Friday marked the official start of Brightline’s passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami. The first train, Bright Pink, arrived in Orlando at 11:05 a.m. and was greeted by more than 500 elected officials, business leaders, community partners and company leaders from across the state.

The arrival of Brightline to Orlando International Airport marked the revitalization of Henry Flagler’s original vision for the Florida East Coast Railway. A decade in the making, Brightline’s launch is poised to reinvent train travel in America and offers a blueprint to connect city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive.

“We’re proud to see the advancement of our community with the start of Brightline train service today, making this important connection between our city and Miami, two of Florida’s busiest city centers, a reality. Today we provide a critical piece of that network, connecting our Orlando International Airport and multimodal hub, providing access to jobs and opportunity, supporting future growth and improving the lives of our residents, workers and travelers,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

The start of service was celebrated at the Brightline Orlando station with guests who joined Brightline’s Founder Wes Edens, CEO Mike Reininger and President Patrick Goddard. Upon the train’s arrival, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer greeted guests on the platform and presented the Key to the City to Edens who was joined by Reininger, Goddard and other Brightline representatives. Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Central Florida Expressway Authority and more, were present to greet the first train.

Brightline launched operations in South Florida in 2018, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Stations in Boca Raton and Aventura opened last year. Construction on its 170 mile extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando began in 2019. The $6 billion project has generated substantial economic benefits in Florida creating 10,000 jobs and approximately $6.4 billion in direct economic impact to the region. Construction teams worked more than seven million hours over the course of four years to complete the project.

Brightline covers 235 miles between Miami and Orlando and the new route will take between 3 and 3.5 hours depending on South Florida station stops.