Vegas-to-Los Angeles high-speed train project making progress

Brightline West tentatively expected to innovate in 2023

By Dolores Quintana

Brightline West, a proposed high-speed rail project that would connect Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area, has announced a new date for the groundbreaking construction of the project.

A report from Forbes says Brightline has set a tentative date to begin construction in 2023 on a 170-mile electrified rail line that would be built on leased land near I-15. This high-speed train would reach top speeds of 180 miles per hour and the entire trip would take around 90 minutes from Apple Valley station. Each train could carry 1,200 passengers and departed every 45 minutes. If construction started in 2023, passenger services could start in 2026, three years later.

This is the third groundbreaking announcement of the project by the developers at Brightline. Previous dates had been announced in 2020 and 2021 but were delayed due to the effects of the global pandemic and lack of investor interest.

A concurrent study is underway to explore an additional spur that could be built to connect the Apple Valley line in Las Vegas to the town of Rancho Cucamonga. This would allow passengers in Los Angeles to take the Metrolink commuter rail to and from Union Station in Los Angeles and make the service more convenient for Angelenos. Transportation officials are also exploring the possibility of a 63-mile connector between Brightline and the developing high-speed rail project in Antelope Valley, which would allow Brightline to connect directly to Union Station.

Construction plans for a high-speed rail extension from Antelope Valley to Union Station have progressed after state officials certified the latest environmental impact report on the 14-mile extension from Burbank in downtown Los Angeles. The City of Burbank opposed the expansion with arguments that the positioning of the rail line could disrupt operations at Burbank Airport and affect the city’s drinking water supply. Officials have not yet certified any environmental studies on the proposed high-speed rail segments from Palmdale to Burbank or Los Angeles to Anaheim. However, Metro anticipated the certification and progression of these segments by initiating new projects to support the proposed construction.

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