US high speed trains accelerate with the “Messi train”

From Florida, where the Argentine champion plays, to Texas, America is once again dreaming of fast trains.

Miami and Florida are one of the fastest-growing population areas in America, experiencing significant development in infrastructure. The growth of the so-called “Magic City” has been evident to all for several years, and in the past couple of months, it has entered an exceptional golden period thanks to a mass phenomenon that is spreading like wildfire. A genuine craze. This phenomenon is called Lionel Messi, more popularly known as “Leo,” and it is due to the arrival of the Argentine soccer champion at Inter Miami, a team that quickly rose from the lower ranks of their league, the Leagues Cup, to claim the ultimate victory.

Leo’s goals and their millionaire impact resonate throughout tourism and every single business in the area, multiplying what happened ten years ago with the arrival of basketball champion LeBron James in the Miami Heat. Leo’s fans have flocked to the home stadium in Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami, using every means of transportation, particularly the train.

Taking the Brightline train to see the game

The train represents a historic shift in American habits and a decisive push towards using railways instead of automobiles. The service is operated by the private company Brightline, which in 2018 launched the first passenger line along the Miami-West Palm Beach route, with plans to extend to Orlando within the year, creating a fast rail corridor along Florida’s east coast.

Brightline is now known as “Messi’s train” because during Inter Miami’s matches, it turns pink, with fans boarding with the pink number 10 jersey of the Argentine superstar. The private transportation company was one of the first to capitalize on commercial ties with the team, managing local transportation connections between the Fort Lauderdale station and DRV PNK stadium, approximately six miles away, and lighting its stations in pink.

The effect on the reputation of rail transport is significant, especially since Brightline, although not constructed as a true high-speed service due to densely populated areas and restrictive regulations, is classified as a fast train according to U.S. standards.

High-speed rail in the USA

Today, the fastest train in the nation is Amtrak’s Acela, which reaches speeds of up to 149 miles per hour (240 km/h) in some segments and plans to reach 160 miles per hour the following year with new trains along the Washington-Boston route. However, this speed is still below the 186 miles per hour (300 km/h) considered high-speed in European and Asian systems, where rail transport has been one of the most utilized means to improve mobility for decades.

The shift in perception towards train usage could accelerate other high-speed rail projects, such as Brightline West between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga in California, the California High-Speed Rail service between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Cascadia project to connect the metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland in the Pacific Northwest, and especially the super-fast train between Dallas and Houston, which recently saw the involvement of Amtrak.

Amtrak and the private company Texas Central, which has entrusted Webuild and its American subsidiary Lane Construction with the entire design and construction of the new railway infrastructure, announced in early August their intention to collaborate to advance the planning and associated analyses for the 205-mile-per-hour train between Dallas and Houston. In their joint communication, Amtrak and Texas Central stated that they are evaluating a potential partnership to move the project forward.

According to their shared goals, the new Texan railway service will drastically reduce travel times, provide excellent reliability, and offer significant transport capacity—all of which should encourage travelers to choose rail over road for their journeys, resulting in significant social, environmental, employment, and economic benefits.