Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Virgin May Gain Another Station in Miami

October 8, 2019

Virgin Trains USA may spend $76 million to build a new station for its rail service in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The proposed location of the station is near the Aventura Mall. The facility would also serve Metrorail and buses.

The county could use its half-percent transportation tax to purchase land for the station, which would be built by Virgin with public funding.

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez has been pushing for a vote by the County Commission on that plan.

Thursday, but a source familiar with the planning said Monday night that a special meeting next week is more likely.

Virgin has pledged to give Aventura-bound passengers a 35 percent discount on its normal fare for trips between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Currently that fare is $15 today, so a ticket to Aventura would be $9.75 one-way.

Virgin would funding station operations and services with its existing trains and staff. The service is commonly known as Brightline.

Brightline Service Resumes Today

September 4, 2019

Virgin Trains USA plans to resume Brightline service in Floriday today (Sept. 4) and will offer a far special to entice passengers aboard.

The carrier is offering $10 fares for travel through Sept. 8.

Brightline service had been halted earlier in anticipation of damage from Hurricane Dorain, which tracked to the northwest of Miami and had minimal effect on the city.

Amtrak service to Florida remains suspended through Thursday, Sept. 5.

Brightline Service Suspended Ahead of Hurricane

August 31, 2019

Florida intercity rail operator Virgin Trains USA is tweaking its Brightline schedule and fares ahead the expected landfall of Hurricane Dorian.

Brighline said trains will adopt a modified schedule starting today (Aug. 31).

The final northbound and southbound departures from West Palm Beach and Miami will depart at noon and fares have been cut to $5 per passenger.

An alternate schedule of southbound trains include an 8 a.m., 9 a.m.,10 a.m. and noon departure from West Palm Beach and northbound train departing Virgin MiamiCentral at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

Service will be suspended after the last trips on Saturday.

Dorian will be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Brightline began operation in early 2018.

Virgin Eyes Adding 3 More Stations in Florida

July 17, 2019

Virgin Trains USA is considering adding as many as three new stations to its route between Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida.

The carrier formally known as Brightline said that additional stops will slow its trains but boost ridership.

The carrier has not named the cities it is considering, but among those thought to be in contention are Hollywood, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach and a site in Martin County.

Officials in Hollywood said they recently met with Virgin officials about creating a station downtown.

Hollywood is already served by Tri-Rail commuter trains to Miami, but Virgin trains are likely to be faster and cost more to ride.

Boca Raton officials said they hope to meet with Virgin officials soon about establishing a station there.

For the first quarter of 2019, Virgin said it carried of 244,178 passengers and netted revenue of $5.8 million.

It has set a goal of 2.1 million passengers and between $50 million and $100 million in revenues in 2019.

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.

Virgin Rolls Out New Look in Miami

April 9, 2019

Virgin Trains USA showed off last week its plans to rebrand the former Brightline service in Florida during a ceremony at its rail station in Miami.

Officials said the service will be rebranded in stages throughout the year starting with giving the Miami station a makeover.

The most visible result of that was to change Brightline yellow to Virgin red.

Virgin executives also wore red tee shirts with streaks of yellow, hinting at a new look for the trains that operate between Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Among the VIPs in attendance were Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Virgin Trains USA President Patrick Goddard, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Chair Esteban Bovo Jr. and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

They spoke of how the Miami Central station will connect passengers using Metrorail, Metromover, Brightline and in the future Tri-Rail.

“Virgin MiamiCentral is the only destination that connects Miami-Dade County through its various transit systems, and with the combination of Brightline and Tri-Rail, connects the entire southeast region,” Goddard said. “Mobility continues to be key as our region and population grow — and we are meeting the demand.”

Branson said he foresees Virgin someday providing connecting service with cruise ships docking at the Port of Miami, which is already served by the Florida East Coast Railway.

Virgin Sells Bonds to Finance Expansion

April 7, 2019

Virgin Trains USA sold $1.75 billion in private bonds last week and a trade publication said Virgin might have received up to $4 billion in orders for its bonds.

The Bond Buyer quoted a Morgan Stanley executive as saying, “the feedback that we received was, ‘Wow, this is a whole new level of train transportation.’”

In a statement, Virgin said is received what it termed “an overwhelming positive response from qualified investors who recognize our early success and the long-term potential for our business.”

Virgin plans to use the proceeds from the bond sale to finance an extension of service from West Palm Beach to Orlando and, later, Tampa.

The former Brightline now operates between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Virgin to Show Plans for Miami Station’s New Look

April 3, 2019

Virgin Trains USA plans to conduct an invitation only meeting on Thursday in Miami to give a preview of how the station will look after it becomes Virgin MiamiCentral.

Attending the event will be Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Virgin earlier took control of the former Brightline intercity rail service in South Florida.

On Friday, Virgin officials will be attending a hearing in Orlando on its bid to issuie $950 million in private activity bonds to fund expansion to Orlando and Tampa.

The hearing will be conducted by the Florida Development Finance Corporation board of directors.

The authority and the U.S. Department of Transportation have already approved the sale of $1.75 billion in bonds but opponents of the expansion are expected to be present at the hearing.

Much of the opposition has come from Indiana River County, Florida.

Twenty-seven people have signed up to speak at the hearing including those who support the bond sale.

Hearing Set on Virgin Trains Bond Sale

March 30, 2019

A Florida agency will hold a public hearing on April 5 to consider the plans of Virgin Trains USA to sell $1.5 billion in bonds that will be used to finance expansion to Tampa and Orlando.

The Florida Finance Corporation Board of Directors will consider arguments for and against the bond sale during a meeting in Orlando at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Orlando International Airport.

Opponents of the bond issue, most of them resident of Indian River County, are expected to speak against the sale.

That county, which lies on Virgin’s proposed route to Orlando, has long opposed expanding the formerly known Brightline service.

After public comments, the board is expected to vote on the bond sale.