The train to run from South to Central Florida stops at Walt Disney World and SunRail's Meadow Wood Station at about the same time as it opens its Orlando airport station, Virgin Train's president said Thursday.
"It is our expectation to get it done and to expand to Disney," said Virgin God's president Patrick Goddard about a timeframe that is dependent on permits and funding. "It is quite conceivable that it could happen with the delivery of Orlando drive. "
The construction will start" imminently ", according to Virgin officials, and will take 30 to 36 months.
As recently as Tuesday, Virgin Train officials emphasized that the company was negotiating with several landowners in the area's theme parks for a station side. 19659009] However, Goddard said that Virgin Trains last year signed a letter of intent with Disney.
"We've had an excellent relationship with Walt Disney World," Goddard said. "They are big fans of our project."
Goddard spoke on the phone after asking Virgin Trains in South Florida with Sir Richard Branson, founder of the venture capital Virgin Group, who last year collaborated with the owner of the train system formerly known as Brightline.
The system is now officially called Virgin Trains, but t he announcement will play out this year and included Thursday's engagement and renaming of the train's Miami station as Virgin MiamiCentral, a retail, dining and residential hub.
"It's the first glimpse of the brand transition," Virgin spokesman Ben Porritt said.
Last year, the train company secured the right to issue $ 1.75 billion in tax-free bonds. It did so late last month and seems to be completing the bond issue in the coming weeks.
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Virgin Trains. $ 1.75 billion is enough to start building from the current lane to Virgin Trains between Miami and West Palm Beach, which came into operation last year.
The company also runs a link to Tampa, with construction possibly starting while the tracks from West Palm Beach to Orlando are still under construction, according to company officials.
The company will also seek approval on Friday to issue an additional $ 950 million in bonds. This funding will help complete the construction of the Orlando link, Goddard said. 19659002] Branson said his Virgin Atlantic airline is delivering more passengers to Orlando from Europe than any other airline. He said among other destinations that Virgin trains from Orlando will deliver passengers to Virgin Cruise ships in South Florida.
"So Orlando is very important to us," Branson said. "Connecting Orlando to Miami is a real dream. It will change the lives of many people."
Branson said the company's presence has kept the Orlando link on track.
"Under the Virgin Trains banner, the team could raise nearly $ 1.8 billion in the last three weeks," said Branson. "It's the money we need to build for Orlando."
Branson said Virgin has 98 percent branding in America and nearly 100 percent in Europe, while Brightline really is only known in Miami. "" So I think the Virgin brand has helped in the process, Branson says. "I think many people will learn about Virgin Trains in Orlando and jump on them. "
Goddard added that a Disney station" would integrate with its transportation system, hotels and amusement parks. "
An almost 20-kilometer extension to Disney would include a stop at SunRail's Meadow Woods station about 10 miles south of downtown Orlando in south Orange County, which means that the region's commuter rail system will finally have a link to Orlando airport.
After starting five years ago, SunRail under the Florida Department of Transportation Manag ement no longer has a proposal to associate with the Orlando International Airport.
The prospects of Virgin Trains that provide a connection between SunRail and the airport have tantalized local leaders. But many differences between the two systems must be resolved.
SunRail's base price is about 10 cents per kilometer, while Virgin Trains & # 39; charge takes 30 cents per kilometer. With the higher prices of the two trains, Virgin offers more of a luxury experience; SunRail prohibits food and drink on the trains while Virgin serves them.
Goddard has previously said that the company is ready to solve operational differences.
"The Meadow Woods connection with SunRail would obviously be a pretty meaningful integration with the Central Florida transport network," Goddard said on Thursday.
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