Posts Tagged ‘Florida intercity rail’

No Service Resumption Date for Brightline

October 1, 2020

Brightline still has not indicated when it plans to resume operations in Florida.

The intercity rail passenger carrier suspended operations in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic on its line between Miami and West Palm Beach.

A company spokesman said Brightline managers are “evaluating a number of factors” to determine when to resume operating trains.

Such things as falling levels of tourism, the lack of sporting and entertainment events drawing crowds, decreased business travel, and the shutdown of the cruise-ship industry sent Brightline ridership plunging.

The carrier suspended service on March 26 and laid off 262 workers.

Brightline Wants to Sever Ties With Virgin

August 12, 2020

Florida-based Brightline plans to sever its ties with Virgin Enterprises and continue operating under its original name.

Brightline had been moving toward operating under the Virgin Trains USA brand after reaching a licensing agreement with Virgin, which is overseen by Richard Branson.

Branson told Forbes magazine earlier this year that Virgin had not yet invested in Brightline but was interested in doing so.

News reports indicated that Virgin plans to contest the termination of the marketing agreement it has with Brightline Trains LLC.

In a statement, Brightline was quoted by Forbes as saying, “Virgin has no remaining affiliation with us, our parent or its affiliate.”

Brightline reportedly issued its notice to terminate the marketing agreement with Virgin on July 29.

Virgin also operates Virgin Atlantic Airlines, which sought bankruptcy protection last week.

Brightline had operated intercity rail passenger between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Those operations were suspended in March due to plunging ridership prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brightline Service Suspension Extended

May 21, 2020

The suspension of intercity rail service by Virgin Trains USA in Florida has been extended for several more months.

Virgin, which operates the service  formerly known as Brightline between downtown Miami and West Palm Beach, declined to say when service might resume.

The service was suspended on March 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In social media posts, Virgin blamed pandemic work-from-home policies and social distancing mandates for the continuation of its service suspension.

In Twitter and Facebook posts said Virgin expects it will take a long period of time for service demand to return to pre-virus levels.

In the meantime, Virgin has laid off 250 employees including some senior staff.

Virgin said it would continue work on extended its route from West Palm Beach to Orlando.

A public filing last month said service to Orlando is expected to begin in 2022.

Before service was suspended during the pandemic, Virgin trains had seen rising ridership, reaching 271,778, an 11 percent increase year-over-year increase.

Virgin to Build Station in Boca Raton

December 13, 2019

Virgin Trains USA will build a station in Baca Raton, Florida, after that city council there approved a long-term land lease for the construction of the station and parking garage.

The facility is expected to open by late 2020, becoming the third new station for the service also known as Brightline.

Other new stations are planned at Aventura and PortMiami. Brightline trains currently stop only at West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Virgin will pay for and operate the station, which will be built on a 1.8-acre site near Palmetto Park Road and Dixie Highway.

The city will fund most of the design and construction of the 455-vehicle parking garage adjacent to the station, but Virgin will be responsible for all operating expenses of the garage and the parties will split the profits.

Virgin Holds Groundbreaking on Orlando Extension

June 29, 2019

A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week by Virgin Trains USA to kick off construction of an extension of its route in Florida from West Palm Beach to Orlando.

Virgin, formerly known as Brightline, is building 170 miles of new track to Orlando International Airport.

Construction actually began, though, a month ago and has been divided into four zones.

In a news release, Virgin said the project will require 225 million pounds of U.S. steel, 490,000 ties, and 2.35 million tons of granite and limestone for ballast.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in Orlando, which a terminal has already been established at the airport.

Virgin said the extension to Orlando is an investment of $4 billion. The carrier currently offers intercity passenger service between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Virgin Chooses Contractors for Orlando Extension

May 25, 2019

Virgin Trains USA has selected contractors to build its extension in Florida from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport.

The company formerly known as Brightline has divided the work into four zones covering the 168 mile route.

The zones include a maintenance facility, right of way work at the airport, 35 miles of a sealed corridor east of the airport extending to the Florida East Coast mainline, and upgrading 129 miles of FEC mainline to allow 79 mph running for passenger trains.

In a news release, Virgin said that work on the sealed corridor and upgrading FEC tracks is imminent.

“For a project of this scope and magnitude, a world-class construction team has been assembled to undertake this tremendous assignment and we congratulate them on helping us make history,” Virgin Trains USA President Patrick Goddard said in a statement.