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Plan for a Virgin Trains station at PortMiami advances

Brightline, soon to become Virgin Trains USA, would plan to operate an average of two daily round-trip trains at the PortMiami station initially
The plan to develop a PortMiami station for Brightline, the private rail company that is rebranding as Virgin Trains USA, has moved a step forward.

Brightline currently serves Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with an expansion to Orlando International Airport is under way.

According to a draft deal approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Thursday, Virgin Trains USA would share existing tracks — which would require some improvements — with the ongoing freight rail operations at PortMiami.

$15.4m station

Virgin Trains USA would be responsible for the construction of an approximately 20,500-square-foot rail station and platform on a one-acre parcel of land. The county would contribute $5.2m toward the $15.4m facility. This capital contribution would be recaptured via a $2 charge per passenger. Virgin Trains USA would also pay fees and rent to the county.

For the first two years of operation, Virgin Trains USA plans to operate an average of two round-trip trains a day, with the plan to expand to at least four daily round-trips thereafter.

The deal has a 30-year term with optional 20-year renewals.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on a final agreement later this month.

Eco-friendly option

'A Virgin Trains PortMiami station offers a convenient, eco-friendly travel option that will bolster Miami’s reputation as the “Cruise Capital of the World,”' Virgin Trains USA spokesman Mike Hicks said.

'This connection will bring tremendous public benefit by easing congestion, providing a car-free experience for cruisers and tap into a wider talent pool for cruise lines — all while removing cars from the road.'

'Train to Port' packages for cruisers

‘Train to Port’ packages that bundle in parking, a checked bag and more are currently available to passengers of all cruise lines sailing from South Florida ports. Virgin Trains USA also has a marketing agreement with MSC Cruises, its official cruise line partner.