Florida’s Brightline to become Virgin Trains USA

Brightline will be renamed Virgin Trains USA as part of a new partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the railroad announced Friday morning.

Virgin — parent company of Virgin Atlantic airlines and more than 60 media, entertainment and hospitality brands — will become a minority investor in the South Florida passenger railroad, according to Brightline.

But the powerful new affiliation doesn’t come without a cost.

Brightline has been building its brand since 2015, and was on the cusp of bringing its colorful logo across the country with a planned expansion into California and Las Vegas. The railroad will be giving up three years of intense branding efforts in exchange for Virgin’s internationally known name.

The Virgin partnership also carries financial benefits, and could bring a needed infusion of cash to the $4 billion railroad, which began service among Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach earlier this year and plans to begin full Miami-to-Orlando service by 2021.

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