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Future High Speed Rail between Orlando and Tampa to stop at Walt Disney World

Florida based Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline Trains, is currently operating a train from West Palm Beach, FL to Miami, FL with agreements to expand it to Orlando providing a high speed rail route from the Orlando International Airport to Miami. Now the company is going public with hopes of raising funds to extend that route to Tampa and even build more high speed railway lines across the country.

In a public S-1 filing as part of its IPO notification today, Virgin Trains also shared a map (see below) that would feature a train stop at Walt Disney World.

Between tourism and business over 100 million visitors make stops in either Tampa and Orlando. Add to that that growing local population of the Central Florida Corridor (jokingly called Orlampa by some) who frequently travel between the two metropolises, and there’s definitely a large enough market to support high speed rail.

Alas, even if funding is lined up, construction on the Orlando to Tampa leg is not expected to begin until the stretch between Miami and Orlando is complete in about three years. The good news is when the Tampa extension is complete, it will give Walt Disney World guests a whole new way to enter the magical world.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because another publicly funded high speed rail line was once proposed for a route between Tampa and the Orlando International Airport. It too would have featured a stop at Walt Disney World, with the station being constructed along I-4 adjoining the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex property, just south of Osceola Parkway.

As it turns out the roads around that part of Walt Disney World were recently given an upgrade to provide easier access to nearby resorts and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On the other hand, a backstage resort support facility was also opened on that plot of land. There’s still plenty of space in the area if Disney did want a railway station adjacent to its resort (and I can’t see why they wouldn’t as long as it doesn’t have another stop at Universal Orlando Resort).

In case you were wondering, the Virgin Trains name change comes after an investment from Virgin Entertainment chair Sir Richard Branson. Things usually get done when he gets involved. So we feel pretty good about this project right now.

What are your thoughts on a high speed railway from Tampa to Orlando adding a stop at Walt Disney World?

6 thoughts on “Future High Speed Rail between Orlando and Tampa to stop at Walt Disney World”

  1. I’ve always been in favor of the idea and as I recall it was the state that put a stop to it because they didn’t want to take federal money for it.

  2. Zzzzzz. I live in Bradenton, about 40 minutes South of Tampa. We’ve been hearing this song for many many years. Too many big groups in Orlando are fighting this. They tried this back in 1989 when I worked at Disney too and the Taxi companies and Buses and every other transport system fought it and won. Taxpayers shot down the rail many many times over as well. I am not hopefully about it. Been burned too many times before…Fool me once…

  3. I think this would be AMAZING. Would love to have a pickup in between, maybe Lakeland or Plant City for those that travel to Orlando Disney World frequently.

  4. I would love to have this train as an option to get to Orlando and Disney World. My family and I are always at Disney every other weekend!!! The only issue I’m concerned with is what would the cost be to ride this train back and forth.

  5. There were several reasons why a high-speed rail link between OIA & WDW didn’t happen. As Tom mentioned, the governor and a lot of folks in the Legislature wouldn’t take the steps to get Federal transportation funds because they felt a private entity should build it without government backing, and before Virgin/Brightline, no private company wanted to do it without government support. Another time, the proposed line was supposed to have stops at OIA, WDW, and OCCC (which makes sense, considering how many conventions are held in Orlando), but Disney balked about there being a station at OCCC.

    Well, here’s hoping it actually happens, although Brightline is technically more “faster than Amtrak” than actual high-speed rail.

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