Southside Business Leader: Big wheels keep on turning

By Howard Hubler

The new Brightline rail trains are opening up new line extensions every several months or so. Soon you’ll be able to get on a train in Miami and take it all the way to Orlando and visit all your favorite theme parks in about two hours.

People shop online for vacation plane tickets; now you have a choice between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Orlando airports. If the cheapest ticket is somewhere else, a family of four is about $100 away from an exciting one- or two-hour trip to wherever your ultimate destination may be along the rail line. This train is the nation’s newest and probably most efficient high-speed rail.

At one point in the journey it goes up to 120 miles an hour. What makes this train unique amongst other new train experiments is that this train is privately owned.

It whispers by comparison to the clinging and rattling of a freight train going by. My wife Janet and I landed in Miami and took a transit to the nearby rail terminal. We bought a deluxe ticket for $27 which allowed us to sit in a high-end lounge. We worked our way to a room that was a very modern bar and café, and all the drinks and food are free!

Our upscale ticket also got us an upscale rail car. Yes, you got it, you can order anything that you want to drink or eat here, and yes, it is all free.

Several months from now the Orlando station is scheduled to open. Let’s say you look for tickets for airports all along the line and that Fort Lauderdale is $100 cheaper than the rest. Hoosiers can take their spouse and two high school kids on an amazing journey through a train going anywhere from 80 to 120 miles an hour. Yes, four first-class tickets may cost $125 total, but a couple of relaxing hours later you are whisked in Orlando and a shuttle takes you to Disney World. You saved $400 on the family’s plane tickets. As Hoosiers know, choices are good.