There’s been a big update on the situation with the Brightline Train that’ll eventually take passengers around Orlando.
We’ve been watching for updates on the train for a while. The train’s station at the Orlando International Airport’s NEW Terminal C is set to open in 2023, but where will the train’s path go from there? There had been some debate on the issue and Disney World ultimately canceled the plans to have a station in Disney Springs. Now we’ve got some more news on the plan.
There had been some serious debate as to what path the Brightline train would take in Orlando from the airport to Disney World (or, rather an area “NEAR” Disney World now that the Disney Springs station has been canceled).
In early 2022, a plan finally came together that could be the solution to these issues. That plan was called the Sunshine Corridor Program. Through this arrangement, Brightline would actually lease some existing tracks from the SunRail commuting company. The Brightline train route would go from the airport past the Orange County Convention center, down South International Drive, and then near Disney World.
And now it seems like that plan is finally taking a big step forward. According to the Orlando Business Journal, the SunRail Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission (the governing board for SunRail) unanimously voted on September 22nd to APPROVE a resolution in support of the Sunshine Corridor program.
The Brightline train route is expected to go from the Orlando International Airport to a stop near Universal Orlando Resort’s Epic Universe and the Orange County Convention Center. There would also be a stop “near” Disney World on South International Drive. And Brightline would later be able to expand to Tampa through the Sunshine Corridor plan.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who is also the chairman of the SunRail governing board, has indicated that this resolution will help local Orlando governments “go after federal funding for the expansion.”
Mayor Dyer shared, “We wanted to be able to show [the Federal Transit Administration] and the rest of the [U.S. Department of Transportation] administration that we are united as a region behind this, and we also wanted to show our private partners like Brightline and the tourist interests that we are supporting it on the public side, as well.”
Dyer said that “discussions on federal funds” could be key to critical decisions about whether the project will be kept as one big plan or split up into different phases. It’ll all depend on how much and what type of funding they can get.
Things are only just getting started though. Next on the agenda will be the finalization of a study for the corridor. It’s expected to be done by mid to late October. That study will help to develop an estimate of costs for the project.
Local business interests appear to be in support of the shared corridor. The president and CEO of the I-Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce, Maria Triscari, said that this will help connect SunRail with the airport and employees within various areas of Orlando.
While things are moving forward, we’re still a ways away from hopping on this train to get around Orlando. The station at the airport is set to open in 2023, which will help connect Orlando to Miami. We’ll then have to see how long it takes to build the tracks from the airport to the stops in Orlando and off to Tampa. Previously, it had been estimated that the train wouldn’t start transporting guests around Orlando until 2026.
And there are still many questions left to be answered. How close will the station “near” Disney World actually be to the resort? Will it be worth a ride given these changes (and the fact that there will NOT be a station at Disney Springs)? We’ll have to wait and see.
Speaking of the airport and the Brightline Station there, the station will open in 2023 at the brand NEW Terminal C. Terminal C has just opened and we took a look INSIDE — you can check that out here. The new terminal features a Disney store, and restaurants from the people behind some popular spots like Homecomin’, Wine Bar George, and The Polite Pig. There is also an updated security system, interactive elements, and more.
If you’ll be heading to an airport soon or just doing some traveling, we’ve got all kinds of tips and tricks to help your vacation go smoothly. Click here to see your ultimate guide to AVOIDING extra airline fees, click here to learn what to do when an airline breaks your luggage, or click here to get ALL the details about navigating ground transportation when traveling with a baby.
Stay tuned for more updates.
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