What is happening: Virgin Group have taken a stake in the Florida commuter rail company Brightline.
Brightline: The commuter company offer passengers a service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. They are planning to expand services to Orlando, Tampa, and possibly Jacksonville too.
Intercity: Brightline are also looking to provide an intercity rail link between Las Vegas and Southern California.
Changes: The company will be renamed Virgin Trains USA this month. Current management will remain, with funds managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, who keep a majority ownership.
What did Brightline President Patrick Goddard say: “This partnership further validates the incredible accomplishments of our team as we challenge conventional wisdom to reinvent train travel in America. 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.”
What did chairman of Brightline and co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, Wes Edens say: “Our private sector-led effort to reinvent passenger rail service in America is taking another leap forward with the addition of the Virgin team. 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.”
What did founder of Virgin, Sir Richard Branson say: “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.”