High-Speed Train From California To Las Vegas Could Be Back On Track

High-Speed Train From California To Las Vegas Could Be Back On Track
© USA Today

Construction of a high-speed train from Southern California to Las Vegas, zipping through the desert at 180 mph, could begin in about four months. 

This could be good news for Las Vegas Raiders fans and others from the Los Angeles area.

Brightline West, the private company proposing the $8-billion rail system, plans to get going on the project in October or late November, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 

Construction is expected to last three years.

October and November are target dates because of high-speed rail grants and an environmental review that could come through by then, the newspaper reported.

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The above-ground, electric train would travel from the Apple Valley-Victorville area in California to a new train station near the Las Vegas Strip. The Las Vegas station would be south of Harry Reid International Airport, about 10 miles from downtown Las Vegas. It would be four miles from Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. 

The California main station would be in San Bernardino County, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. Additional transportation would link the Apple Valley station to downtown Los Angeles.

The trip from California to Las Vegas would take three hours, with about 135 miles of the track following Interstate 15, according to Brightline’s website.

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Las Vegas Tourism Boost

In Southern Nevada, skepticism has existed for decades that a high-speed train will ever be built.

The late Tom Hawley, a longtime reporter for KSNV-TV in Las Vegas, aired stories over the years about proposed high-speed rail systems that were never constructed. Hawley died in October 2021 of pancreatic cancer.

“We’ve been hearing variations going back three-and-a-half decades,” Hawley said in one broadcast.

Though some in the public remain doubtful, Gov. Steve Sisolak and other Nevada officials are eager for the high-speed train to be built. 

About a fifth of Las Vegas’ visitors come from Southern California, but the almost five-hour drive can be a deterrent. Traffic jams on Sunday afternoon sometimes add frustrating time to the trip for tourists pouring out of Las Vegas to return home to the Los Angeles area. 

Los Angeles is the closest major metropolitan area to Las Vegas.

Even with higher gas prices and recent airline flight disruptions, however, larger numbers of tourists continue to visit the Las Vegas Valley. 

The visitor volume in June reached 3.32 million, only 7.8 percent below the pre-pandemic total of 3.6 million in June 2019.

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Raider Nation Strong In LA

The start of the NFL season is expected to attract an added surge of tourists to Las Vegas from Southern California. The Raiders, who once made Los Angeles their home, continue to have a strong fan base there.

The Raiders open the preseason schedule on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. At Caesars Sportsbook, the Raiders are favored by one point. 

The Raiders’ first regular-season home game is Sept. 18 against the Arizona Cardinals. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Raiders as two-point favorites in that game.

The NHL's Vegas Golden Knights also attract crowds from Southern California, especially when the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks are playing at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas tourism from the Los Angeles area also could be bolstered if voters throughout California reject two November ballot items to legalize California sports betting, given that sports betting is legal in Nevada.