WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – June 26, 2017 – Brightline, the only privately funded express inter-city passenger rail service in the United States, hosted first responders from surrounding counties and cities at Workshop b, the rail operator’s maintenance facility, in West Palm Beach Saturday morning.
Firefighters, police and other safety officials from communities along the rail corridor in Broward and Palm Beach counties participated in the training seminar. During the four-hour workshop, Brightline’s emergency management team provided hands-on training, an equipment and facility tour, as well as a comprehensive overview of its safety and security plans.
“Safety is Brightline’s top priority, and it’s critical that we partner with all first responders along the rail corridor before we launch our service,” said Brightline Safety and Security Director Robert Gatchell, a railroad law enforcement veteran, serving 15 years for New Jersey Transit. “This specialized training and preparedness workshop offers our local responders insights on how rail works and how to deal with rail incidents. Collaboration is key to the safety and security of our guests, employees and the many communities in which we will operate. Our unified goal is for the highest level of safety preparedness.”
Gatchell and the Brightline safety and security team have been working with first responders over the past few months, exchanging information and procedures to ensure clear channels of communication once Brightline begins service. They will continue to build on the relationships and outreach to the first responder community in the upcoming weeks.
“Many of us have been meeting with Brightline safety representatives, but this hands-on training was extremely educational for our department,” said West Palm Beach Police Chief Sarah Mooney. “The City of West Palm Beach is committed to providing the highest level of service for our residents and visitors.”
In addition to this weekend’s first training workshops with first responders, the team has also been working closely with the tri-county school districts introducing Operation Lifesaver information to increase awareness about rail safety to students, faculty and families. Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks.
Working with Florida Operation Lifesaver, Brightline developed materials geared toward children and adults. A safety pledge card, fact sheet, in-classroom poster, tri-fold brochure and mailer were developed and produced in Spanish, Creole and English, to meet the needs of the South Florida populace.
Brightline is working with numerous municipalities along the Florida East Coast Railway to share rail safety information through multiple distribution channels, including utility bills, city websites and social media outlets, information in libraries and more.
Workshop b is now home to four trains with BrightRed, the fifth and final trainset, arriving later this summer. Workshop b provides more than 120 jobs, serving as the on-duty location for train crews as well as the site where trains are maintained, cleaned and stored. There are four tracks within the facility, two of which are covered and one featuring a 500-foot long maintenance pit underneath for performing daily inspections and service.
Brightline is committed to leading private investment toward transportation infrastructure benefiting the public. Brightline will provide a much-needed, hospitality-driven alternative to South Florida’s congested roadways. Each train abounds with innovations and comfortable features including automatic level boarding, wide aisles exceeding ADA compliance, multiple outlets for devices and complimentary, robust Wi-Fi, powered by multiple antennas in every car. The company is anticipating a grand opening and official launch of its service this fall.