A little over a year ago, we visited Miami to see the new privately-funded passenger rail system that Brightline and Fortress Investment Group was building in Florida.
It was clear from that our first visit that Wes Edens, Brightline’s founder, and his team had an exciting vision and the skills for American rail travel that no other private American enterprise has been able to do for a century.
This year, Brightline launched its first services in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with plans to further expand into Orlando and Tampa. It also recently revealed an exciting project to connect Las Vegas to Southern California. These are parts of the country we know and love from our teams at Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages and Virgin Atlantic among others.
We have a long history of creating innovative businesses that shake up markets and establish loyal followings. We transformed domestic air travel with Virgin America and have spent more than a decade looking for a similar opportunity to change the face of American railways. We believe Brightline is at the forefront of this innovation and the ideal partner to work with to alter perceptions and traveling habits across the United States.
On the potential of rail travel, Wes and I are kindred spirits. Rail is a sector close to my heart after 21 years of running Virgin Trains in the UK, creating breakthroughs from tilting Pendolino trains to the automated delay repay scheme. Virgin Trains continues to go from strength to strength, transporting more than 38 million passengers on the UK’s West Coast Main Line last year. We’re looking forward to working alongside Wes and Brightline to rejuvenate the US trains market too.
2019 is shaping up to be the most exciting 12 months yet for Virgin in the US, with Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, The Spaceship Company, Virgin Mobile USA, Virgin Hyperloop, Virgin Produced, Virgin Pulse, Virgin Wines and more among the companies set to continue innovating in the year ahead. How wonderful to add Virgin Trains USA to the Virgin family, and we look forward to working with all of the Brightline team.