A new train set to connect Palm Beach to Miami just passed another milestone. Brightline, the only privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, just debuted its first trainset, BrightBlue.
Comprised of two locomotives and four coaches, the trainset is housed at its new railroad operations facility, Workshop b, in West Palm Beach, Florida. The first trainset was manufactured by Siemens in their Sacramento, California, facility and is 100 percent Buy America compliant, using components from more than 40 suppliers across more than 20 states.
For accessibility, Brightline exceeds ADA compliance standards and provides wheelchair access from end-to-end during boarding. To do this, Brightline trains incorporate level boarding and use automated retractable platforms that are integrated into the train car door systems. Prior to the doors’ opening, the platforms extend up to 12 inches from the train and pivot to create a flush surface for passengers to cross from platform to train, also making it easy for those with mobility challenges, pushing strollers or rolling luggage to board.
Brightline’s interior aisles are 32 inches, providing space for wheelchairs and strollers to easily move throughout the coach with access to all areas, including the restrooms. Interior vestibule doors also slide open and close automatically, so guests can seamlessly move between coaches.
On each trainset, there is one Select coach and three Smart coaches. With both options, riders can reserve specific seats when booking tickets through Brightline’s mobile application, website or station kiosks. Each product will offer a range of amenities and pricing. Riders will also be able to add additional items, such as parking and ground transportation to their booking.
In the Select coach, the custom-designed ergonomic leather seats are 21 inches wide and, in the Smart coach, the seats are 19 inches wide, with in-seat recline, sliding down and back so as not to compromise legroom of fellow passengers. The Select coach has 49 seats in a configuration of two seats across the aisle from a single. There are two quad seating groups and two single groups with a table in the middle for those who wish to converse or work together during the trip. In each of the Smart coaches, there are 66 seats (except for the end car that has 58), with double seats across the aisle from each other and eight quad configurations with a table.
Single and double seats have a drop-down multi-task tray that serves a dual purpose. An inner small table can be used alone for a smartphone or glasses and a larger table can be added for items such as laptops, books and food. Brightline is offering complimentary Wi-Fi, powered by multiple antennas on every train, so guests can bring their own devices and have instant connectivity. To power those devices, there are numerous built-in power outlets and USB connections (under the armrests, in the seat pedestals), and in pop-up style table units, so that guests have easy access. Large windows have been designed and aligned with all seats to offer unobstructed scenic views. High ceilings and open luggage shelves also aim to create a welcoming and inviting ambiance. Every aisle seat has an ergonomic metal grip handle for guests that are walking through the train or placing bags in the overhead space.
For checked baggage, there is a compartment at the end of the last Smart coach. There are luggage towers in each coach for larger carry-on bags, as well as overhead luggage racks and under-seat storage for small personal items. To encourage more car-free transportation, Brightline also welcomes bikes. There are bike racks on every train, so guests can ride their bike to the station and bring it onboard with them. For those that can’t leave home without their pets, Brightline is pet-friendly. Small pets can be placed in carriers under the seat and special carriers will be available for larger animals.
Each coach includes a spacious restroom that is ADA accessible and has a touchless environment. The toilet has a touchless flush, where guests just wave their hand to flush it. For those who forget to flush, it will automatically take care of that when the door is opened. The sink is integrated into the vanity area that also includes a large back-lit mirror. Each restroom also includes a Dyson faucet that both dispenses water and dries hands from the same fixture, eliminating water dripping onto the floor
Four additional trainsets are being built by nearly 1,000 employees at Siemens 60-acre rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento. Brightline expects delivery of these trainsets by spring in four hues: BrightPink, BrightRed, BrightOrange and BrightGreen.
The first trainset is expected to begin testing on a 10-mile test track south of Workshop b next week. Construction of Brightline’s train stations in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami is rushing toward completion. Brightline is scheduled to begin express inter-city service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach this summer.