May 19, 2024

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Las Vegas' flagship Brightline West high-speed rail project launches

Las Vegas' flagship Brightline West high-speed rail project launches

Monday is expected to be a major milestone for the high-speed rail project. The Brightline West project is set to break ground on a new rail system that will one day connect Southern California to Las Vegas.

Once operational, it will be the country's first high-speed intercity rail system. It will greatly expand on BrightLine's innovative concept and services in Florida that currently connect the Southeast Coast to Orlando.

Brightline West

Monday's groundbreaking on the future Brigthline station in Las Vegas will mark the official start of construction on the planned 218-mile rail line, which includes a station just south of the Vegas Strip. From there, the all-electric trains will cross the Nevada desert on their way to Southern California stations in Victor Valley and Hesperia, before arriving at the Western station in Rancho Cucamonga, outside Los Angeles.

Grimshaw Architects/Brightline West

In Rancho Cucamonga, Brightline West passengers will be able to connect to regional transit, as the planned station is set to be located just steps from a Metrolink station, where passengers can then travel to other parts of Southern California.

Once fully operational, trains are expected to reach speeds of 200 mph, and the trip between Rancho Cucamonga and Vegas is expected to take just over two hours. By car, the trip can take more than four hours – including driving through the Mojave Desert.

Brightline West

In total, the company says the trip from Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, followed by a Metrolink connection to central Los Angeles, should take approximately three hours.

Plan large investments

The estimated $12 billion project has been discussed for years, and got a major boost in December, when the Biden administration announced $3 billion in… The grants, which support Brightline West, are made possible through partnerships with California and Nevada through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021.

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Like Brightline in Florida, the company's Western Line may be well positioned to avoid many of the trappings of red tape, by relying on existing rights-of-way for its routes. Brightline West trains will run along Interstate 15 – down the middle of the interstate. This should help the company avoid many of the time-consuming permitting processes that come with clearing land or parcels of property — often factors that can delay rail projects.

Brightline West

Construction work on the Bright Line West project is expected to last about four years. If all goes according to plan, this timeline could see the new system open just in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

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Leading on Monday

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is expected to join local leaders and top Brightline officials at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

It is certainly not a coincidence that the ceremony occurred on Earth Day, considering that the trains will be emissions-free and run on electricity. Monday's planned groundbreaking also comes exactly seven months after the company It opened an extension of the Florida Line connecting its coastal stations with terminals at Orlando International Airport (MCO).

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