Home » Groundbreaking For High-Speed Rail Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California

Groundbreaking For High-Speed Rail Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California

by Pleasant View

On Monday, Brightline West officially broke ground on the nation’s first true high-speed rail system which will connect Las Vegas to Southern California.

The 218-mile system will be constructed in the middle of the I-15 and is based on Brightline’s vision to connect city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive. Hailed as the greenest form of transportation in the world, Brightline West will run zero emission, fully electric trains capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour.

Brightline West is a watershed project for high-speed rail in America and will establish the foundation for the creation of a new industry and supply chain. The project was recently awarded $3 billion in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The rest of the project will be privately funded and has received a total allocation of $3.5 billion in private activity bonds from USDOT.

“People have been dreaming of high-speed rail in America for decades – and now, with billions of dollars of support made possible by President Biden’s historic infrastructure law, it’s finally happening,” said Secretary Buttigieg. “Partnering with state leaders and Brightline West, we’re writing a new chapter in our country’s transportation story that includes thousands of union jobs, new connections to better economic opportunity, less congestion on the roads, and less pollution in the air.”

“This is a historic project and a proud moment where we break ground on America’s first high-speed rail system and lay the foundation for a new industry,” said Wes Edens, Brightline founder. “Today is long overdue, but the blueprint we’ve created with Brightline will allow us to repeat this model in other city pairs around the country.”

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CONSTRUCTION OF BRIGHTLINE WEST

Brightline West’s rail system will span 218 miles and reach speeds of 200 mph. The route, which has full environmental clearance, will run within the median of the I-15 highway with zero grade crossings. The system will have stops in Las Vegas, Nev., as well as Victor Valley, Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

The privately led infrastructure project is one of the largest in the nation and will be constructed and operated by union labor. It will use 700,000 concrete rail ties, 2.2 million tons of ballast, and 63,000 tons of 100% American steel rail during construction. Upon completion, it will include 322 miles of overhead lines to power the trains and will include 3.4 million square feet of retaining walls. The project covers more than 160 structures including viaducts and bridges. Brightline West will be fully Buy America Compliant.

STATIONS AND FACILITIES

Brightline West will connect Southern California and Las Vegas in two hours or almost half the time as driving. The Las Vegas Station will be located near the iconic Las Vegas Strip, on a 110-acre property north of Blue Diamond Road between I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard. The site provides convenient access to the Harry Reid International Airport, the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium. The station is approximately 80,000 square feet plus parking.

The Victor Valley Station in Apple Valley will be located on a 300-acre parcel southeast of Dale Evans Parkway and the I-15 interchange. The station is intended to offer a future connection to the High Desert Corridor and California High Speed Rail. The Victor Valley Station is approximately 20,000 square feet plus parking.

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The Rancho Cucamonga Station will be located on a 5-acre property at the northwest corner of Milliken Avenue and Azusa Court near Ontario International Airport. The station will be co-located with existing multi-modal transportation options including California Metrolink, for seamless connectivity to Downtown Los Angeles and other locations in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The Rancho Cucamonga Station is approximately 80,000 square feet plus parking.

The Hesperia Station will be located within the I-15 median at the I-15/Joshua Street interchange and will function primarily as a local rail service for residents in the High Desert on select southbound morning and northbound evening weekday trains.

The Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) is a 200,000-square-foot building located on 238 acres in Sloan, Nev., and will be the base for daily maintenance and staging of trains. This site will also serve as one of two hubs for the maintenance of way operations and the operations control center. More than 100 permanent employees will report on a daily basis once operations begin and will serve as train crews, corridor maintenance crews, or operations control center teammates. A second maintenance of way facility will be located adjacent to the Apple Valley station.

MARKET

The Las Vegas and Southern California travel market is one of the nation’s most attractive corridors with over 50 million trips between the region each year. Additionally, Las Vegas continues to attract visitors from around the world, with 4.7 million international travelers flying into the destination. The city dubs itself on being the world’s No. 1 meeting destination, welcoming nearly 6 million people to the Las Vegas Convention Center last year.

In California, approximately 17 million Southern California residents are within 25 miles of the Brightline West station sites. Studies show that one out of every three visits to Las Vegas come from Southern California.

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ECONOMIC & ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Brightline West’s $12 billion infrastructure investment will create over $10 billion in economic impact for Nevada and California and will generate more than 35,000 jobs, including 10,000 direct union construction roles and 1,000 permanent operations and maintenance positions. The investment also includes over $800 million in improvements to the I-15 corridor and involves agreements with several unions for skilled labor. The project supports Nevada and California’s climate goals by offering a no-emission mobility option that reduces greenhouse gasses by over 400,000 tons of CO2 annually – reducing vehicle miles traveled by more than 700 million each year and the equivalent of 16,000 short-haul flights. The company will also construct three wildlife overpasses, in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Caltrans for the safe passage of native species, primarily the bighorn sheep.

BRIGHTLINE FLORIDA

Brightline’s first rail system in Florida connecting Miami to Orlando began initial service between its South Florida stations in 2018. In September 2023, Brightline’s Orlando station opened at Orlando International Airport, connecting South Florida to Central Florida. The company has plans to expand its system with future stops in Tampa, Florida’s Space Coast in Cocoa and the Treasure Coast in Stuart.

ABOUT BRIGHTLINE WEST

 

Brightline is the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail service in America – offering a guest-first experience designed to reinvent train travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too short to fly and too long to drive.

Brightline is currently operating its first passenger rail system connecting Central and South Florida with stations in Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, with future stations coming to Stuart and Cocoa.

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