It looks like the long attempted high speed train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is finally going to happen as Brightline West has announced that they will begin construction on the route later this year. The company already operates a high speed line between Miami and West Palm Beach in Florida with plans to extend that service to Orlando Airport with plans to extend to Disney World in the future.
The Los Angeles to Las Vegas service called Brightline West won’t quite reach Los Angeles as it will stop in California desert in a town called Victorville, from which passengers will be able to take Metrolink commuter trains in to Los Angeles Union Station or Orange County.
No exact date has been given for construction to start on the new line later this year on the route which will run along side Interstate 15 for most of its way. The up to 200 mile an hour trains will traverse the route in approximately three hours which is comparable to driving but without the stress of having to deal with the traffic on the Interstate.
Brightline is touting the 200 mile electric trains having zero emissions but of course the electricity has to be produced somewhere so not exactly zero emissions; Although the company could use carbon off sets for the emissions generated. The route between Los Angeles to Las Vegas is perfect for a high speed train route as Interstate 15 see approximately 50 million one way trips each year between the two cities.
The company is betting a lot of money that this route will be successful but it does have a lot of competition from many daily flights from the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas as well as numerous bus companies such as Flixbus, Greyhound and Megabus operating many daily bues on the route.
Amtrak with the new train friendly President Joe Biden has also shown interest in the route although unless Amtrak trains make a deal with Brightline to share their track i don’t know how that would happen now. Amtrak has also mentioned they might want to start a high speed service from Phoenix to Las Vegas so maybe that might be a better alternative for them.
Its been many years since there was a passenger train service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Amtrak used to operate a service which i took but it was slow and, expensive. The service used the freight companies track and, was often delayed by freight trains with the service often taking up to size hours.
Several companies have tried over the years since the end of Amtrak’s former service to try to start a service and, have failed but this attempt looks like it finally might proceed.