By Keith Fender
VIRGIN group has announced it will become a minority investor in start-up inter-city passenger operator Brightline.
Brightline started operation in Florida in January 2018 and will be renamed Virgin Trains USA, with rebranding starting in 2019.
Brightline operates its Florida services using 10 new 125mph Siemens-built ‘Charger’ diesel locos, and has five four-car rakes of passenger coaches.
The rebranding licensing agreement lasts until 2038.
Brightline (VT USA) is currently constructing a new line in Florida between West Palm Beach and Orlando, and has submitted plans to build a new line between Orlando and Tampa, which may include a station to serve Disneyworld.
The company is also planning passenger services between Victorville (Los Angeles) and Las Vegas, again with new infrastructure.
Virgin Trains USA has also announced plans for a Nasdaq stock market listing, with the aim of raising $100million (£78m) to expand the business.
The financial announcement reveals the new company has yet to make any profits, and has debts of $625m.
However, there are plans to invest more than $4billion in Florida and a similar sum for the planned Los Angeles to Las Vegas line.
Plans to take over some routes currently operated by Amtrak have also been mooted by the company.
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