Work Continues on Virgin Train From Miami to Orlando Despite Theme Park Closure
The theme parks may be currently shuttered in Orlando but that hasn’t stopped the new Virgin train link from South Florida to Orlando to go ahead as planned.
According to a recent report on Fox35, Michael Ceglis, Virgin Trains Executive Vice President Rail Infrastructure said, “We’re proceeding and proceeding on schedule.” He added, “We’ve been able to absorb the impact so far, with the impacts being change in work procedures, change in cleaning procedures, sanitation, change in social distancing.”
That being said, rail line officials are quick to point out that adjustments have been made to daily operations to ensure worker safety. “Our linear type of construction, building a 168-mile railroad, means that by nature, the workforce is more spread out than they would be, in building a building,” said Cegelis.
He also said that finding skilled workers hasn’t been a problem during the pandemic. “Because of the shutdown of other construction projects in the region, more work crews have been available, so we’re seeing our contractors be able to relocate crews from projects that have stopped, onto our project,” said Cegelis. That includes some 750 workers across the 168-mile route.
Virgin reports that as of going to print the project is about 30% complete. Ceglis added, “The rail infrastructure project is crucial to our region, so we need to finish it and get it in service to begin to improve our mobility options.” He continues, “We feel responsible to maintain their incomes, their paychecks so that they can support their families, so we can keep the economy moving.”
The construction project includes the restoration of the double-track on the existing Florida East Coast Railway from West Palm Beach to Cocoa as well as a 125-mile line from there to Orlando International Airport. Once running the system will offer high-speed rail travel between these two main cities with trains reaching speeds of up to 125 mph.
Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Disney also went public with the news that they were in talks with Brightline (soon to be Virgin Trains USA) regarding building a station near Walt Disney World as part of a route that would extend the services to Tampa, Florida. There’s no word yet on what impact the COVID-19 closure will have on this phase of the project.
The new railway link is set to make its debut before December of 2022 and could revolutionize the way those in the South of Florida travel to the theme parks.
The railway is on schedule to be completed by December 2022.
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Source: Fox 35