New passenger rail service will connect Orlando to South Florida

A private developer is connecting South Florida to Orlando with a new, $1 billion passenger rail service.

Florida East Coast Industries, an affiliate of Flagler Development, announced its plan to combine 200 miles of existing tracks between Miami and Cocoa to 40 miles of new tracks it is building to develop the first ever rail service between South and Central Florida.The project, called All Aboard Florida, calls for stations in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami and Orlando. The train would connect to existing public transit services in these cities.

Eventually, FECI hopes to add service in Tampa and Jacksonville.

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The developer excpects regular service between Orlando and Miami to begin in 2014. The three hour trip could alleviate highway congestion for the more than 50 million people that travel between the regions each year, FECI said.

All Aboard Florida will generate 6,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permenant operational and maintenance jobs. — Adam Fusfeld