Did you know plans have been in the works for years to connect Southern California to Las Vegas by rail? An 80 minute train ride from SoCal to Las Vegas may actually happen if the project kicks off in September 2016.
Well, after decades of failed proposals one seems to be getting traction, this one between XpressWest and Chinese Railway International USA.
The current proposal per XpressWest will take travelers from Victorville, CA to Las Vegas, NV with an 80 minute train journey. In addition to cutting a four hour journey to 80 minutes XpressWest states:
Driving on I-15 can take several more hours during peak times, and longer with any accidents or other delays. XpressWest alleviates congestion on the I-15, providing a better, cleaner, safer, and faster alternative to driving, and an unparalleled transportation EXPERIENCE.
In a piece by the Los Angeles Times,
“Little is known yet, but this is fascinating,” said Martin Wachs, professor emeritus of urban planning at UCLA and former director of the UC Transportation Center, a research institute. “If this is serious and a real commitment that allows XpressWest to build something, that is important.”
Wachs said the motive for the Chinese might be to establish a toehold in the nascent high-speed rail industry in the United States.
“Even if they lose money,” he added, “they could develop a market for Chinese technology and services by demonstrating that they can implement a project.”
According to bloomberg.com an initial capital investment of $100 million will be enough to start the project. Estimated costs for the total project goes as high as $12.7 billion.
The proposal will expand to provide services throughout Los Angeles, in the meantime, travelers would still have to get to Victorville, an hour journey by car from Los Angeles.
The project is estimated to take three years to complete if plans are approved. XpressWest proposes more than just a train journey for passengers, according to their website the journey will be an experience providing top amenities to travelers from hotel-check in, concierge and reservation services, and “multiple entertainment options” throughout the 150mph journey.