Sir Richard Branson expands his empire over the Atlantic Ocean. Virgin Group has announced that it will take a minority stake in Brightline, a launcher in Florida.
Brightline launched express services earlier this year from Miami via Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, with an extension to Orlando under construction and plans for a line to Tampa. It also intends to establish a connection between Las Vegas and Southern California.
The trainer will rename Virgin Trains USA this month with rebranding in place in 2019.
In his blog, Sir Richard wrote: "We have a long history of creating innovative businesses that create markets and establish loyal consequences." [1[ads1]9659005] "We transformed domestic flights with Virgin America and have spent more than a decade looking for a similar opportunity to change the face of American railways.
"Rail is a sector close to my heart after 21 years of operation of Virgin Train in the UK."
Brightline routes, both current and planned, fit well with Virgin Atlantic's airline – including Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The rail operator said: "The partnership will enable Brightline to exploit the virgin industry's leading expertise and customer experience."
Brightline's launch was delayed and the first three months were destroyed by tragedies – with four people killed by trains when they tried to cross the tracks illegally.
The train is currently in the hour, takes about half an hour between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and another 45 minutes to reach West Palm Beach – near President Trump's Florida White House, his Mar-a-Lago property.
In June, Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), which was 90 percent owned by Stagecoach Group, was replaced on the UK's flagship route from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
A state operator, LNER, took over the VTEC's ambitious assumptions and income assumptions.
How much hand luggage can you take on a Ryanair plane? Where are you going to travel in 2019? Can you claim compensation for a delayed flight?
Travel specialist Simon Calder will answer all your questions at our upcoming event, asks Simon Calder.
Register your place today by logging on Independent Minds