Billionaire Richard Branson Is Planning to Build a Futuristic Train to Walt Disney World
Richard Branson is continuing to expand his travel empire — in the direction of Disney World!
The billionaire owner of the Virgin Group, which operates an airline, hotels and an adults-only cruise line setting sail in 2020, has announced his newest project: a train to the happiest place on earth.
Branson has partnered with Brightline, a company focused on modern, high-speed train travel, to create Virgin Trains USA, according to Travel & Leisure. Currently, Brightline operates a railroad for their futuristic fleet with stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
However, T&L reports that under Branson’s new leadership, they are planning to expand to stations in Tampa and Orlando, meaning you could take a train directly from Miami to the home of Walt Disney World. Right now, the proposed plan is to have the train run between Miami and the Orlando International Airport, but future planning phases include a stop at the theme park.
Virgin Trains USA will transport passengers at speeds up to 125 miles per hour, meaning the trip between Miami and Orlando will likely take around three hours. (Driving between the two popular tourist hubs is estimated to take around three and a half hours.) Branson has also announced plans to acquire XpressWest and build a west coast train route that transports passengers between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area.
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The new trains are built for luxury, providing on-board WiFi, food and beverage service, spacious restrooms, power outlets, more legroom in seats, and even cold-scented hand towels for passengers who book the SELECT ticket, which is the equivalent of first class.
Branson has been running Virgin Trains in the U.K. for over 20 years, but this would mark his first foray into the world of railroad transportation in America.
“We have a long history of creating innovative businesses that shake up markets and establish loyal followings. We transformed domestic air travel with Virgin America and have spent more than a decade looking for a similar opportunity to change the face of American railways,” Branson said in a statement. “We believe Brightline is at the forefront of this innovation and the ideal partner to work with to alter perceptions and traveling habits across the United States.”
Currently, the cost for a train ticket from Miami to Fort Lauderdale starts at around $17. No pricing plans have been announced for the new transit hubs.