Update on Virgin Rail’s Plans to Bring High-Speed Rail Travel to Disney World
As we previously reported here on MickeyBlog, Virgin Trains is planning to connect South Florida with Orlando via a high-speed rail network slated to include a station stop at Orlando International Airport. This week it was announced that Virgin will also open a proposed station at Walt Disney World after the airport station debuts.
As of going to print, Walt Disney World and Virgin have not yet mentioned a specific location at WDW Resort slated to be the site of the new station. The location will be subject to permit and lease negotiations over the next few years between state agencies for right-of-way access. However, is believed this station will provide a crucial link in Virgin Trains $1.7 billion rail expansion from Orlando to Tampa. For the Tampa route, Virgin Trains was working with the Florida Department of Transportation and Central Florida Expressway Authority to complete negotiations on the land by Jan. 1. However, an extension was filed to push the deadline to March 1st.
“Management estimates a Disney station would have rapid ridership adoption to over a million riders annually and that ridership would continue to grow strongly as the new travel option is expected to induce significant additional trips between South Florida and the theme parks,” said Virgin Trains’ December monthly ridership report, which was released Jan. 17.
The report also mentions that the train expansion would provide another point of access to the theme park for South Florida’s 23 million-plus annual tourists. Here at MickeyBlog we previously reported that Virgin Trains signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney regarding a potential station.
“As the top vacation destination and largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort is an obvious choice for a rail station between Orlando International Airport and Tampa,” Disney said at the time in a prepared statement. “We have been in conversations with Virgin Trains USA, and, while we have not yet made any definitive commitment, we have mutually agreed to more formally explore developing a train station on our property. Intercity passenger rail will be a boost to the local economy, and we support their investment in the Central Florida region as we continue to grow and expand
Meanwhile, Virgin Trains will continue to focus on it’s Orlando to Miami route. The project started last May and is expected to take 36 months.
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