South Florida’s high-speed passenger rail Brightline has begun simulated service — service without passengers — of its Fort Lauderdale-to-Miami trains, which cross the New River in Fort Lauderdale.
Simulated service is used to provide training and testing for train operators. It is expected to last two weeks before passengers can ride the train.
Since January, the railroad bridge over the New River has been closing when the train enters the Fort Lauderdale station just north of the river as a matter of procedure, even though the train wasn’t actually crossing the river south.
Since Saturday, simulated service has sent the train over the river en route to Miami. Mariners are encouraged to communicate with the bridge monitor (landline: 305-889-5572; cell: 954-325-0581) to discover upcoming closures for both passenger and freight traffic.
According to CFR 117.313 C(8), the bridge shall not be closed more than 60 minutes in any 120-minute period beginning at 12:01 a.m. each day. The signs at the bridge will be updated to alert boaters of the next closure. Brightline has scheduled its northbound and southbound trains to use the same bridge closer, with the intent of minimizing impact on the river.
Each closure process takes 12 minutes. If a closure takes more than 30 minutes, mariners are encouraged to report the issue to the Coast Guard at 305-535-4300.