Brightline’s High-Speed Train Between LA and Las Vegas Could Be Back on Track

Molly Wright

Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics' student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Brightline’s High-Speed Train Between LA and Las Vegas Could Be Back on Track
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Those four-hour drives between Los Angeles and Las Vegas could still become a thing of the past.

Private passenger rail company Brightline’s plans for an electric, high-speed train between the two cities could commence construction as soon as early 2023, Forbes reported today. U.S. regulators have begun reviewing a proposed 49-mile extension to the company’s planned Brightline West service that would connect Rancho Cucamonga to Victor Valley—linking the L.A. exurb to Brightline’s already approved, 216-mile railway connecting Victor Valley to Las Vegas.

While Rancho Cucamonga is some 40 miles east of Downtown L.A. in San Bernardino County, it is connected to Downtown’s Union Station by the Metrolink commuter rail line. Brightline’s trains between Rancho Cucamonga and Victor Valley would run at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour, while service between Victor Valley and Las Vegas would reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s regulatory review could be completed by this November, which would allow Miami-based Brightline to begin construction with the goal of starting passenger journeys in 2026. The company estimates the electrified railway between Rancho Cucamonga and Las Vegas will cost $8 billion and take three years to complete, according to Forbes.

Brightline’s proposed rail extension calls for train stations in Rancho Cucamonga—which would be adjacent to an existing Metrolink station there—and roughly 40 miles north in Hesperia. With the extension, a passenger would be able to board a Metrolink train at Union Station, connect through Rancho Cucamonga and be in Las Vegas in around three-and-a-half hours. That would be shorter than the typical four-hour car ride between L.A. and Vegas, while travelers wouldn’t have to worry about traffic, parking or gas. (It could also be a viable alternative for those who don’t want to bother with the hassle or stress of flying between the two cities.)

Brightline—which is controlled by Fortress Investment Group co-founder and Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens—had initially planned to start construction on its West Coast service in late 2020, but delayed bond sales financing the project due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company is currently finishing an extension to its Florida rail between Miami to Orlando, with service expected to begin in early 2023.

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