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Front Page » Transportation » Virgin Train to run from PortMiami to Disney World

Virgin Train to run from PortMiami to Disney World

Written by on October 29, 2019
Virgin Train to run from PortMiami to Disney World

Within three years, Florida’s visitors and residents may be able to go to Disney World or Universal Studios, then take a Virgin Train directly from Orlando International Airport to PortMiami and board a cruise ship – or vice versa.

That potential boon to the Sunshine State’s tourism industry moved closer to reality Tuesday, when Miami-Dade lawmakers unanimously OK’d terms of an estimated $53.3 million project with Virgin to build a station at the state’s leading economic generator by 2020.

The item, sponsored by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, authorizes Mayor Carlos Giménez to negotiate those terms with Virgin Trains USA, a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries that still operates as Brightline.

“This is a first-of-its-kind train to port station that will connect the cruise capital of the world with a car-free option for millions of cruisers looking to start their vacation a little earlier,” Virgin Trains President Patrick Goddard said in a statement. “This is a tremendous partnership and infrastructure investment between PortMiami, Miami-Dade County and Brightline that will increase mobility, take cars off the road and provide our state’s visitors an easier way to get around.”

The county expects to receive $49 million in rent and passenger fees over the deal’s 30-year initial term, a memo from Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt says.

The deal also includes provisions for a 20-year renewal at Virgin’s option plus two extra 20-year renewals subject to mutual agreement between the county and Virgin.

If all three renewals are tapped for a maximum 90 years, the county expects to collect $490 million.

Costs for the project include $15.4 million to build the 20,500-square-foot station on at least one acre of the seaport, $35 million for a 240-passenger train set and other overruns to be paid by Virgin.

The county would invest $5.2 million, for which it would be repaid through a $2 fee per departing rail passenger.

Jean Monestime, the only commissioner on the dais to comment on the item, said he hoped the fee would be charged to cruise ships’ passengers “instead of just a segment of the population.”

Neither Ms. Sosa nor any other commissioner moved to amend the item.

For the first 10 years of the accord, Virgin would agree to not operate a train station at any other port.

The company would pay all operations and maintenance costs for the stations, trains and customer service, including passenger shuttles to cruise terminals.

Virgin would also upgrade its tracks at the seaport as part of the development. However, it would still have to share the tracks with other rail operators “actual and future,” the memo says.

The deal also includes provisions for Virgin to relocate to another site at the port “that would serve as a more optimal location” or use space at that site for supplemental purposes.

Since starting service in January 2018, Virgin Trains, backed by New York-based Fortress Investment Group, has built three stations, bought five train sets and made broad infrastructure investments in Florida totaling $2 billion, according to the company’s prospectus.

Virgin this month launched Phase II of a multibillion-dollar project connecting its West Palm Beach station to Orlando, with potential stops in Fort Pierce and Stuart. The company estimates completing Phase II, which includes laying more than 170 miles of new tracks, will take about three years.

11 Responses to Virgin Train to run from PortMiami to Disney World

  1. Michael

    October 30, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Ironic. It will be easier to fly to Orlando than to Miami to take a cruise from Miami. It would make things much easier and advantageous to Miami if there was a more seamless connection between MIA and the port.

  2. B. Gaber

    October 30, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks to our Commissioners and vergin Managers in making this possible. Everyone I spoke to about this is excited and cannot wait for it to start. It is the best idea ever .

    • Rube. G

      November 6, 2019 at 7:22 am

      Take an uber lol.

  3. AJ Reddy

    October 30, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Most Important, will the station have connectors to the 5 different terminals under construction? If not it will be useless. How do people that get off the Port Station reach the RC, Carnival, Norwegian etc terminals with their lugaage?

    • spuwho

      October 31, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      There is already shuttle bus that runs through the parking garages/lots today that makes stops at all the terminals. Same shuttles will come through the port station as well. Not a biggie.


    October 31, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Looks a very good proyect and that the people that are in charge will think
    in the details.

  5. Jose Roeder

    October 31, 2019 at 8:34 am

    connectors to the different terminals? Good questions the system needs to be integrated somehow not drop of people at point A and fend for yourself.

  6. Greg Schenk

    November 5, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Can’t wait to try it all
    Is there a map from Miami airport to Orlando showing route and stops

  7. maria napoles

    November 7, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    I do run an art gallery in the area of City of Miami, El Portal Village, Little Haiti . etc etc

    I do travel on regular base between, Miami, Miramar, Fort Laudeerdale, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale Hill ( related to art busiiness ). call events

    the briar train goes back and forth at all times ( empty ) without more terminal stops ( it is a waste of taxpayers money ) If, this is part of the plan until under sources, investments and population data surveys can be manipulate to request more money from the State Capital or even Federal .. I understant BUT do not sell me that it is the answer to our mayor congested traffic jam almost at all times between Counties

  8. Michael

    November 8, 2019 at 7:52 am

    I think it’s wonderful that Virgin has taken over the corridor. It would be equally nice to bring back our Rail system in general everywhere in this country. RR have a beautiful scenery if it’s done the proper way.
    Is Virgin willing to Purchase Amtrak and can we get a direct line from NYC to Florida. (Obviously I’m joking..not really)

  9. Pat storts

    November 13, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    This will cost too much money for most people. Better to fly into Orlando and take shuttle or rent car to hotel for trip to Disney. The trains are said to be 32 trains back and forth disrupting Floridian lives daily. It is an excuse for cargo being transported frm the cargo ships in the ports. Passenger trains cannot support train service. Cargo is where the big money and profits come frm. Eventually the canal in Nicaragua will be built by the Japanese for cargo ships to compete with the Panama Canal bring goods into our Florida ports, loaded up on trains to be shipped out on Virgin Trains. It shud of been built on the center of the exsisting highways And expressways ..