Virgin Trains USA announces contractors for expansion

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor of Railway Age
Virgin Trains USA
Photo courtesy of Virgin Trains USA

Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline) recently announced that the Hubbard Construction Company, Wharton-Smith Inc., The Middlesex Corporation, Granite and HSR Constructors will be the rail construction contractors for Phase 2 of its expansion between Orlando and South Florida.

These five contractors will be responsible for the development of 170 miles of new track into the completed intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), representing a total private investment of $4 billion.

The construction of Phase 2 encompasses four zones, with Zone One and Zone Two work—which includes the area of the MCO and the Virgin Trains Maintenance Facility—beginning May 21, Virgin Trains USA noted.

Full-scale construction on Zone Three and Zone Four is imminent. The project “will include the laying of 490,000 ties and transporting 2.35 million tons of granite and limestone by 20,000 railcars.

Additionally, approximately 2 million spikes and bolts will be hammered and put in place over the next 36 months. During this process, Virgin Trains USA Phase 2 will generate more than 10,000 jobs and over $650 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.”

Virgin Trains USA added that construction is expected to be completed and service will begin between South Florida and Orlando in 2022.

“For 35 years Wharton-Smith has dedicated itself to all the things that make our hometowns thrive and the Virgin Trains USA project is exactly that,” said Wharton-Smith President and CEO Ron Davoli. “Infrastructure is the backbone of all communities and this project will bring advancements long awaited here in Central Florida. We like to be involved in projects that improve our communities—in fact, improving the quality of life where we live, work and play is what we call the Wharton-Smith way. We cannot wait to get started.”

“The Middlesex Corporation is proud to partner with Virgin Trains USA on construction of Phase 2 expansion to Orlando International Airport,” said The Middlesex Corporation Chairman and CEO Robert Pereira. “Since 1972 Middlesex has been safely building America’s infrastructure and this exciting new project aligns perfectly with our continued growth in Florida. We are proud to bring our infrastructure expertise to this project to expand transit options for Floridians and help further fuel the economic growth of the region.”

“Connecting Central and South Florida will bring thousands of jobs today, and by modernizing infrastructure, we will strengthen Florida’s economy for decades,” said Patrick Goddard, president, Virgin Trains USA. “For a project of this scope and magnitude, a world-class construction team has been assembled to undertake this tremendous assignment and we congratulate them helping us make history.”

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