Virgin Trains USA launched services in January, operating between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale with services extended to Miami in May. The company is currently constructing a line from West Palm Beach to Orlando Airport, which it intends to extend to Tampa.

Previously known as Brightline, the company announced on November 16 that it would be renamed Virgin Trains USA after signing a strategic partnership and trademark licensing agreement with Virgin Group. The company also filed a prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in preparation for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

If negotiations with the FDOT are successful, Virgin Trains USA would lease rights of way from the FDOT and the Central Florida Expressway Authority. The company has also begun tendering the design, engineering and construction of the line and the Tampa station.

The 141km line is expected to cost $US 1.7bn with opening in 2021, and Virgin Trains USA estimates the line could carry around 2.9 million passengers annually by 2024. One-way tickets are set to cost $US 35 per passenger.

The January issue of IRJ, The Railway in 2019, will feature an in-depth look at Virgin Trains USA’s plans.

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