In 2018, the first privately-owned passenger rail service to operate in the U.S. in over two decades began operating the service between Miami and West Palm Beach. The service known as Brightline is part of a network of new investment opportunities being curated by Fortress Investments Group across the U.S. As 2018 draws to a close, Brightline and Fortress Investment Group announced a licensing deal had been struck with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains group to rebrand the Florida service with the famous Virgin livery.
From 2019 onwards, Brightline will be known as Virgin Trains USA, as will any future services operated during the life of the deal between the two rail operators. Virgin has partnered with Fortress Investment Group as a minority investor capable of providing a range of advice and experience in terms of customer service and scheduling. The deal between the two groups will be of aid in the coming years as Fortress seeks to expand its range of rolling stock with a new line operating between Las Vegas, Nevada and Southern California.
Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group was quick to praise Fortress Investment Group for providing his company with the opportunity to break into the U.S. rail market. Branson explained Virgin has been looking for a partner in the U.S. for more than a decade but has found little support from groups looking to develop privately-owned passenger rail services.
Fortress Investment group has become the first private operator of a passenger rail service in the U.S. with its Brightline Florida line which will soon be rebranded as Virgin Trains USA. The expansion of services will take place in both Florida and with the construction of a new line linking Las Vegas and Southern California following the purchase of XpressWest by the Fortress Investment Group. A stock offering is planned which should raise the majority of the $3.6 billion needed to construct the new line in the Southwest of the U.S.
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