Brightline is the only privately owned passenger train system in the country. It connects the city of Miami to Fort Lauderdale and the train whizzes by the usual traffic. The train is a welcome alternative to a drive that can take an hour or more during rush hour. And it’s all the brainchild of West Edens.
West Edens is one of the co-founders of Fortress Investment Group. It is the only private equity firm ever to go public and it did so back in 2007. Wes and his co-founders started the company back in 1998. Initial investment centered around real estate in New York City and Toronto. But the men quickly diversified the company and it grew exponentially. It now operates more than $40 billion of assets worldwide. Brightline is one of these assets.
The privately owned train service began operation on May 19, 2018. Fortress Investment Group and West Edens envision a future where the train will run all the way up to Orlando. The service already runs between Miami and Fort Lauderdale multiple times per day. The first train departs at 7:10 in the morning while the last train pushes off at 11:10 at night. The ride between the two cities takes about 35 minutes and train speeds can reach nearly 80 mph.
The train completely bypasses traffic which makes it a dream alternative form of transportation for commuters. The average speed of a car on Interstate 95 is only 34 mph during rush hour. Compare that slow speed to the 79 mph of the Brightline train and you have a clear choice.
Fortress Investment Group is also eyeing other cities for a similar service. The investment firm is looking at a train route between Houston and Dallas in the state of Texas. Flat land and a commuter demand make route ideal.
West Edens, a graduate of Oregon State University, also envisions train routes connecting Chicago to St. Louis and Atlanta to Charlotte. The founding member of Fortress Investment Group also wants to connect Milwaukee to Chicago which would help the NBA team that he owns — the Milwaukee Bucks.