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Brightline Will Be Renamed Virgin Trains USA After Partnering With Richard Branson

Brightline Will Be Renamed Virgin Trains USA After Partnering With Richard Branson

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has agreed to purchase a minority share of Miami-based Brightline. The company will be rebranded Virgin Trains USA as part of a licensing deal.

Branson said that he first visited the Brightline operation a little over a year go.

“It was clear from that our first visit that Wes Edens, Brightline’s founder, and his team had an exciting vision and the skills for American rail travel that no other private American enterprise has been able to do for a century,” Branson wrote.

Virgin is also in the process of launching a new cruise line with headquarters in the Miami area. The first ships will be based in Miami.

 

BRIGHTLINE FORMS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH VIRGIN
EXPRESS INTERCITY PASSENGER RAIL SYSTEM TO BECOME VIRGIN TRAINS USA

MIAMI, Fla. – November 16, 2018 –

Today Brightline, America’s first new major private intercity passenger railroad in over a century, announced a new strategic partnership and trademark licensing agreement with the Virgin Group, one of the world’s most recognizable brands in travel and hospitality. The partnership will allow Brightline to leverage Virgin’s industry-leading expertise and customer experience to establish a powerful new brand, “Virgin Trains USA”.

Brightline launched service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in May, 2018. Brightline currently has plans to expand to Orlando and Tampa, and pending the closing of the previously announced XpressWest acquisition and receipt of necessary federal approvals, to begin railway construction next year to connect Las Vegas to Southern California.

“Our private sector-led effort to reinvent passenger rail service in America is taking another leap forward with the addition of the Virgin team,” said Wes Edens, chairman of Brightline and co-founder of Fortress Investment Group. “Virgin has built a respected and trusted brand in travel and hospitality. With our shared focus on customer experience, powered by a culture of innovation and disruption, we are well positioned to build on our success.”

Virgin Group has more than 60 companies focused on its core consumer sectors of travel and leisure, telecoms and media, music and entertainment, financial services and health and wellness.

“We have had a lot of fun and success creating innovative transport businesses that shake up markets and establish loyal followings. We transformed domestic air travel with Virgin America. Tens of millions of Americans travel on the railways every day, and we have tried for over a decade to find an opportunity to provide them with that same excellent service experience,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin. “Brightline is at the forefront of innovation in this market, and the ideal partner for Virgin to work with to alter perceptions and traveling habits across the United States.”

“This partnership further validates the incredible accomplishments of our team as we challenge conventional wisdom to reinvent train travel in America,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline. “Given our shared values and Virgin’s track record, this partnership will help amplify our efforts and growth potential as we seek to expand to new markets.”

The partnership could help to provide access to millions of customers with the potential for increased ridership from other Virgin branded travel and hospitality businesses, including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Hotels and Virgin Voyages.

Virgin Group has significant experience operating in the UK rail sector, including its ongoing investment in Virgin Trains, a high speed intercity passenger rail system which it has run for 21 years. Last year passengers took more than 38 million trips on the UK’s West Coast Main Line.

As part of the strategic partnership, an affiliate of Virgin Group has agreed, subject to certain closing conditions, to make a minority investment in Brightline. Funds managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC will retain majority ownership of Brightline. Brightline’s current management team will oversee daily operations, engineering, business development and strategy. Brightline will rename itself Virgin Trains USA this month and transition to Virgin Trains USA branding in 2019.

(photo:virgin)

(photo: brightline)

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Anonymous
Anonymous

I could not disagree with you more. I have taken the trains many times and they seem mostly full. Downtown Miami alone has more than 100,000 residents and growing every day.
“Faster and cheaper to drive through express lanes than Brightline”? NOT! The Lexus lanes at rush hour between Miami and the Golden Glades alone is as high as $15.00. On top of the express lanes cost, you have to add the cost of gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, etc. It’s not faster either. Rush hour in South Florida is bad. A day doesn’t go by that drivers don’t have do deal with accidents, broken vehicles (even in the Lexus lanes), road construction, etc.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Right!.. and on top of what you said, Brightline is supposed to be an alternative, not a “fix all solution.”

Anonymous
Anonymous

Have you factored what you do when you get to either Ft Laud or WPB?

Anonymous
Anonymous

To the cost of driving, you have to add gas and mileage.

John
John

Don’t like the new name, but I welcome Branson’s clout.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Miami winning!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Winning what?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Corporate welfare…

Anonymous
Anonymous

High-speed train tracks being setup to reach Orlando International Airport… and the Station is already built.. in negotiation to eventually reach Tampa.

Anonymous
Anonymous

the Orlando leg will be up and running by 2021

suomynona
suomynona

They appear to want the Tampa leg up and running shortly thereafter. Not a multi-year gap like south Florida and Orlando.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’d like to hear more about that cruise line. Please place the HQ in downtown and not Doral like NCL and Carnival.

Anonymous
Anonymous

HQ is in Plantation.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Horrible

Anonymous
Anonymous

Google it. Unfortunately, they put their HQ in Plantation.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Brightline has moved its headquarters to a new office building next to its Miami station. The 12-story office building, located in downtown Miami, is part of the massive MiamiCentral mixed-use complex being built to house Brightline’s southernmost station.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Horrible!!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Horrible Horrible Horrible!!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Companies nowadays prefer the views of the congested Palmetto vs Biscayne Bay.
Go figure!!!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

And no transit infrastructure vs being downtown…
I just don’t get it

Anonymous
Anonymous

Big difference in rent.

Anonymous
Anonymous

More employees live in the suburbs.

Tony
Tony

They’re not worried about having a cool zip code, they put their HQ where it makes sense financially

Anonymous
Anonymous

It always makes my day when good news drops at The Next Miami on a Friday!

Polo
Polo

We also have the ULTRA moving to its new home at Virginia Key!

Anonymous
Anonymous

If this somehow helps save Marine Stadium it is definitely worth it.

( . )( . )
( . )( . )

Branson is majority owner of Virgin Group which is strictly a private venture capital investment conglomerate with about $6B under their control. They are not operators of anything. They own 100% of Virgin Voyages (JV with Bain Capital), Virgin Vacations, VirginMegastores, Virgin Hotels, and more…but only 33% of Virgin Galactica, and 20% of Virgin Atlantic. For This venture, it seems they will pay enough for the naming rights and will not be part of the management or operations.

Anonymous
Anonymous

what about the Virgin trains in the UK?

Anonymous
Anonymous

delta actually runs virgin atlantic….has a large stake in airline

Bangbros CEO from Hialeah
Bangbros CEO from Hialeah

Who’s down to run a train on the virgin line?

Danny
Danny

Damn the new name sucks…

Anonymous
Anonymous

I just wonder how long is she going to be a virgin?

Anonymous
Anonymous

It’s good to see investment, but Virgin helped ruin the British railway system, so I’m not exactly pleased about it.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Explain!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Higher ticket prices, less quality and frills you have to pay for, and delay after delay. There’s a reason they lost the franchise rights to services a couple years back.

Anonymous
Anonymous

The Orlando to Miami will be a great success.

Anonymous
Anonymous

No more hyperloop fraud?

Anonymous
Anonymous

It is still happening. Lots of new technologies to be perfected. You’ll see it in overseas locations first.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I really want to believe that brightline will be game-changing, but the more I go on it the more it seems like an extravagant pyramid scheme.

It’s currently still faster and cheaper to drive through expess lanes than to take Brightline from virtually everywhere in South Florida which isn’t within walking distance of a station. So why would anyone take it regularly?

Currently Brightline consists of mostly empty trains that connect “downtowns” that are packed full of mostly empty luxury condos, with stations that you have to fight traffic to get to anyways, surprisingly high prices…($40+ to WPB?) and no sign of tracks being laid between the coast and Orlando…is this a real partnership or is FEC trying to dump Brightline on some other company before it goes bust?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Then you are not giving Richard Branson and Virgin enough credit for this investment.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Exactly! Why would a company like Virgin invest in a new intercity train service in Florida if was a money Hemorrhaging fiasco? Stockholders would have a fit.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Branson is an idiot most of the time; he trains have issues in Europe and the defunct Virgin American airline he tried here was a disaster. his cruise business seems to be going the same fate.

Rigo
Rigo

Stupid comment…Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Airlines.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Since you make these claims, why don’t you give the facts? Or are you just jacking off at the mouth?

Anonymous
Anonymous

virgin america was never a disaster..it was loved by passengers and alaska airlines now owns it

Anonymous
Anonymous

You think they built it so that experts like you can judge the results during the first few months or is it a 30+ year investment outlook? Friggin microwave society with no vision!! Leave the infrastructure investments to those with capital and vision while you judge them all you want behind your keyboard.

Anonymous
Anonymous

if you build it, they will come

Anonymous
Anonymous

Where did you get the info on empty condos in Miami’s downtown ? Are you from Miami ? Most buildings they are not empty at all.