Getting to Las Vegas from Los Angeles will be a hassle of the past since an agreement has been reached to commence works on the United States’ first high-speed rail network, Brightline West, connecting the two U.S. cities – Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The total length of the project is estimated to cross 218 miles (350 kilometers), and the system will be run on electric energy.
Brightline West reached an agreement with several rail unions for the operations and maintenance of the service, which is a key step in enabling the project to proceed.
Construction on the US$10-billion private project is now expected to begin later in 2023 for an opening in 2027, making it the first high-speed rail system in the United States, and built just in time for the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympic Games.
Brightline, the rail company responsible for this project, announced that it had reached a consensus with a collective of various rail worker unions to go ahead with the $10 billion project. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was inked between Brighline and the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition.
“As the most shovel-ready high-speed rail project in the United States, we are one step closer to levelling the playing field against transit and infrastructure projects around the world, and we are proud to be using America’s most skilled workers to get there,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings, in a statement.
Brightline West will run next to Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and Southern California. The 13 unions in the collective “represents more than 160,000 freight, regional, commuter, and passenger railroad workers in the United States,” said a press release by the company.
The eastern terminus station in Las Vegas will be conveniently located near The Strip, on a vacant 110-acre site immediately adjacent to Las Vegas Premium Outlets South Mall.
Within the Los Angeles region, there will be stations at Hesperia, Apple Valley, and Rancho Cucamonga, which will be the western terminus station and allows passengers to connect with Metrolink’s regional commuter rail services.
Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, the high-speed network will employ technology enabling it to maintain a cruising speed of 200 miles per hour (321 km/h), significantly reducing travel time between the cities to just over an hour. Compared to a car journey that takes over four hours, this will be a game-changer.
Brightline, the company spearheading the project, estimates that the expenditure on the project will give a much-needed boost to the economy, creating nearly 35,000 jobs during the construction phase and around 10,000 permanent jobs.
Moreover, the fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S., removing 3 million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.
The project will also be the first high-speed rail system that will be operated and maintained by workers of the various rail unions. “As the most shovel-ready high-speed rail project in the United States, we are one step closer to leveling the playing field against transit and infrastructure projects around the world, and we are proud to be using America’s most skilled workers to get there,” said Mike.