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Brightline Ends “Virgin Trains” Partnership, Drops Branding

Two companies that had joined together to improve transportation in Florida are now on different tracks.

Brightline is set to stop using the “Virgin Trains” branding, after its parent company suddenly terminated a licensing agreement with Virgin Enterprises Limited late last month.

The rail line announced the move Friday afternoon, and says that Virgin is now disputing the validity of the termination notice.

The company will change its name back to Brightline Trains LLC following the expiration of the applicable notice period for the name changes under the senior load agreement, the company stated in its monthly report, which was released on Friday.

According to the report, Brightline’s additional inline station in Boca Raton continues to progress in its construction, as does an expansion to Orlando.

Brightline had been operating as Virgin Trains USA since late 2018, and was expected to complete the rebranding by this summer. It stopped service on March 25 and laid off 250 employees due to the pandemic.

Officials with Brightline, which is majority owned by Fortress Investment Group, said that the parent company delivered a termination notice tied to its license agreement on July 29. “Virgin has disputed the validity of the termination notice,” according to the report.

As part of the partnership, Virgin Trains was set to make a minority investment in Brightline.

However, its own parent company has been experiencing financial difficulties.

Earlier this week, Virgin Atlantic Airways filed for bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, as part of a $1.5 billion restructuring plan, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Brightline currently has three stations completed. It is also working on expanding in Miami-Dade County, and plans to operate a high-speed rail system between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Until service stopped in March, 271,778 passengers rode Brightline this year, amounting to just $6.6 million in revenue, according to the report.