Virgin Trains USA selects contractors for £3.1bn rail line expansion project


Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, has appointed rail construction contractors for the $4bn (£3.1bn) high-speed rail route between Orlando and South Florida in the US.

Work has commenced on the planned Phase 2 rail expansion between Orlando and South Florida. It involves laying 170 miles (273.5km) of new track between Orlando International Airport and West Palm Beach.

The privately owned passenger-rail company Brightline has selected Hubbard Construction Company, Wharton-Smith, Middlesex, Granite and HSR Constructors as the contractors for the expansion project.

The five contractors will build the new track into the completed intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Virgin Trains USA president Patrick Goddard said: “Connecting Central and South Florida will bring thousands of jobs today and by modernizing infrastructure, we will strengthen Florida's economy for decades."

The Phase 2 construction encompasses four zones. Work has commenced on Zone One and Zone Two, which includes the area of the Orlando International Airport and the Virgin Trains Maintenance Facility.

Planned to be undertaken by Hubbard and Wharton-Smith, the Zone One comprises approximately 70 acres located 1.6km south of Orlando International Airport.

Hubbard will be responsible for land clearing, force main relocation, mass earthwork including surcharging for the Vehicle maintenance Facility to be located south of the Orlando International Airport, while Wharton Smith will undertake building construction activity in early 2020.

The second zone, Zone Two, is a 3.5-mile (5.6km) section in the heart of Orlando International Airport (OIA).

iddlesex will be responsible for clearing land, building drainage structures and pump stations, utility relocation, excavation and rail bed embankment, trench and bridge construction, track and signalization installation, and reconstruction of one of the airport interchanges.

The 35 miles (56.3km) Zone Three is rail alignment following the Highway 528 corridor between OIA and Cocoa. Granite Construction has been selected for excavation, embankment fill, among others.

Zone Four involves the upgrade of existing track from Class IV to Class VI. HSR Constructors has been selected by Virgin Trains USA for shift of 298,000LF of existing track, construction of 100 miles of new Class VI track within the existing right of way, among other work.

The Virgin Trains USA Phase 2 is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs. Construction is due for completion in 2022.

Image: The Virgin Trains USA's new rail route will link Orlando and South Florida. Photo: courtesy of BRIGHTLINE.

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