Mar 4, 2024 - News

Review: An Orlando-to-Miami round trip on the Brightline

A compilation of two images: on the left, a selfie of the author aboard the Brightline; on the right, an external photo of the train from above.

Photos: Jeff Weiner/Axios

Axios Miami Editor Jeff here. Last week, I visited Martin and Sommer in Miami to tour the city and brainstorm our coverage in the year ahead.

  • I live in Orlando, so I decided to forego I-95 (tough call) and give the Brightline a try for the first time since the Orlando-to-Miami route's September debut.

What to expect: Given that the Orlando station is at the airport, I was sweating as my ride-share dropped me there with only 25 minutes to spare until departure.

  • Turns out train security is a breeze. On both legs of the trip, I was through the scanners (without removing my shoes) in minutes.

What's inside: The comfortable and clean Orlando and Miami stations feature a shop and a bar called Mary Mary, which is also at the West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale stations.

  • Bites: Think sandwiches, flatbreads, salads and empanadas.
A bar at the Orlando Brightline station called Mary Mary.
The Orlando station's Mary Mary. The three-meat flatbread is tasty.

State of train: I rode coach and found it comfortable and well suited to working, with better legroom and tray table space than most planes. Plus, comfortable seats.

  • The WiFi worked and food/drink service was offered at least twice. A plastic-wrapped sandwich, bag of chips and soft drink combo runs $18.

Out the window: The north-south route traces the East Coast, so you'll pass through a mix of cities and towns. (I glanced up as downtown Vero Beach passed by.)

  • It's pleasant, and the train isn't too fast to spot slices of life. Its top speed is 125 mph but the average speed is just more than half that.

Yes, but: You can't stop in many of the places you'll pass.

The bottom line: Brightline is a vastly more relaxing experience than doing the Orlando-Miami drive. One problem: You don't have a car when you arrive.

  • Not ideal, given neither city has exactly solved pedestrian safety or mass transit.

Thankfully, Martin and Sommer were willing and generous chauffeurs.

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