Brightline is set to officially become Virgin Trains USA this Thursday, and officials say that you can expect some other big changes soon.
For starters, Virgin Trains envisions opening stations on the east side of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as well as at PortMiami, where Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s cruise line is scheduled to begin operating next year.
Company officials say they are in active negotiations to build a station at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. However, Broward Aviation Department spokesman Greg Meyer says his staff has not had any recent discussions with the train line since 2017.
Additionally, Tri-Rail and Virgin Trains will soon begin working together to better serve commuters’ needs. Tri-Rail is planning to open a line to the MiamiCentral (soon-to-be Virgin MiamiCentral) station later this year, and could start using the same FEC railway line that Brightline now uses to fill gaps.
Specifically, Tri-Rail would take passengers directly to downtown Miami, according to Steven Abrams, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which operates Tri-Rail.
Known as the Tri-Rail Downtown Link, trains would cut across Miami-Dade County and take passengers to Virgin MiamiCentral.
Abrams said the service could start when scheduling and technical issues are resolved.
He adds that after the service begins, Tri-Rail would work with Virgin Trains to expand the service northward through Miami-Dade County.
A northern east-west crossover line in West Palm Beach is also close to completion, Abrams says.
Richard Branson will be present at the MiamiCentral station for Thursday’s rebranding.