Richard Branson has plans to transform the railroad industry. He has come together with Fortress Investment Group (F.I.G.) to build a passenger railroad that connects different cities in the U.S. His investment in Fortress Investment Group’s Florida railroad is not something most people expected, given that he deals in supersonic jets, but it is, definitely, a wonderful surprise. This Florida railroad, otherwise known as Brightline, is the first passenger train to be funded by private investors in over a century. Brightline offers fast services between Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami. This month, Brightline’s name will be Virgin Trains U.S.A. The aim is to use the Virgin Group’s expertise in marketing for all its current and future investments. View pitchbook.com to learn more.
Brightline’s chairman Wes Edens has the vision to expand railroad to cater for the entire nation’s travel needs. Richard had a meeting with Wes to discuss how they can come together to achieve this vision. There is high hope for train travelers across the United States as reviving railroad transport will be a profitable venture. Amtrak has been the sole provider of train transport for years, and once Wes’ Fortress Investment Group comes into this business, it will bring the needed competition.
Brightline wants to expand train transport to Tampa and Orlando. Construction in these two cities will begin in 2019. After acquiring Xpress West, Brightline will take on a project to link South California to Las Vegas. Besides, Wes has his eyes set on building railroads in Houston, Charlotte, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Dallas. With Richard’s help, Fortress Investment Group will achieve this dream.
Richard’s investment in Fortress Investment Group will ensure that he gets a small percent stake in it. Brightline’s management will still be Fortress Investment Group and its affiliates. This is not the first of Virgin Group’s investments. It has struck major deals with other firms in the United States. Virgin has many years of experience in railroad investment in the U.K. Branson says that millions of Americans travel by train every day. He says that they have found a perfect opportunity to offer passengers better services than before and ensure that they can connect many cities by railroads.