(Cole Lauterbach) – Las Vegas residents could hop on a train after lunch and step off in downtown Los Angeles before dinner in only a few years, according to a progress update from the company seeking to make the rail trip a reality.
Brightline, a Florida-based company focusing on city-to-city light rail, is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration for permission to begin construction on the line, which would connect the two cities.
A DOT update said the environmental review and permitting process is “on track” and expected to be completed in November.
Much of the line is approved. The latest update addressed a 49-mile line that would connect Victor Valley, California, and the Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Once completed, a passenger would depart from Brightline’s Las Vegas terminal and connect with a public rail in Rancho Cucamonga en route to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.
“Trains are expected to operate daily on 45-minute headways between Victor Valley and Rancho Cucamonga,” the status report said. “The trip between Victor Valley and Rancho Cucamonga would be approximately 35 minutes. Service would be coordinated with existing and planned Metrolink service at the Rancho Cucamonga station to provide a convenient connection between the HSR and commuter rail systems.”
The entire trip, the company estimated, could be done in less than four hours.
The project, once started, is expected to cost $8 billion and take three years to complete, according to Forbes. Under that timeline, the rail line could offer tickets in 2026.
Brightline acquired XpressWest, a high-speed rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas, in 2018. With the acquisition, the company received land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for a station. The project was initially planned to launch in 2022.
According to a release, Brightline estimated the rail line would have a $10 billion economic impact and generate $1 billion in annual tax revenue.