Vegas-to-L.A. High-Speed Rail Groundbreaking Held for 218-Mile Line

Brightline West has kicked off construction for its electric, high-speed train system between Las Vegas and Southern California that will be the first of its kind in the U.S.

The 218 miles of rail will be built in the median of Interstate 15, enabling trains to travel at speeds of up to 200 mph. Set to open before the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the passenger rail system will cut travel time in half to 2 hours between the two destinations, Brightline says.

The fully electric trains are designed to produce no carbon emissions. Brightline says that by saving plane and car travel, the system will cut 400,000 tons a year of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Four stops are planned for the system. Along with a stop near the Vegas Strip, there will be stations in California at Victor Valley, Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga.

The Rancho Cucamonga Station will enable a further passenger-rail connector to downtown L.A. via the California Metrolink.

aerial shot of Las Vegas high speed rail station location in desertThe groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future Las Vegas station April 22.Brightline WestThe system is estimated to cost $12 billion, more than half of which has been obtained. The federal infrastructure law provided $3 billion, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has allocated $2.5 billion in private bonds to be issued. The rest is to be raised through the private sector.

Brightline says the system will be built and operated by union labor. “It will use 700,000 concrete rail ties, 2.2 million tons of ballast and 63,000 tons of 100% American steel rail during construction.”

It will also include 322 miles of overhead lines to power the trains and 3.4 million square feet of retaining walls. Brightline West says the project materials will fully comply with Buy America law.

Brightline is the same company that brought high-speed passenger rail to Florida, completing its link between Orlando and Miami in 2023.

Brightline says it plans to bring high-speed passenger rail between other cities across the U.S., focusing on pairs that are too far apart for driving and too near each other for flying.

“This is a historic project and a proud moment where we break ground on America’s first high-speed rail system and lay the foundation for a new industry,” said Wes Edens, Brightline founder. “Today is long overdue, but the blueprint we’ve created with Brightline will allow us to repeat this model in other city pairs around the country.”

map of future high speed rail system between Las Vegas and L.A.Brightline West