If all goes to plan, we could be riding a train from Orlando International Airport directly to Disney World in the future.
But, that’s the thing — there’s still a LOT left to plan. Recently, we shared that one division from the State of Florida essentially set a deadline for Brightlight to meet when it comes to some necessary agreements and plans for its route from the airport through a Disney station and on to Tampa. Today, we got an update on those plans, potential complications, and when the train to Disney World could be operating!
According to the Orlando Sentinel, earlier today, Brightline shared a more detailed explanation on potential costs and routes from Orlando International Airport to the Disney World station. Currently, two different routes appear to be under consideration. One route would piggyback on Road 417 through Hunters Creek. Another route would go along State Road 528 to International Drive. You can see the 2 routes identified below.
Brightline has indicated that the two routes are about the same in terms of length. The 417 route was dawn by Brightline. The SR 528 route, on the other hand, comes from a 2010 proposal for a high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.
The 417 route, which is the one Brightline prefers, would cost $1.03 billion, require 342,000 square feet of bridges, and involve 3 private properties. It would also offer “efficient sharing of corridor space with a proposed SunRail link between the airport and its main line.” But, Hunters Creek residents are worried about the noise and vibration from trains running parallel to SR 417.
The SR 528 route, on the other hand, would cost $2.1 billion, require 1.9 million square feet in bridges, affect over 70 private properties, and involve a complex arrangement with SunRail. Proponents of this route want it to be used because they want Brighline to link the Orlando airport to International Drive’s tourism areas and Orange County Convention Center hotels.
A Brightline executive has noted that they prefer the 417 route and that they feel there are other, better ways to connect International Drive and the Convention Center area to the airport.
A Brightline executive has spoken with leaders of the Central Florida Expressway Authority, which owns much of SR 417 and SR 528. One board member has asked for more analysis on costs and other factors.
Here’s a peek at part of the proposed routes specifically as they get close to Walt Disney World property.
The expansion from the airport to Disney was previously targeting a 2023 opening. But, according to the Sentinel, passenger service from the airport to the Disney Springs station is now slated to start in 5 years. That means, guests may not be able to ride on those trains until 2026.
In the meantime, Brightline is working on more stations in Florida. Currently, it has a service from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. That has been suspended due to the pandemic, but is expected to be operational again by the end of this year.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Brighline is 50% complete in its extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando’s airport. That extension is set to begin passenger service in 2023 (previously it was set for a 2022 opening, but it appears that has been delayed).
So, it seems we might have to wait just a bit longer to take that train from the airport to Disney World. In the meantime, Brightline still has a lot of work to do regarding agreements with local and state authorities, the selection of the route from the airport to Disney, the expansion from there to Tampa, and more.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as we learn more.
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Would you be interested in taking the train to Disney World? Let us know in the comments.