Virgin L.A.-To-Vegas High-Speed Train Is One Step Closer To Reality

by SharonKurheg

Brightline is a high-speed train system that currently operates passenger rail service in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We were able to experience it last year and all I can say is, “Wow!” They’re expanding to Orlando and eventually, potentially, Tampa, and there’s even some suggestion that they could make a stop at Walt Disney World, perhaps at the expense of Disney’s Magical Express.

In September 2018, Brightline (which will have an official name change to Virgin Trains USA in mid-2020), which is the nation’s only privately-owned, operated and maintained express intercity passenger rail system, announced its expansion to the West Coast, with the acquisition of XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project that has rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The project was supposed in 2019, but, as happens with these types of things, it got pushed back a bit. But it looks like they’re back online, as they just got over a big hurdle.


Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 3.58.37 PM

Source: Brightline/Twitter

As you can see from their tweet, Brightline was approved for tax-exempt bonds for the project. Specifically, a $600 million private activity bond to assist in covering the cost of the railway. As per Forbes, the organization can sell up to 4 times the allocation amount, which would bring them up to $2.4 billion.

They are also waiting on approval for some other funding which, all together, would put them within 800 million of their projected $5 billion costs.

Once running, the trains are expected to go 200mph and run only on electric power, so there will be no worries about pollution. A trip between Las Vegas and Los Angeles should take about 45 minutes. A permit for a 2-story train station, which also includes shops and restaurants, has been approved by Nevadas’s Clark County Commission. It will be placed near the South Premium Outlets mall at Las Vegas Blvd. and Warm Springs Rd.

Ground expected to be broken later this year.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Ryan April 22, 2020 - 6:36 pm

Assuming the trains move at top speed the entire time (which they will not) How do you cover 225 miles (that is direct) in 45 minutes?

Frank April 22, 2020 - 7:28 pm

It goes to Victorville, not LA. LA is another hour and a half drive.

SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT April 22, 2020 - 8:05 pm

Uhh….I don’t see ANY approvals or docket requests for an approval with the California Public Utilities Commission (C.P.U.C.). Unless the train is only going as far south to Stateline – I don’t see when/where/how any trackage rights, environmental and/or governmental approvals (other than the bond) have been granted in California. Nice try though. Lot’s of proposals – and maybe one day – this project will get off the ground and alleviate some of the congestion and deadly accidents that occur frequently on the I-15 corridor between the Inland Empire and Las Vegas.

My question is – Why only Las Vegas to Victorville? Who in the hell is going to drive all through the traffic and over the mountain from Orange, San Diego or Los Angeles counties – just to board a train at Victorville? It’s out in the middle of nowhere, unless you live in the high desert and are reasonably close.

California so far has a horrible “track” record with high speed rail. The state can’t get the promised service from San Francisco to Los Angeles built – and now it’s a shell of a once over-promised service between Bakersfield and Merced Who wants to go between Bakersfield and Merced? Amtrak California does a fine job now of serving the route with 5 to 6 trains a day..

I know how the high speed rail authority works – as I had to litigate with them over one of my stores/properties in Fresno County….bad all around!

The past year, Spirit has offered very low fares for the just little over one hour flight on the BUR-LAS route – much lower than WN. That seems the way to go to avoid the traffic tie-ups on the I-15 and the boon-doggle of high speed rail to Victorville. Pack this crazy idea in a box and go home!


jack April 22, 2020 - 8:52 pm

“A trip between Las Vegas and Los Angeles should take about 45 minutes.”…except at 200mph, and a distance of 270mi, it will take double the estimated time of 45min.

SharonKurheg April 22, 2020 - 10:51 pm

OK. I live on the other side of the county and was going by the reports I read. I was hoping they could do math. Perhaps not so much 😉

DT April 23, 2020 - 3:11 pm

The only way this project will be successful (if it does proceed, is to keep it totally private; keep California (state agencies and politicians) out of the process, except for doing “state stuff” like permits, and bonds.


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