After about only a year and a half in service, Virgin Trains recently surpassed one-million riders.
Quandel Consultants announced on April 15 that Peter Windschmitt has joined the national rail and transit firm as Director of Railroad Operations.
Sir Richard Branson and Patrick Goddard marked the beginning of Brightline’s transition to Virgin Trains USA on April 4 with a ceremony at Virgin MiamiCentral Station that unveiled the passenger rail service’s new branding graphics. Brightline is the express intercity passenger rail service that currently connects Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with expected service to Orlando and Tampa, and between Las Vegas and Southern California.
Virgin Trains USA announced Jan. 30 that it is launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 28,334,000 shares of common stock. The NASDAQ Global Select Market listing is expected to raise $17 to $19 per share—between $482 million and $538 million—resulting in the company having a market capitalization of up to $3.2 billion.
Last month we reported on the impending demise of the Brightline brand for privately operated passenger trains in Florida, and the takeover by Virgin, at least as far as the public face of the venture is concerned (William C. Vantuono’s initial report on Nov. 16 and this writer’s article concerning the company and its branding on Nov. 26). There have been new developments lately: an initial public offering (IPO) for stock, and the prospect of an additional station near the giant Disney World theme park. The situation facing incumbent management may also be worse than we reported then.
Everybody has been watching Brightline, the bold upstart operator of private-sector passenger trains in a nation where every other scheduled train is operated in the public sector, either by Amtrak or by a local transit authority. There has been a lot of news about Brightline lately, and this writer originally intended to focus on the customer experience and the railroad’s plans for the future.
Florida’s Brightline private higher-speed passenger rail service has a new investor, Virgin Group, headed by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Virgin Group will make a minority investment in Brightline, which will be managed and operated by Brightline’s executive team and affiliates of Brightline parent Fortress Investment Group. Brightline will rename itself Virgin Trains USA in November and transition to Virgin Trains USA branding in 2019, “leveraging the Virgin brand and marketing expertise for existing and future developments.”
Only one company submitted a proposal to develop a passenger rail line connecting Tampa and Orlando – but that company is well-known in Florida transportation circles.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven L. Abrams was selected Executive Director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA).
With its funding plans clearer, South Florida passenger start-up Brightline is looking west for its next venture into private high speed rail.