Richard Branson is making his first move into the US rail market, 21 years after he began operating passenger trains on the UK's west coast main line between London and Scotland. Sir Richard has agreed a strategic partnership with Brightline in which his Virgin Group will acquire a small minority stake in the only private intercity passenger rail service in the US, which is controlled by funds managed by Fortress Investment Group. Late on Friday the rebranded Virgin Trains USA filed preliminary documentation for an initial public offering to fund its expansion and list on Nasdaq. Barclays, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley would underwrite the offering, which cited the traditional place holder sum of US$100m as a fundraising target. Brightline opened its first service in Florida this year, which runs between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and has plans to expand into Orlando and Tampa.