Traveling between Los Angeles and Las Vegas has always presented a dilemma: fly quickly but at a high cost, or drive economically but take hours. Soon, there will be a new and efficient solution: a high-speed train, cutting travel time by half compared to a car journey.
Last month, Brightline West announced their partnership with the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition, kickstarting the first high-speed rail endeavor in the U.S. This state-of-the-art electric train will run from Apple Valley, just east of LA, all the way to Vegas, following the Interstate 15 route. With a top speed of 200 mph, the 218-mile journey will be reduced to approximately 85 minutes.
This collaboration, representing over 160,000 U.S. railroad workers from 13 unions, released a statement proclaiming: "Americans want high-speed rail, and we're here to make it happen."
Brightline West's ambitious $10 billion venture promises to generate 35,000 jobs. Construction is set to commence this year, and the first trains are anticipated to start operations in 2027. Brightline Holdings CEO, Mike Reininger, emphasized the project's significance, stating, "This is a huge leap for U.S. transit and infrastructure, and we're honored to have America’s top-tier workforce making it possible."
An interesting highlight from 2020 was Brightline's agreement to construct a 135-mile stretch in California, nestled within the heart of Interstate 15. The Apple Valley station, originating from the Dale Evans Parkway exit off Interstate 15, will be a pivotal part of this plan.
However, to truly connect with LA's vibrant heart, Brightline will extend the route to a Metrolink station in Rancho Cucamonga, enhancing connectivity to LA's extensive transit system. As Brightline West spokesperson, Ben Porritt, puts it: "Travelers from Vegas can effortlessly transition from our train to a Metrolink train, reaching any part of Southern California."
Metrolink's Rancho Cucamonga station, which connects Los Angeles Union Station to Redlands, will feature an exclusive platform for Brightline West. Karen Baker, a Metrolink spokesperson, expressed enthusiasm, envisioning the collaboration as an avenue to introduce Metrolink to new riders.
Brightline’s funding includes $1 billion from the U.S. Department of Transportation and a bid for a slice of the $7.2 billion in Federal Railroad Administration grants. With the environmental assessment and associated permits soon to be published by the Federal Railroad Administration, Brightline West is set to charge ahead.
Presently, Brightline is renowned for its 70-mile stretch in South Florida, linking Miami and West Palm Beach. Plans are in place to expand this by another 170 miles to Orlando by year-end. The LA-Vegas connection will be their first endeavor on the West Coast, tapping into a significant market. As per the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 1.6 million Angelenos visited Vegas in 2019, solidifying LA as a primary source of visitors.