Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

Virgin Trains USA Groundbreaking at Orlando International Airport

25 Jun 2019 2:08 PM | Gregory Behun (Administrator)

Yesterday, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Orlando segment of Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline).  Citing the historical roots for this route in the legacy of Henry Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railroad, the emphasis of the ceremony was the rebirth of passenger rail in the United States.  While the Golden Spike marked the culmination of the transcontinental railroad 150 years ago, the Red Spike marks the beginning of a renaissance of passenger rail in America and Virgin Trains USA.  Citing the market sweet spot as distances "too close to fly and too far to drive", Virgin Trains sees opportunities not just in Florida (Miami to Orlando, Orlando to Tampa), but other corridors as well.  Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Dallas to Houston, Chicago to St. Louis were some of the corridors mentioned that Virgin is looking at.  

There were many in attendance and it appeared to be well-covered by the press.  Among those that I recognized were Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, Jim Mathews, president of Rail Passengers Association, John Mica, former U.S. Congressman, Eugene Skoropowski, former Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor in California and retired Senior VP of Operations for All Aboard Florida, along with several Virgin Trains officials and Florida politicians and the mayor of Orlando.  

It was exciting to see the passionate interest in the success of this endeavor among those in attendance.  Clearly, rail passenger service is being viewed as a necessity to meet the growing transportation needs of Florida and the nation.  

Greg Behun

See linked PDF file for pictures from the event:

Virgin Trains GB 24May2019.pdf

Comments

  • 02 Jul 2019 2:03 AM | Anonymous member
    Sure hope they can get that I-4 right-of-way between Orlando and Tampa. I'll be out there to support them for it.
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