Brightline and Virgin Trains Splitting After 17-Month Partnership

Among the collateral damage of a quick divorce between Brightline and Virgin Trains USA is the name for the planned high-speed connection from Las Vegas to Southern California.

2 minute read

August 12, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"The planned high-speed train system set to run between Las Vegas and Southern California will no longer bear the Virgin Trains USA name," reports Mick Ackers. 

"Instead, the Las Vegas to Victorville rail line will continue forward under the Xpresswest name."

The name change is the result of a partnership between Brightline and Virgin Trains to operate the line under the latter's name. Now, Brightline has indicated that the deal has been terminated in a report filed with the Florida Department of Finance. The partnership between Brightline and Virgin Trains lasted just over a year, after breaking news in April 2019.

A separate article by Jonathan Levin focuses more on the demise of the partnership, less on the specifics of the plans for the high-speed train between Las Vegas and Southern California. 

According to Levin's reading of the Florida Department of Finance  report, "[Brightline] said its name will be Brightline Trains LLC and that Virgin had no remaining equity ownership or affiliation. It said it delivered a termination notice on July 29, which Virgin is disputing."

Although Virgin has had a tough year in the transportation sector, as documented by both articles, the Las Vegas-to-Southern California high speed rail project seems to still be on track. 

"In April, California approved the allocation of $600 million in tax-exempt bonds for the project, which can be marketed for a total of $2.4 billion in tax-free, private equity bonds, per IRS regulations," according to Ackers, and "[t]he U.S. Department of Transportation in March approved $1 billion in tax-free private bonds for the project."

Friday, August 7, 2020 in Las Vegas Review-Journal

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