at grade crossings along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor in Brevard County – October 9, 2014
Quiet Zone Status – Virgin Trains is beginning construction to expand its passenger rail services from West Palm to Orlando Airport. It is expected construction in Brevard County will take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 years and all at grade crossings will receive safety improvements necessary to meet quiet zone requirements. Upon completion of construction of all safety features and updating the crossing inventory to the Federal Rail Administration, an application will be submitted to have a quiet zone established in Brevard for all crossings from SR 528 south to Indian River County. The quiet zone would apply to both cargo (freight) and passenger trains.