Broward County

One week after changing Brightline name, Virgin train kills pedestrian in Pompano

In 2018, Brightline saw ridership climb, filed to go public, and received an investment from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
In 2018, Brightline saw ridership climb, filed to go public, and received an investment from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. CTRAINOR@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Just over a week after the privately owned railway company Brightline rebranded as Virgin Trains USA, one of its trains killed a pedestrian in Pompano Beach on Friday, police confirmed.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the 1800 block of South Dixie Highway around 12:30 p.m., said BSO spokeswoman Joy Oglesby. The pedestrian, whose name was not immediately released, died near the tracks.

The cause is under investigation. A Virgin Trains spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The railway company, which began operating in South Florida in January 2018 and in downtown Miami in May, advertises higher-speed travel of up to 79 mph between Miami and West Palm Beach. After a string of high-profile deaths along the Florida East Coast Railway, where the public has grown accustomed to much slower freight trains, Florida lawmakers called for a federal review of the train company’s safety protocols.

Richard Branson unveiled the first step milestone of "Virgin Trains USA" at the Virgin MiamiCentral station in downtown Miami, Florida on April 4, 2019.

Brightline has said its safety protocols are not to blame for the fatal crashes. It rolled out a safety campaign last year including digital signage warning of faster trains and pamphlets handed out to local schools under the slogan “Stay Off Train Tracks.”

Last week, Virgin Trains received approval to raise the funds needed to build an extension from West Palm beach to Orlando. Service would begin in Central Florida in 2022.

  Comments