• Brightline (fka Virgin Rail, fka Brightline) IPO, Bonds, Success, Branding

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  • 107 posts
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  by EuroStar
 
The annual ridership is out https://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/ ... rojections
In a report to bond investors, Brightline, to be renamed VirginTrains USA, said it barely broke one million passengers for the year, less than half the count it projected. Revenue for 2019 was $22 million, less than a fifth of its projection.
The ridership is also out for TriRail https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/co ... annel=home
The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) recently announced that Tri-Rail recorded a calendar year ridership record in 2019 with 4,495,039 passengers, which is a 1.8% increase from the previous year.
Leaving the promises to the bondholders aside, I find it very impressive that the Brightline has been able to get to about quarter of the Tri-Rail passengers while charging about double the fare. All their ridership is sort of "new" to the train given that Tri-Rail experienced a small bump. The Brightline is not cannibalizing the state run service to any detectable degree. While taking 1,000,000 trips off the highway is a tiny dent in South Florida traffic it is very positive and exciting, at least to me.
  by gokeefe
 
I think it's probably worth discussing whether or not Brightline's entry to the market appears to be supporting a ridership increase for Tri-Rail ...
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
From Marriott Biscayne Bay Miami--

Sunday January 19, it was off for a joyride. Leave Miami Central 350P to WP, early Dinner @Ruth's, return 740P.

$72; Select (Business).

Of interest, no mention of Virgin at the site. Is Sir Richard "still in"? Who knows what will be at either station.

Sorry Sir Richard, but with all the carefully crafted branding Brightline has done, shame to have it go to waste. But then, those with "Big egos" seem to have "thin skin".

So let's see.

First, I found the Brightline labels remaining at Miami Central, even if Sir Richard has horned in with some of his. At West Palm, you wouldn't know he had any connection whatever.

Both "Pink" and "Green" remain liveried as such. Can't speak for the other three sets.

But I really hold the best positive is the revamp of their site allowing passenger seat selection. When selecting, you will be shown a diagram of the car - including the direction of travel.

Amtrak, are you reading?

The only negative is they have downgraded their wine offerings. Last year, in both the Select lounge an on board, they were offering Ferrari-Carrno Chardonnay (upscale). This year Cupcake, for which at the liquor store, you bend low enough to have it hurt.

Everything was fine on the Northward trip, but the return....?

At 29th St in the Wynwood neighborhood, some "room temperature IQ idiot" made a right turn at the X-ing - and on to the ROW. There was no collision and cannot imagine any injuries. The train was able to clear, but there was still "head scratching time" between the cops and FEC people.

We were delayed about twenty minutes - big deal. All told, $72 well spent.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Trouble ahead?

(Bloomberg) -- Richard Branson is seeking a buyer for Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. as he struggles to secure a 500 million pound ($618 million) government bailout, the Telegraph reported. Branson has set an end-of-May deadline to save the U.K. airline from collapse
  by BandA
 
Virgin Trains USA is supposedly owned by Fortress with Virgin Group as a minority partner. I haven't read anywhere what the actual relationship is, it might be laid out in bond sale documents or STB filings? Also the rebranding is taking a long time which is interesting. I see Virgin Trains USA LLC and Virgin Trains Florida LLC, so I bet they have a scheme to firewall different projects and phases.

Virgin's airlines - Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are in the trouble, and are complicated because they are international companies so get less sympathy for bailout. But they are separate companies. The bottom line is Mr. Branson is being squeezed & cannot invest money into Virgin Trains USA but I assume Fortress still has access to lots of money.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Sir Richard's timing is not the best. Sure picked a great time to enter the cruiseline industry.

I think "he's in deep". No cruiseline can expect too much in the way of "bailoutbux" from Congress.

disclaimer: author and cruises; "never again"
  by gokeefe
 
BandA wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:48 pmAlso the rebranding is taking a long time which is interesting.
I've noticed the same thing. I think Virgin is in trouble on that one.
  by west point
 
The reason Jet Blue made it at the maor airpors were that the majors had to give up some of their slots to the airline. Forced competition in a constrained market with liimited slots.
  by eolesen
 
If I recall .Senator Chuck Schumer had slots created just for JetBlue’s use. JetBlue management commonly referred to him as their patron saint Uncle Chuckie.

But yeah, it’s easier to compete when you have a Senator carving out airport capacity for you that others can’t gain access to.
  by mtuandrew
 
eolesen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:18 am If I recall .Senator Chuck Schumer had slots created just for JetBlue’s use. JetBlue management commonly referred to him as their patron saint Uncle Chuckie.

But yeah, it’s easier to compete when you have a Senator carving out airport capacity for you that others can’t gain access to.
Governor (now Senator) Scott did the same sort of favor for Brightline in getting it access to ORL. I suspect he’d be happy to throw his weight around should Brightline decide to move forward with the I-4 corridor to Tampa.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Brightine just released very interesting news/updates for the status and future of Brightline as a whole. Such examples other than bonds include ordering five more trainsets and an additional locomotive, the possibility of ordering cafe cars for longer journeys, opening the Disney Extension by the second half of 2023, the instillation of WABTEC´s PTC, and much more!

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... -bond-sale
MIAMI — Although a planned private activity bond sale to help finance Brightline’s proposed Southern California-Las Vegas, Nev., route has been delayed, long-term investors weren’t deterred from snapping up $950 million in the company’s Florida bond offering just before Christmas.

The bond sale for the western project — and the project itself — have been pushed back because a market for those bonds failed to materialize [see “Las Vegas high speed project postponed because of inability to sell bonds,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 1, 2020].

On the other hand, the Florida offering was oversubscribed, financial observers tell Trains News Wire. The “Series 2019B (Green Bonds)” sold Dec. 23, 2020 represent an unrated non-municipal-bond, tax-exempt transaction second only to Brightline’s previous 2019A private activity bond issue. Those funds helped finance rail construction now underway between West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport. Dividends from the 2019B’s are payable semi-annually at a fixed rate of 7.375%, with the first payment on July 1, 2021. The bonds are set to mature in 2049.
  by NH2060
 
Interesting that these five new 6-unit sets plus the extra engine will cost about $102M less than the first 5 sets.

And nothing about extending any or all consists to 7 cars as of yet. I guess that comes post-Orlando extension opening.
  by Pensyfan19
 
I forget to check the news for one day and this happens...

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews ... agreement/
Virgin Enterprises, the corporation headed by Sir Richard Branson, is suing Brightline over the rail operator’s decision to drop the “Virgin Trains” name. The BBC reports Virgin is suing for $251 million, saying Brightline is reneging on a 20-year licensing deal by claiming the Virgin brand had been damaged and was no longer “a brand of international high repute,” a claim the suit calls “cynical and spurious.”
Here is the full article from BBC.
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