(ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Florida)– Starting Oct. 17, Brightline will begin testing trains at their full speed of 110 mph, through parts of Martin and St. Lucie counties.
The tests will last for six weeks, the trains running at about 60 mph until they reach the designated test areas, where they will accelerate to 110 on an 11-mile stretch of track between Martin and St Lucie.
Katie Mitzner, a Brightline spokesperson, said tests will be conducted from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, but did not say how many test trains would run on a given day.
Safety concerns have arisen about such a speed increase as Brightline trains have killed dozens of pedestrians and drivers since their service began in 2017.
“If the crossing arms are down, don’t drive around,” said Joe Meade, director of safety at Brightline. “This testing serves as a critical reminder to the public to be safe around active railroad tracks and obey all traffic laws. Never stop on the tracks, don’t drive around crossing gates, and only cross tracks at a designated railroad crossing.”
Brightline says it has made safety improvements at all 156 railroad crossings along the area of testing, which may include new crossing gates, signal systems, pedestrian gates, pavement markings, and roadway profiles.
Officials say it is important to obey all traffic laws and crossing signals to prevent collisions. Right now Brightline is the deadliest rail system in the country. More than 60 deaths and hundreds of injuries have happened due to these trains within the past five years mostly people trying to beat the train.