From Sin City to the City of Angels, building starts on high-speed rail line


Breaking ground on a $12 billion high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area is set to begin soon, with officials expecting millions of travelers to hop on board by 2028.

Brightline West, known for its fast train service between Miami and Orlando, Florida, plans to lay down 218 miles of new track from a terminal near the Las Vegas Strip to Rancho Cucamonga, California. The majority of the track will be built along Interstate 15, with a stop in the Victorville area of San Bernardino County.

Wes Edens, the founder of Brightline Holdings, called this moment “the start of something big,” aiming to create a new transportation industry that connects cities too close to fly between but too far to drive.

The company aims to have trains running by the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony, showcasing the project’s significant federal backing, including grants and bond approvals totaling $6.5 billion.

This project is hailed as the nation’s first true high-speed passenger rail line, capable of speeds up to 186 mph, similar to Japan’s famous bullet trains. The route between Vegas and L.A. is largely open space, making the train a convenient option.

Electric-powered trains will cut travel time across the Mojave Desert to just over two hours, attracting an estimated 11 million passengers annually. With amenities like restrooms, Wi-Fi, and food service, fares are expected to be more affordable than air travel.

The train line is expected to alleviate congestion on I-15, a popular route between the two cities, especially during peak travel times. Las Vegas, known for its tourism and growing population, sees millions of visitors each year, making the rail line a welcomed addition to the transportation network.

Brightline Holdings, already successful in Florida, operates a similar line between Miami and Orlando. With ticket prices around $80 for a one-way trip, the company offers convenient and affordable travel options.

While high-speed rail projects have been discussed for other U.S. cities, many have faced delays. The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s proposed line between Los Angeles and San Francisco has seen cost overruns and challenges, but projects like the Las Vegas to L.A. line show promise for the future of American rail travel.


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