Getting to Las Vegas may be about to get a whole lot easier for Southern California residents. KTLA reports that construction of a high-speed rail line from California to Las Vegas is finally set to begin later this year.
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The project is being spearheaded by Brightline/Brightline West, who also constructed a line in Florida that links Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The 218-mile system will cost $10 billion to build. While some reporting has been calling this an L.A. to Las Vegas line, that’s not exactly the case.
The line will consist of five stations, none of which are in L.A. proper or L.A. County. L.A. residents will have to make the trek inland to the Inland Empire city of Rancho Cucamonga which is where the first station will be. From there three stations will be in Southern California’s High Desert in Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Victor Valley. The final stop will be the Las Vegas strip.
The project is set to have many benefits. Construction is expected to create 40,000 jobs, and 1,000 permanent jobs once the line is up and running, and is expected to make up its construction costs in revenue. The environmental benefits are equally big. Studies by Brightline show that Southern Californians make over 50 million annual trips to Las Vegas by way of I-15. The rail line is expected to take 12 million of those annual trips, which means that an estimated 400,000 tons of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere by reducing traffic on the interstate. It’ll be made better by the train being an EMU (electric multiple unit).
Riders can expect a travel time of just over two hours as the train reaches its 180 mph top speed. The line is expected to be an elevated line as well running above the desert floor. Brightline says passengers can expect features like onboard wifi, food and beverage service, and checked luggage and hotel check-in service. Completion of the line is expected in 2026 or 2027.