By Keith Fender
VIRGIN group has announced it will become a minority investor in start-up inter-city passenger operator Brightline.
Brightline started operation in Florida in January 2018 and will be renamed Virgin Trains USA, with rebranding starting in 2019.
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Brightline operates its Florida services using 10 new 125mph Siemens-built ‘Charger’ diesel locos, and has five four-car rakes of passenger coaches.
The rebranding licensing agreement lasts until 2038.
Brightline (VT USA) is currently constructing a new line in Florida between West Palm Beach and Orlando, and has submitted plans to build a new line between Orlando and Tampa, which may include a station to serve Disneyworld.
The company is also planning passenger services between Victorville (Los Angeles) and Las Vegas, again with new infrastructure.
Virgin Trains USA has also announced plans for a Nasdaq stock market listing, with the aim of raising $100million (£78m) to expand the business.
The financial announcement reveals the new company has yet to make any profits, and has debts of $625m.
However, there are plans to invest more than $4billion in Florida and a similar sum for the planned Los Angeles to Las Vegas line.
Plans to take over some routes currently operated by Amtrak have also been mooted by the company.
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