During an exclusive behind the scenes tour at the Siemens manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California, where the company’s trains are being constructed, Brightline, the only privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, unveiled the first look at its locomotive and passenger coaches, including key features of the car interiors.
With Brightline, we are reimagining what it means to travel by train in America and have taken a thoughtful and innovative approach to how we designed our trains. From the comfort of our custom-designed seats to the convenience of smartly-designed bathrooms, we have carefully and deliberately focused on the details that matter,” said Michael Reininger, president of Brightline. “We are working closely with Siemens through all stages of the manufacturing process and are incredibly proud to see these spectacular trains coming together.”
“We’re proud to be building these advanced technology Brightline locomotives and passenger coaches in America, for America, while providing highly-skilled jobs throughout our nearly 1,000 person Sacramento manufacturing plant,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock. “This is a significant milestone for our manufacturing plant, for future Brightline riders that will soon experience a new era of transportation in Florida, and for the nation to see higher-speed rail systems continue to become a reality.”
At the Siemens facility, Brightline revealed its first completed locomotive shell, constructed of carbon steel. The Charger diesel-electric locomotive has a distinct angled, sleek nose. A fuel-efficient Cummins diesel-electric engine built in the heart of Indiana will power the locomotive with 16 cylinders pumping up to 4,000 horsepower for optimum reliability and consistency. The lightweight engine is certified to meet the ultra-low emissions required by EPA Tier 4 standards, with additional benefits including reduced noise and excellent response.
Brightline trains are built as integrated trainsets, comprised of two locomotives and four high quality stainless steel passenger cars. The integration improves ride quality and makes for a much quieter ride. There will be a bright yellow locomotive on each end, for high reliability and redundancy. The locomotives will also feature an ergonomic cab design for the train’s engineers. The trains can be extended to include up to 10 passenger cars as the system and ridership grows.
Accommodating All Travelers
Brightline is the first fully accessible train, exceeding ADA compliance standards and addressing the needs of guests by providing end to end mobility for all travelers. To do this, Brightline trains feature level boarding, utilizing retractable platforms that are integrated into the train car door systems. Prior to the doors opening, the platforms will extend up to 12 inches from the train and pivot to create a flush surface for passengers to cross, making it easy for those with mobility challenges, pushing strollers or luggage to board Brightline.
Once onboard, guests will find Brightline aisles are 32 inches, wider than any other train, providing ample space for wheelchairs and strollers to easily glide throughout the coach with access to all areas, including the restrooms. Interior vestibule doors will also slide open and close automatically.
Within the passenger coach cars, Brightline has placed an emphasis on comfort and convenience. Custom-designed, ergonomic leather seats are up to 21 inches wide with in-seat recline and are spaced to provide ample leg room. Corresponding tables feature individual retractable trays for holding drinks and devices. Power outlets including USB connections are built into seats (both under the armrests and in the seat pedestals) and in tables (pop-up style units), so that guests will have easy access to power whenever needed. Large windows have been designed and aligned with all seats to offer unobstructed scenic views. High ceilings and open luggage shelves create a welcoming and inviting ambiance.
Brightline will offer a range of different seating arrangements in two product offerings: Smart and Select. With both options, riders will be able to reserve specific seats when booking tickets through Brightline’s mobile application, website or station kiosks. Seats will be offered as single or doubles, along with quad arrangements where double seats face each other with a table in between. Riders can choose their configuration based on their travel needs. Each product will offer a range of amenities and pricing. Riders will also be able to add additional items such as parking and ground transportation to their booking to further complete their travel experience, making it seamless from door to destination.
Each coach will also include a restroom that has been thoughtfully designed. Spacious restrooms feature universal access and a touchless environment. The sink is integrated into the vanity area that also includes a large back-lit mirror and a faucet that both rinses and dries. Changing tables are recessed into the wall and when opened offer ample space. Hooks for bags and coats have been thoughtfully placed for maximum convenience.
Train Construction Progressing
The trains are being built by nearly 1,000 employees at Siemens 60-acre rail manufacturing hub. Siemens has also developed a robust and diverse base of U.S. rail suppliers to support the next-generation of rail manufacturing for Brightline including components from more than 40 suppliers across 20+ states with additional suppliers still being added. The company will also be providing full service and maintenance for the Brightline trainsets, supporting full-time employment for approximately 70 Siemens and 40 Brightline employees.
The first completed trainset is expected to be delivered to Brightline later this year. Brightline is scheduled to begin service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach beginning in mid-2017.