America is the lethargic student who casually nods out in the back of class when it comes to railways. The one who shows up to class and doesn't know there's a test, then sneaks glances at smarter, more prepared peers' papers to somehow eke out a passing grade.
At long last, though, there are signs that America is willing to pull a couple all-nighters and keep up with the collective Joneses that are Japan, Spain, China and Switzerland.
And in true American fashion, this train development comes with an element of neon lights and unchecked capitalism. Brightline, a high-speed train carrier based in Florida, just announced its acquistion of XpressWest, and with that, the rights to develop a “federally approved corridor connecting Southern California to Las Vegas.” Ya. Hoo.
Brightline (2 images)
Brightline currently maintains a heavy, growing presence in South Florida (pictured above), and this will mark the company's first foray out of the state. That shouldn't be too daunting, though — Brightline has handled being the nation's only privately owned inter-city rail system well, and it's coming into the desert with a steady plan. The SoCal station will reside in Victorville, CA, while 38 acres off the Strip will be put aside for the Vegas station (along with all relevant transportation accoutrement ... shuttles, buses, etc.).
When can we expect construction to begin? As soon as next year, with a planned completion date of 2022. A high-speed rail corridor would shorten the trip from L.A. to Las Vegas from four hours to two, while indirectly shaving time — and stress — off the traditional driving route. Interstate 15 has long been a Hollywood symbol of wind-in-the-hair, “F*ck it, let's ride” vibes. But in reality, it's long, hot, dry and heavily trafficked.
A svelte Brightline corridor, though? Perfect for a two-hour snooze, a couple stiff drinks or some all-time people watching.
Find more information on the news here.
Images via Brightline