V-shaped concrete columns will pop up early next year at the sites of the All Aboard Florida passenger train stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, where the 50-foot-tall columns eventually will become glowing downtown landmarks.
All Aboard Florida finished testing the after-dark LED lighting scheme for the columns Wednesday. At the station construction site in downtown Fort Lauderdale, workers have tested different light fixtures and filters on a full-size Styrofoam mockup of a V-shaped column for the last two weeks.
“You’ll start to see these columns [in Fort Lauderdale] and the ones in West Palm Beach come up in the next couple of months,” said Scott Sanders, executive vice president, development and construction, for All Aboard Florida and its Brightline passenger train service. The service is scheduled to start running between Miami and Orlando in mid-2017.
“The Brightline brand we introduced last month is all about bright colors,” Sanders said, referring to All Aboard Florida’s recent release of the images of the passenger trains the company will operate. “What we’re doing is experimenting with different light styles and systems to find exactly the right one …. We’re looking at four or five.”
The lighting of the V-shaped columns will serve as a visual guide to train arrivals and other activity at the Brightline train stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach as well as in Miami, where the V-shaped columns will be 70 feet tall and not only will support passenger platforms but also will elevate the train track over a four-block area. “We had to lift trains up in the air because [otherwise] they would block all the streets,” Sanders.
“We want to animate the buildings at night,” he said, “so when you walk into the station, there are bright colors that lead you to obvious conclusions about how you should proceed through the facility … especially if you’re an international visitor and you don’t speak the language and you’re uncomfortable with that.”
The lighted V-shaped columns are part of the design of the three Brightline stations in South Florida but not the fourth station at Orlando International Airport, which has “the architectural character of the airport,” Sanders said.
Overall, the $3 billion All Aboard project will link Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach by rail, with a final stop at the Orlando airport. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP is designing the three stations in association with Zyscovich Architects. The trains will allow passengers to ride from Miami to Fort Lauderdale in 26 to 28 minutes; from Miami to West Palm Beach in less than an hour; and to Orlando in less than three hours, All Aboard said.
Brightline will launch with five, four-car trains with capacity for 240 passengers each. The service plans to double that by June 2018, with ten sets of seven-car trains that can hold 356 passengers.
Click here to see a video of the lighting test: