Virgin Group's Branson highlights Miami Central rebranding

Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
The "Virgin MiamiCentral" logo is uncovered at a Thursday event beginning the rebranding of Brightline passenger service.
Bob Johnston
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson rides an escalator during Thursday's event at MiamiCentral station.
Bob Johnston

MIAMI — Sir Richard Branson became the media darling of South Florida this week as Virgin Trains USA rebranded MiamiCentral, the massive terminal complex revitalizing a downtrodden area bordering the city’s business district. It was the initial move in the long-expected rebranding of Brightline passenger service.

The flamboyant Branson, dressed in white and attracting a gaggle of paparazzi and TV cameras as he strolled around the edifice, told the assembled crowd that he envisions exchanging passengers with his cruise ships at the nearby Port of Miami, already a busy Florida East Coast Railway freight conduit.

On the ride up to West Palm Beach aboard, appropriately, the BrightRed Brightline trainset, he told Trains News Wire, “We have 98 percent name recognition in America and 100 percent in the U.K., and Virgin is already the biggest transporter of people on holiday from Europe. With the new service, we plan on rewarding travelers for using all of our products.”    

Interest by international investors probably helped fuel the successful private activity bond sale that occurred a few days earlier [see “Virgin Trains USA raises $1.75 billion in bond sale,” Trains News Wire, April 4, 2019] and the additional $950 million the company hopes that the Florida Development Finance Corporation will approve following a hearing in Orlando today.

With financing secured, construction of the expansion from West Palm Beach to Orlando is “imminent,” according to Branson. The company also revealed Thursday that service to Walt Disney World and a SunRail commuter connection will also begin when trains start calling at Orlando International Airport.

The station’s transformation from Brightline yellow to Virgin red was easily executed overnight by programing the video displays that wrap its central columns. As a hint of what might be in store for the trainsets, team members assembled to hear Branson and CEO Patrick Goddard speak all wore red t-shirts with streaks of yellow.

“I’ve seen the three trainset designs they are considering,” one of the original Brightline managers remarked, adding, “It’s important to us we have some connection to the brand we all built.”

But Branson’s presence clearly magnified the regional operator’s growth potential beyond the South Florida market, which Brightline has energized by redefining what train travel can be with passenger-focused hospitality, promotion, and sparkling equipment.

A steady stream of perhaps 200 Miami Heat fans crowded the escalators at MiamiCentral Wednesday night on their way to a basketball game at the nearby American Airlines arena. And a driving rainstorm on the way up to West Palm posed no problem for Branson or fellow travelers walking through the cars. They would have been drenched walking between Amfleet vestibules.   


NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • April 05, 2019
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.


The Genesee & Wyoming 

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 58% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today