Brightline, a privately owned intercity passenger rail system, is expanding to the West Coast with a new route serving Las Vegas.
The company reports it has acquired XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. This project would be only the second privately funded express intercity passenger rail in the United States, following Brightline’s Florida rail corridor, the company said.
Brightline said the project will link one of the most traveled routes in the country, connecting more than 22 million people living in Southern California with Las Vegas, one of the most visited cities in the U.S. According to ridership studies, travelers make more than 50 million annual trips between Las Vegas and Southern California. Today those travelers are limited to traveling by air or car, and Brightline said it expects its rail service to make the trip in less than two hours.
As a result of the XpressWest acquisition, Brightline will take over the development, construction and operation of the project and work with federal and local transportation officials to connect Las Vegas with Victorville, California, with future plans to expand into the Los Angeles area.
The first phase of the corridor is expected to be built on a right of way within and adjacent to Interstate 15, traversing 185 miles with no at-grade or pedestrian crossings. Construction is expected to begin next year and Brightline is planning to begin initial service in 2022.
The planned Las Vegas Station is expected to be within the resort corridor and will be a major intermodal hub with access to taxis, buses, shuttles, and limousines. As part of the project, Brightline is acquiring approximately 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip for construction of the station and mixed-used development.
The first planned Southern California station is expected to be located in Victorville within a 30- to 45-minute drive of the approximately four to five million people who live in the Inland Empire and eastern Los Angeles County, and within close proximity to Southern California’s remaining 17 to 18 million residents. Planning for additional stations and connectivity to California Metrolink and eventually California High-Speed Rail is underway.
In addition to Brightline’s Florida development and operations and its anticipated development and operations between Las Vegas and Southern California announced today, Brightline said it continues to explore intercity rail opportunities across North America.