High-Speed Train From Vegas to LA in the Works After Union Agreement

March 4, 2023
  • Brightline announced a deal with rail unions to build a 218-mile, high-speed line from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. 
  • The company plans to connect Las Vegas to Southern California via rail capable of traveling 200 mph.
  • Brightline hopes to break ground this year, and finish the system by the end of 2027.

Rail company Brightline announced an agreement last week with a group of rail worker unions to build a $10 billion,  high-speed train connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

Brightline's agreement — made with the High Speed Rail Labor Coalition, a collective of 13 rail unions that represent over 160,000 railroad workers across freight and passenger rail — greenlit the development of a 218-mile rail line between the two cities, according to the company's announcement. 

"Our nation's first high-speed rail system will be operated and maintained by union labor, a statement of the strength of the American workforce," Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings, said in a statement. 

Reininger continued: "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."

Brightline estimates the "Brightline West" project will have an economic impact of about $10 billion on the area, creating about 35,000 construction jobs, as well as 1,000 permanent jobs at stops along the line in Southern California. 

The company also estimates the Brightline West project could attract about 12 million of the 50 million one-way trips taken annually between Las Vegas and Los Angeles annually, 85% of which are taken by bus or car.

Brightline said it believes the draw away from car and bus trips will result in about 400,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas, from being put into the atmosphere per year.

A Brightline executive told SFGate the company expects to break ground this year, and hopes to finish construction in 2027.

The train will eventually be capable of traveling around 200 miles per hour, meaning a trip across the whole 218-mile line would take a little over an hour. A Las Vegas tourism website estimates that a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas by car takes an average of four hours, depending on traffic conditions.

The rail line is set to run from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, according to the company's website. The press release said the rail line will have stops in Rancho Cucamonga, Apple Valley, and Hesperia, California.

Brightline currently operates a rail service that has several stations throughout Florida, and is also set to open an extension this year connecting Disney World in Orlando with its existing stations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, among others.

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