Bullet Train From Vegas to LA in the Works

First passengers projected to board in 2028
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2024 1:58 PM CDT
Bullet Train From Vegas to LA In the Works
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at the groundbreaking for a high-speed passenger rail on Monday, April 22, 2024, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

A $12 billion passenger bullet train designed to link Las Vegas and Los Angeles was dubbed the first true high-speed rail line in the nation on Monday, with the private company building it predicting that millions of ticket-buyers will be boarding trains by 2028, per the AP.

  • Brightline West, whose sister company already operates a fast train between Miami and Orlando in Florida, aims to lay 218 miles of new track almost all in the median of Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, California. It would link there with a commuter rail connection to downtown Los Angeles. A station also is planned in San Bernardino County's Victorville area.

  • Company officials say the goal is to have trains exceeding speeds of 186 mph—comparable to Japan's Shinkansen bullet trains—operating in time for the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028.
  • Las Vegas has no Amtrak service. The idea of a bullet train to Los Angeles dates back decades under various names including DesertXpress. Brightline West acquired the project in 2019, and company and public officials say it has all required right-of-way and environmental approvals, along with labor agreements.
  • Brightline West says electric-powered trains will cut the four-hour trip across the Mojave Desert to a little more than two hours. It projects 11 million one-way passengers per year, with fares expected to be comparable to those of airline tickets.
  • Brightline received Biden administration backing including a $3 billion grant from federal infrastructure funds and recent approval to sell another $2.5 billion in tax-exempt bonds. The company won federal authorization in 2020 to sell $1 billion in similar bonds.
(More high-speed rail stories.)

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