High-speed rail at Disney? Park confirms talks with Brightline

Florida

A Brightline passenger train passes by on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Oakland Park, Fla. After Richard Branson announced his Virgin Group would partner with Brightline, Florida’s new higher-speed passenger rail service, a train whisked the British billionaire, VIPs and journalists from Miami to West Palm Beach in just over an hour and then back, with no problems. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) – Walt Disney World and Brightline, which is soon to be Virgin Trains, are in talks about developing a high-speed rail station on Disney property.

Disney confirmed Tuesday that it has been having conversations with Brightline about a potential station.

Brightline’s desire to build a stop at Disney has been known since 2018 when documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission included a map that had a Disney station featured along the route. It had not been clear if Disney was interested in an on-property station.

“As the top vacation destination and largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort is an obvious choice for a rail station between Orlando International Airport and Tampa. We have been in conversations with Virgin Trains USA, and, while we have not yet made any definitive commitment, we have mutually agreed to more formally explore developing a train station on our property,” a Disney spokesperson said.

Construction has already begun on a rail line connecting Orlando and West Palm Beach, and a depot has already been constructed for the service at Orlando International Airport near the South Terminal complex.

Brightline officials said a Disney stop would give visitors and Floridians a car-free option to get to the state’s most visited attraction.

“A proposed station would provide a direct rail connection to Orlando International Airport and serve as the initial segment for Virgin Trains’ future extension to Tampa,” Brightline Senior Vice President Ben Porritt said.

Brightline announced last year that it had partnered with British billionaire Richard Branson and will change its name to Virgin Trains USA, but that name change has not been made official.

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