Within a very short period of time the name of Brightline train company will be effectively changed to “Virgin Trains USA”. This name alteration comes on the heels of the announcement that Fortress Investment Group (FIG) has entered into a limited partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. While there is no question that FIG will retain majority ownership, the high-speed passenger rail company will change its name per the agreement with Branson’s Virgin Group.
Currently, Brightline, whose parent company is Florida East Coast Industries, operates rail services for passengers between Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. There have also been recent announcements citing plans for expansion in several areas including Orlando and Tampa, as well as creating a high-speed railway system in Las Vegas and Southern California. More Business News at businesswire.com
Fortress Investment Group’s Brightline is undoubtedly having significant success with their current operations. In fact, the Palm Beach Post cited a passenger volume increased between the months of April, May, and June. The numbers went from a reported 74,780 during the period of January, February, and March to 106,090 in the second quarter.
In addition to the railways, the Virgin Group owns several other travel and hospitality businesses including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Voyages, and Virgin Hotels. Furthermore, the Virgin Group owns real estate near its railway stations, including an approximately nine acre parcel Miami Central close to downtown Miami. The group has also secured $1.75 billion in tax-exempt federally issued bonds in order to be able to create the Orlando portion of the expansion plans.
In a recent blog post released by British tycoon, Sir Richard Branson, who runs Virgin Group stated that when he met the CEO of Fortress Investment Group, Wesley Edens, he instantly felt that they were kindred spirits. Fortress Investment Group will continue to manage and operate its long time subsidiary the renamed Virgin Trains USA, but Branson was excited to note that his views on business, vision for the future, and skills matched well with co-founder Wes Edens and the manner in which Fortress Investment Group and its subsidiaries are run.