Virgin Trains USA is making rapid progress on its planned stop at Walt Disney World.
The Miami intercity rail company's plans to connect to Orlando and then Tampa included a possible stop at Walt Disney World. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in November And now that work is coming to fruition, according to a new monthly revenue and passenger numbers report from Virgin Trains.
Specifically, the two entities started the engineering and design work for the proposed project.
Here is more of the report:
A Virgin Trains spokesman said that the project is still in the preliminary stages and that work with Disney has gone beyond the November memorandum of understanding.
Disney executives were not available for comment, but the company previously called the potential of a stop at Walt Disney World the "obvious choice."
"As the premier vacation destination and largest single-site employer in the United States, the Walt Disney World Resort is an obvious choice for a rail station between Orlando International Airport and Tampa. We have spoken with Virgin Trains USA and, while we have not yet made a definitive commitment, we have mutually agreed to more formally explore the development of a train station on our property. Intercity passenger rail will be a boost to the local economy, and we support their investment in the Central Florida region as we continue to grow and expand," Disney previously told the Orlando Business Journal.
The concept of a Disney stop along the way makes sense, since the users will be primarily tourists, said Robertico Croes, associate dean of research and administration in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. "The focus will be on what kind of people it attracts. I suspect many will be double-destination travelers from the Caribbean or Latin America who go to Miami and then come here," he told OBJ, noting that the trail would allow tourists to enjoy South Florida's beaches and then expand their vacation to Orlando's theme parks.
The future Disney station, which does not yet have a location on the theme park giant's property, would be part of Virgin Trains' $1.7 billion rail expansion from Orlando to Tampa. That station would be subject to permitting, negotiating with state agencies for throughway access, and a full agreement with Disney. There is no timeline for when work will begin on the Tampa route.
For the proposed Tampa route, Virgin Trains was working with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Central Florida Expressway Authority to complete in-country negotiations by January 1, but has been granted another 90-day extension. The new deadline is March 31.
Meanwhile, Virgin Trains is working on its US $ 4 billion route from Orlando to Miami, that would bring the train to a station at the OIA Intermodal Terminal Facility. The project, which began last May and is expected to be completed in 2022, is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs over the life of the project and generate $$ 650 million in state, federal and local tax revenue. Construction is expected to take 36 months.
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