- Brightline buying XpressWest
- Brightline setting the stage for future service by submitting a proposal for Orlando-Tampa extension
- Spanish operator RENFE being tapped by Texas Central to operate the Dallas-Houston Express HSR route
- A shortline railroad expressing interest in providing intercity service from northeastern Pennsylvania to New York City
The Return of Sir Richard
Almost eight years after when it looked like Rick Scott--and a rapidly changing environment--had driven Virgin Trains out of the U.S., Sir Richard Branson comes roaring back.
I was wondering just how a Virgin Trains USA would look like. Now, I know. Also, in addition to the West Coast pickup, Sir Branson could very well be providing service to the underserved Charlotte-Atlanta market and the completely unserved 3C market in Ohio sooner than anyone thinks.
The New Passenger Paradigm Strikes Again
There have been times over the last two years where I have wondered if outside forces would stymie Ray Chambers's vision of a new paradigm. As it turns out, things sometimes move slower than advocates for change like.
What the rebranding means for Virgin Trains USA: Branson will now lay claim to having a national company.
What the rebranding means for the public: For Florida, it means that untapped markets and the previously thought to be dead HSR route will be served while also being a real estate and hospitality entity.
For California, it will make it easier for passengers to travel between Los Angeles and Las Vegas--and directly, too.
For the Southeast, a high speed alternative to the once-a-day Crescent route along an express route while travelers don't have to put all of their eggs the southeastern states' basket. Virginia and North Carolina have it together for the first portion of the Southeast Corridor lined up. However, the latter's partnership with South Carolina and Georgia is shakier and trying to get additional frequencies on the existing Norfolk Southern route--never mind the CSX route for Raleigh to Jacksonville service--is rife with politics.
For Ohio, a chance to start anew after nearly four decades of false promises and a chance to provide an essential service to a part of a state that has been ignored.
What the rebranding means for the passenger industry: Three European entities are now in position to rewrite the passenger rail experience in America. DB (Germany) is locked to run Express routes in California, RENFE is going to run Express service in Texas, and the UK's Virgin is providing higher speed rail service to multiple states. Those who fail to adapt will be left by the wayside.