Colorful new trains are coming down the tracks from West Palm Beach to Miami -- although not carrying passengers quite yet.
Testing is underway for the first phase of the Brightline train service, and passengers should be able to ride the West Palm Beach-to-Fort Lauderdale portion of the line before the end of 2017, says company CEO Dave Howard.
Trains to Miami, Howard says, will start several weeks after that. But he’s not committing to exact dates just yet.
"We want to get very highly confident in our launch dates before we express them," he told WLRN. Originally service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale was scheduled to begin this summer, with service to Miami to follow in the fall. But Howard says the scale of the project -- including the 11-acre MiamiCentral station -- has resulted in a new timetable.
Howard says workers are putting the finishing touches on the 60,000-square-foot stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and Brightline's in the process of certifying its crews per federal guidelines.
"We’re running the train every day between West Palm Beach and actually down into Miami, on Northwest 14th Street," he said. "We come as far down as just to that point where eventually we’d begin the rise up to the elevated platform at MiamiCentral.
The MiamiCentral station will include a food hall, grocery store, two office towers and two residential towers. It’ll also offer connections to MetroRail, TriRail and other transportation options.
Howard says Brightline plans to move its headquarters to MiamiCentral in September.