Richard Branson might be best known in travel for his supersonic jets, but he has recently decided on a different mode of transportation. One of his newest business moves includes teaming up with Fortress Investment Group and their railroad out of Florida known as Brightline. Brightline is the first intercity passenger train in more than a century that was privately funded in the United States.
Right now the passenger train company owned by Fortress Investment Group operates routes between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Once the deal is complete, Brightline will be remarketed to Virgin Trains USA and will have access to the marketing prowess that Virgin is so well known for. This expertise and branding will continue for any projects in the future with the company as well. They will be making a relatively small investment in the rail service and will have a stake in the company. More Business News at businesswire.com
Last year, Wes Edens, co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, met with Richard Branson at their station in Miami that had just recently been opened. During this time they discussed expanding the rail line across the nation, according to Bloomberg News. Amtrak has had a monopoly on train travel and is subsidized by the federal government. With the Brightline project, they are hoping to make train travel profitable again. It’s a huge bet, but with the help of Virgin and Richard Branson, it may very well pay off in the end.
There are plans in the works for Brightline to expand to the cities of Tampa and Orlando. Next year, they will begin constructing a line between Southern California and Las Vegas. The route is a very popular one for both tourists and locals and Fortress Investment Group hopes that people will consider using their services instead of waiting in traffic or dealing with airport security. Once they finish their acquisition of the company XpressWest and get the approval they need from the government, they will start construction on the project. These cities are just the beginning as Wes Edens has stated that they are considering stops at Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, St. Louis, and Atlanta.