Brightline has begun running test trains between southern Indian River County and downtown Fort Pierce, according to a news release from the railroad. Trains will hit up to 79 mph during the tests, Brightline said.
It’s Brightline’s first testing of trains in Indian River County. Test trains there will run up to 79 mph only starting Wednesday, Brightline spokesperson Katie Mitzner said.
The tests, which are being conducted along a 10-mile stretch of the rail corridor, would cover more than a dozen crossings. Drivers and pedestrians should expect increased wait times at the crossings as test trains pass.
Brightline began testing trains at up to 110 mph in October and November in St. Lucie and Martin counties. The railroad continues building a $2.7 billion extension of its higher-speed passenger service between West Palm Beach and Orlando, which is expected to begin in 2023.
It was unclear Monday when or if 110 mph tests would be conducted in Indian River County.
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As tests trains pass, flaggers will be posted at affected crossings 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily this week.
During the railroad’s full-speed, 110 mph tests through Martin and St. Lucie counties, wait times at crossings were typically around 10 minutes. Trains ran 10-16 times during those tests, according to Brightline spokesperson Katie Mitzner.
These railroad crossings will be affected by the latest tests, which began Saturday, according to Brightline’s news release:
- Orange Avenue
- Avenue A
- Avenue D
- Seaway Drive
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- State Road A1A
- Old Main Street
St. Lucie County
- St. Lucie Lane
- Chamberlaine Boulevard
- Milton Road
- Torpey Road
- Rouse Road
- Michigan Street
- Wilcox Road
- Harbor Branch Road (Indian River Road)
Indian River County
- Highlands Road
- Oslo Road
Indian River County was a hotbed of opposition to Brightline in the early days of its planning. After spending about $5 million in legal fees, and eventually losing every court challenge, the county ultimately agreed to a settlement in which Brightline committed to spending $31.6 million upgrading 32 railroad crossings across the county.
This week’s test trains, however, are not the first Brightline trains to pass through Indian River County. In October, Brightline ran 79 mph test trspanins in Brevspanrd County. Those trains passed through Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties enroute from West Palm Beach to the testing corridor. Brightline trains already provide passenger service between West Palm Beach and Miami at up to 79 mph.