All Aboard Florida on Monday began construction on a rail repair facility that will service its Brightline trains when they begin shuttling passengers between South Florida and Orlando next year.
The facility, just north of downtown West Palm Beach, will be used to repair, maintain, clean and store Brightline’s trains, All Aboard officials said. About 50 people will work out of the 12-are site at 601 15th Street, which is also expected to serve as an office for the company’s conductors, engineers, and on-board service staff.
Initially, five Brightline trains will be housed at the site, officials said.
“Every morning when the train services begin, the train will be leaving from this area,” said Adrian Share, Brightline’s executive vice president of rail infrastructure.
Crews for Archer Western, the firm selected to build the facility, started preliminary work at the site this fall. On Monday, the construction team poured the first batch of concrete in what will become a “maintenance pit.” The pit will allow Brightline crews to work underneath trains to perform required inspections and other daily service.
As part of the project, a warehouse on the site, which had previously been used by the Florida East Coast Railway, is being converted to offices, crew quarters and training rooms.
Brightline officials said they plan to have several full-time employees working at the site. Siemens, the company contracted to build and to perform maintenance work on the trains, will also have employees at the repair facility, officials said.
The repair facility is expected to be completed in July and ready for use in August, Share said.
Monday’s work marks another milestone for the company, which plans to run 32 trains a day along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks with stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The company plans to launch service between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2017. The West Palm Beach-to-Orlando span is expected to begin by the end of 2017.
“This is a transformative transportation project and it really does change the way people live,” said Adrian Share, Brightline’s executive vice president of rail infrastructure. “Everything we are doing here is state of the art in terms of design and construction.”
Construction has started on the company’s four stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, and crews in South Florida have begun work needed to add a second track to the Florida East Coast Railway line.
Brightline’s trains are under construction at Siemens’ solar-powered plant in Sacramento, Calif. The shell of the first passenger coach is expected to be completed next week, Brightline officials said.