Brightline changes name to Virgin Trains USA in new partnership with billionaire Richard Branson

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PHOTO VIA BRIGHTLINE
The privately owned passenger-rail service Brightline will be changing its name to "Virgin Trains USA" after entering into a new partnership with  British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Brightline plans to rename the rail service this month and start rebranding itself as Virgin Trains USA in 2019, according to a news release from the company. Virgin Group is an entertainment-travel-banking conglomerate that already operates travel companies like Virgin Atlantic airline and the high-speed rail Virgin Hyperloop One.



The passenger-rail service currently runs between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with plans to expand its service to Orlando and Tampa in the near future.

"Our private sector-led effort to reinvent passenger rail service in America is taking another leap forward with the addition of the Virgin team," said Wes Edens, Brightline chairman and co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, in a statement. "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."



Virgin Group founder Richard Branson - PHOTO VIA VIRGIN
  • Photo via Virgin
  • Virgin Group founder Richard Branson
Virgin will make a minority investment in Brightline and help the company by leveraging its brand and marketing expertise for existing and future developments, the release said. The rail service will still be run by Brightline's executive team and Fortress Investment Group.

"We have had a lot of fun and success creating innovative transport businesses that shake up markets and establish loyal followings," Branson said in a statement. "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. 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."

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