Digest: Brightline nears halfway mark in Orlando expansion work

News Wire Digest for Nov. 16: AECOM to do preliminary work on TEXRail expansion; Caltrain cancels Holiday Train
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Brightline says it has completed about 45% of the construction work for its expansion to Orlando.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Monday morning rail news:

Brightline expansion work about 45% complete, company says

Brightline’s northward expansion from West Palm Beach to Orlando, Fla., is about 45% complete and on target to complete construction in 2022, according to a presentation by Michael Cegelis, executive vice president of infrastructure development, during a meeting last week of the Central Florida Expressway Authority. The Orlando Business Journal reports the company’s 109,000-square-foot maintenance facility in Orlando is about one-quarter complete. Brightline’s proposed 28-mile corridor to be shared with Orlando-area commuter railroad SunRail was also discussed, which would allow Brightline to reach Walt Disney World and bring SunRail to the Orlando airport. Still to be negotiated is the lease of right-of-way for a planned extension to Tampa, which will involve agencies including the expressway authority, Florida Department of Transportation, Oralndo Utilites Commission, and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

AECOM to do environmental, engineering studies for TEXRail extension to medical district
Infrastructure consulting firm AECOM has been selected by Fort Worth, Texas, area transit agency Trinity Metro to conduct the environmental and preliminary engineering studies for a planned extension of the TEXRail commuter line. The project will extend the line, which currently runs 27 miles from DFW Airport to the downtown T&P Station, south by another 2.1 miles to the Fort Worth Medical District. AECOM had a similar role with the initial phase of the TEXRail project, which opened in January 2019.  “We are excited about moving forward with this extension to the TEXRail commuter rail line,” Jon-Erik “AJ” Arjanen, vice president and chief operating officer of Trinity Metro, said in a press release. “Working through the environmental assessment and preliminary engineering are important phases in this project.”

Caltrain cancels annual Holiday Train
Caltrain has cancelled its Holiday Train because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, which began in 2002 and is usually held the first weekend in December, sends a decorated show train along the Caltrain route to entertain families with holiday characters and provided an opportunity to donate toys to the Salvation Army and U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots program. In announcing the cancellation, the agency released a video in which Santa Claus offers his regrets for the cancellation. Caltrain hopes to revive the event in December 2021.

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