As he casts his gaze to the stars with Virgin Galactic, maverick billionaire Richard Branson is also investing in the most grounded of transport modes: Train travel. Today marked the official unveiling of Virgin MiamiCentral, a new hub for Virgin Trains USA, which offers high-speed travel to various points in Southern Florida.
Service between Ft Lauderdale and West Palm Beach was originally launched in January 2018 by Brightline, with stops in Miami added four months later. In November, Brightline announced a strategic partnership with Virgin and a re-christening as Virgin Trains USA.
The first phase was re-branding MiamiCentral—the trains themselves will be re-branded later this year. The next steps are expanding service to Tampa and Orlando, with a dedicated stop at Walt Disney World, and connecting the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport.
"In South Florida, congestion is so bad people don’t want to traverse county lines for new experiences," Virgin Trains USA president Patrick Goddard tells Newsweek. "Setting aside the major impact on commuters, for leisure travelers this is transformative—you can experience dining and entertainment in another city and be back the same night."