The US Is Addicted to Fossil Fuel Cars. Could High-Speed Rail Set It Free?

A private rail company thinks it can.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The photo credit line may appear like thisCHUYN/iStock

Trains have come a long way in the last few years, implementing futuristic technologies that are bound to impress. What they still haven't managed to successfully do is replace automobiles.

Now, one railway company is hoping its trains will help do so. Brightline is investing in five new trains it hopes will put the user experience first and help convert car-lovers.

“We’re trying to get people to think differently about what riding a train is like,” Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline told Fast Company. “The real objective here is to change people’s behavior."

Brightline is targeting destinations that are “too far to drive, too short to fly,” Reininger said. Therefore, it's building routes between locations that are about 300 miles (482 km) apart.

Its first route is a connection between Miami and West Palm Beach that is about 65 miles (104 km). Brightline's new trains offer many perks like speedy internet, many device chargers, more comfortable seats to sleep in, and larger tables to accommodate laptops but will it be enough to tempt travelers?

Since Brightline is a privately funded company, it needs people to buy seats on its newly developed advanced trains in order to survive. To achieve that goal the company has worked with Siemens over the past decade to develop a new and more optimized user-friendly train design.

Sleeper trains have already been touted as a viable alternative to expensive flights. Could the same be true for Brightline's trains and the automobile? 

There are many advantages to using trains for certain destinations such as no need to find parking, avoiding the exhaustion of driving, and even being able to relax and do work while getting to your destination. If Brightline is making trains that make all these options possible they could very well become the future for destinations in their targeted 300 miles mark.

And it seems that Brightline is indeed offering all these added perks and innovations. “We thought about every little detail of the guest experience,” Reininger concluded.


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