• Virgin Rail - Brightline Expansion Opportunities

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Virgin Rail USA formerly known as Brightline, and Virgin Worldwide Rail operations, past and present.
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Virgin Rail USA formerly known as Brightline, and Virgin Worldwide Rail operations, past and present.
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  by bostontrainguy
 
Another WOW! - Expansion plans too:

"The company states its desire to expand to other routes, including Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, Dallas to Houston, and Los Angeles to San Diego. That’s in addition to its proposed Tampa-Orlando route, and its recently acquired Southern California-to-Las Vegas route."

Time to change the thread name again I guess.
  by gokeefe
 
Capital injection = Full speed ahead

No idea whatsoever how they think they're going to get trackage rights unless they are planning on building every mile from scratch.

This event combined with Amtrak's impending more toward operational profitability is quite significant.

It ranks right up there with the original electrification of the NEC.
  by Jadebenn
 
Dallas to Houston, huh? There's no way they're not aware of Texas Central Railway's efforts in that corridor. I wonder what Brightline/Virgin is planning to do about them.

I don't think they'd be able to buy them out like they did with XpressWest, and their business models are completely different. TCR is going for completely new ROW with very-high-speed trains, with use of the N700 literally written into the EIS, so it's not like Virgin could swoop in and re-use TCR's groundwork if the project goes kaput.

Maybe they're interested in investing? Or perhaps going it alone?
  by Jadebenn
 
I don't know... Brightline/Virgin's business model relies on minimizing upfront costs through using existing infrastructure. When they bought XpressWest, they outright stated that they would abandon the plans for electrification across the corridor and would instead use the same (or similar) rolling stock as they do in Florida.

As previously stated, they wouldn't be able to pull an XpressWest here and re-use the groundwork TCR's been laying for the last half-decade. The way TCR worded their EIS, they would be unable to change their preferred rolling stock from the N700 without having to go through the whole process again (most likely a condition of their deal with JR Central for funding and support).

Now, based on Virgin's SEC filing, I could see them buying a stake in TCR once the EIS clears; maybe even bringing them under the Virgin brand. Both companies certainly seem to agree that the DAL-HOU corridor has one of the highest ridership potentials in the country. But if they did that, they'd be pursuing a very different business strategy than the one the one they seem the most comfortable with, so I think it's far from guaranteed things will play out that way.
  by Ridgefielder
 
gokeefe wrote:Capital injection = Full speed ahead

No idea whatsoever how they think they're going to get trackage rights unless they are planning on building every mile from scratch.

This event combined with Amtrak's impending more toward operational profitability is quite significant.

It ranks right up there with the original electrification of the NEC.
Virgin has a *lot* of rail experience in the UK. They've operated the InterCity West Coast franchise for over 20 years. This is the former London, Midland & Scottish Railway mainline from London Euston to Birmingham, Manchester, and Scotland via Crewe and Carlisle. Big-time railroading, British-style. Over 35 million passengers/year.
  by gokeefe
 
Agreed. I'm just not sure why Sir Richard is seeing this as an opportunity without knowing how the operating rights can be secured.
  by RRspatch
 
Ridgefielder wrote:
gokeefe wrote:Capital injection = Full speed ahead

No idea whatsoever how they think they're going to get trackage rights unless they are planning on building every mile from scratch.

This event combined with Amtrak's impending more toward operational profitability is quite significant.

It ranks right up there with the original electrification of the NEC.
Virgin has a *lot* of rail experience in the UK. They've operated the InterCity West Coast franchise for over 20 years. This is the former London, Midland & Scottish Railway mainline from London Euston to Birmingham, Manchester, and Scotland via Crewe and Carlisle. Big-time railroading, British-style. Over 35 million passengers/year.
That all may be true but I tend to think Virgin is going to find that negotiating with CSXT, NS, UP and BNSF for slots is going to be a whole lot tougher than dealing with Network Rail. Amtrak and most of the commuter authorities are "grandfathered" in. I really don't see the freights welcoming Virgin with open arms. More likely they'll say NFW.
  by SouthernRailway
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Well, an SEC Form S-1 - Prospectus - always contains "gems" within such, including the risks!!

A Prospectus definitely expects the filer to "bare the soul".

Worth a read.
The S-1 also contains complete garbage in this case. It lists "Washington, D.C.-New York-Boston", 225 miles, in the potential expansion pipeline.

At least be careful enough to get the mileage between those three cities right! And is Brightline REALLY going to expand there? Really?
  by Jadebenn
 
SouthernRailway wrote:The S-1 also contains complete garbage in this case. It lists "Washington, D.C.-New York-Boston", 225 miles, in the potential expansion pipeline.

At least be careful enough to get the mileage between those three cities right! And is Brightline REALLY going to expand there? Really?
Sounds to me like Brightline/Virgin might be eyeing an NEC takeover in the (far) future if the political winds blow in their favor. I don't think I like that.

While I'm always in favor of more passenger rail, regardless of the operator, I don't want to see Virgin's gains come at Amtrak's expense.
  by mdvle
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Virgin has a *lot* of rail experience in the UK. They've operated the InterCity West Coast franchise for over 20 years. This is the former London, Midland & Scottish Railway mainline from London Euston to Birmingham, Manchester, and Scotland via Crewe and Carlisle. Big-time railroading, British-style. Over 35 million passengers/year.
Virgin Trains (the west coast franchise) is a partnership between Virgin Group and Stagecoach, and while Virgin will have learned some stuff from their 20 years I don't know how much use that will be - the UK and US markets are very different. In a lot of cases in the UK driving is not an option, either for congestion or cost reasons, making the rail passengers a captive market.

Virgin was also a 10% participant in Virgin Trains East Coast, the franchise that was terminated early by the UK government due to financial issues.
  by gokeefe
 
The operational, marketing and data analysis methods would all carry over, subject to minor tweaks. I say that in a general sense and not a specific sense with respect to regulatory and/or labor requirements.

Its pretty significant on many levels that an operator with their level of experience would look favorably on this undertaking. Turn that thought over in your minds for a few minutes ...
  by Jeff Smith
 
At some point there are going to be economies of scale as well. Imagine if they could take over CAHSR. There’s talk of HSR along the Cascades route as well. Charlotte - Atlanta, you name the corridor they’ll be in the mix.
  by gokeefe
 
I think it's great. I just can't understand the mechanism by which they are going to secure operating rights. Unless of course the thinking is that such a national level economy of scale has suddenly made privately operated passenger rail service viable and then can afford to pay good money for priority dispatching while still carrying acceptable levels of insurance.
  by gokeefe
 
The takeaway here is that due to airline consolidation and facility operation and construction costs we have likely seen the full "build out" of the domestic air network. Now the airlines are up against capacity constraints that were previously unheard of. That bodes well for rail because of its ability to move high volumes over short and medium distances more efficiently than air (or highway). Air travel has become what rail once was, expensive, inconvenient and (for some itineraries) slow.