XpressWest Brightline (DesertXpress), Vegas-Victorville

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby dowlingm » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:06 am

Joint venture announced with Chinese companies. Let's see where this goes.
http://qz.com/504194/chinas-first-high- ... las-vegas/

partial quote follows:

China has signed its first high-speed railway contract in the US, days ahead of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington D.C. A consortium led by state-owned China Railway Group and US company XpressWest will set up a joint venture to build a 370-kilometer (230-mile) high-speed line linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

China’s leading group on financial and economic affairs announced the deal at a press conference on Thursday (Sept. 17), and said construction will begin next September. The project comes after four years of negotiation and will be supported by $100 million in initial capital, though the source of that capital was not specified, nor was the project’s expected cost and competition date. But 21st Century Business Herald and other Chinese papers reported the project will cost $12.7 billion and take three years.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby bostontrainguy » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:19 am

These guys are building a huge plant here in Massachusetts and are aggressively looking for opportunities in high-speed rail in the US. Looks like this may be the first one. California high-speed rail and Amtrak are probably other dominoes to fall their way in the near future.

No matter what you may think of China, at least they are getting things done. Our record is pretty dismal.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby jstolberg » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:03 pm

135 miles from Victorville to Las Vegas, about the same distance as New Haven to Boston.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby jstolberg » Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:23 pm

High speed bridge building, Chinese style.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6X82g2UZOs
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Arlington » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:34 am

Apparently XpressWest continues to be nursed along--I guess hoping for a change in political climate:
http://www.reviewjournal.com/traffic/hi ... adium-site
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:42 pm

First comes EPA clearance. Hold your breath while you wait for that.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:37 am

Well, bumping this thread is going to raise some major dust clouds! At any rate, after 10 years, some very interesting news this morning:

The Wall Street Journal wrote:Sept. 18, 2018 12:01 a.m. ET
A Florida company has agreed to acquire the operator of a planned high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, in a deal that may breathe new life into the long-delayed project.

Brightline Trains LLC, based in Miami, Fla., was expected to announce Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire XpressWest, a private rail project developed and owned by famed Las Vegas Strip contractor Tony Marnell.

Financial details weren’t disclosed.

XpressWest has secured most of the state and federal approvals needed to develop a 185-mile route for electric trains to travel at speeds up to 150 miles an hour between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif., a high-desert city on the outskirts of the Los Angeles metro area.

...

The Las Vegas venture first got under way in 2005 and has had trouble raising the money needed to start construction. Earlier projections estimated its cost at up to $7 billion, but Brightline officials say they expect to build it for about half that. They expect to achieve some of the savings by altering some of the design and engineering.

“Our experience in Florida is proving that private-sector investment has a meaningful role to play in developing transportation infrastructure,” Wes Edens, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Fortress Investment Group, which manages funds that own Brightline, said in a statement.



Full article here (behind a paywall, sorry) https://www.wsj.com/articles/las-vegas-high-speed-rail-venture-gets-new-owner-1537243260?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Arlington » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:46 am

Press release:
http://press.gobrightline.com/showPress ... /100055086
Drop Box:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b2u18kxgfr49 ... qppva?dl=0

Text of Press Release:
Brightline to Build Express Intercity Passenger Rail Connecting Southern California and Las Vegas
MIAMI – Sept. 18, 2018 –

HIGHLIGHTS:

Brightline agrees to acquire XpressWest, a high-speed rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas
Brightline will acquire 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for the construction of a station and mixed-use development
Brightline currently operates passenger rail service in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and is expanding to Orlando, with plans to further expand into Tampa
This project will be Brightline's first corridor outside Florida and the second privately funded express intercity passenger service in the nation
Today Brightline, the nation's only privately owned, operated and maintained express intercity passenger rail system, announced its expansion to the West Coast with the acquisition of XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. This project would be only the second privately funded express intercity passenger rail in the United States, following Brightline's Florida rail corridor.

“Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and too short to fly,” said Wes Edens, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Fortress Investment Group. “Our experience in Florida is proving that private-sector investment has a meaningful role to play in developing transportation infrastructure. We're excited to bring Brightline's world-class and convenient travel experience to Southern California and Las Vegas.”

“The introduction of high-speed rail between Las Vegas to Southern California will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to our state and support increased tourism,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “Brightline has built a proven model for privately funded high-speed rail service in Florida and we are excited to welcome them to Nevada.”

Brightline will link one of the most traveled routes in the country, connecting more than 22 million people living in Southern California with Las Vegas, one of the most visited cities in the U.S. According to ridership studies, travelers make more than 50 million annual trips between Las Vegas and Southern California. Today those travelers are limited to traveling by air or car, and Brightline expects to offer a convenient alternative that will make the trip in less than two hours.

As a result of the XpressWest acquisition, Brightline will take over the development, construction and operation of the project and work with federal and local transportation officials to connect Las Vegas with Victorville, California, with future plans to expand into the Los Angeles area.

The first phase of the corridor is expected to be built on a right of way within and adjacent to Interstate 15, traversing 185 miles with no at-grade or pedestrian crossings. Construction is expected to begin next year and Brightline is planning to begin initial service in 2022.

“Brightline's model is setting a new standard for train travel in America,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline. “Today's announcement is an important milestone for our company as we reimagine transportation between these major metropolitan areas. We look forward to working with the region's stakeholders to make this vision a reality.”

“The XpressWest team has done an incredible job bringing this project together and we're confident that Brightline will fulfill our mission and promise to the region,” said Tony Marnell, founder and chief executive officer of Marnell Companies. “We've been impressed with what Brightline has accomplished in Florida and are excited to be part of the team that is working to deliver privately funded high-speed rail to improve mobility in America.”

The planned Las Vegas Station is expected to be located within the resort corridor and will be a major intermodal hub with access to taxis, buses, shuttles, and limousines. As part of the project, Brightline is acquiring approximately 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for construction of the station and mixed-used development.

The first planned Southern California station is expected to be located in Victorville within a 30- to 45-minute drive of the approximately four to five million people who live in the Inland Empire and eastern Los Angeles County, and within close proximity to Southern California's remaining 17 to 18 million residents. Planning for additional stations and connectivity to California Metrolink and eventually California High-Speed Rail is underway.

“California has a vision for a modernized rail network that is fast, clean, and convenient for travelers, and the introduction of Brightline service linking Southern California to Las Vegas will help us achieve that vision” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Annis. “Brightline will be beneficial for our economy and our transportation system.”

Similar to Brightline's operations in Florida, the corridor between Southern California and Las Vegas is expected to generate major regional economic benefits, including construction and permanent job opportunities and local and state tax revenue.

In addition to Brightline's Florida development and operations and its anticipated development and operations between Las Vegas and Southern California announced today, Brightline continues to explore intercity rail opportunities across North America.

Please see the link below for Brightline's press kit:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b2u18kxgfr49 ... qppva?dl=0

About Brightline

Brightline is the new benchmark for travel by train in America with express inter-city passenger rail service connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with expected future service to Orlando and Tampa, and expected future service connecting Las Vegas and Southern California. Providing a travel option that lives at the intersection of transportation and hospitality, the service will ease the stress of traffic, provide a simple and intuitive experience from door to destination, and foster new opportunities to explore more of Southeast Florida and the Southwestern United States. Brightline is the only privately owned, operated and maintained express intercity passenger rail system in the United States. For more information, visit our website: www.gobrightline.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Arlington » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:48 am

As Brightline followers have noted in Florida, Brightline is an old-school railroad in having Real Estate Development (income) be part of its business plan. Perhaps the opportunity they saw was that Brighline knows what to do with 38 Acres near the Las Vegas Strip in a way that other, "transit-focused" companies would not:
Brightline will acquire 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for the construction of a station and mixed-use development

They also have (and are apparently happy with) their Buy-America compliant diesel 125mph trainsets.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:57 am

Lest we forget, UP helped make Vegas.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Arlington » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:30 pm

John_Perkowski wrote:Lest we forget, UP helped make Vegas.

That narrative was flipped: first came the railroad, then came the tourist destination

Here the question is: can the tourist destination come first, and can it pay the mortgage for a from-scratch passenger-only railroad?

The business plan says: transit isn't enough. For this to work we also need to capture value from our station-district real estate.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:06 pm

Am I reading into it too much, or is Brightline/XpressWest signaling that they'll be using the same Siemens Viaggio Brightline trainsets? And if so, they could access the first mile/last mile on Class I rails? (Meaning, LAX is now entirely a possibility on UP or BNSF rails?)

Very exciting development. :-D
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby electricron » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:26 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Am I reading into it too much, or is Brightline/XpressWest signaling that they'll be using the same Siemens Viaggio Brightline trainsets? And if so, they could access the first mile/last mile on Class I rails? (Meaning, LAX is now entirely a possibility on UP or BNSF rails?)
Very exciting development. :-D

I think you are reading too much intent into the press release.
Siemens Viaggio train sets will probably be limited to 125 mph, and the distance between Victorville and Las Vegas is about 187 miles, depending upon actual locations of both train stations. Math = 187 miles / 125 mph = 1.496 hours.
The press release mentions less than 90 minutes, so..........???

The trains will have to average 125 mph to travel that 187 miles, and I frankly think that is too much for a train with a maximum speed of just 125 mph. A train with a maximum speed of 150 mph should easily be able to average 125 mph with a limited stop plan. How about purchasing Amtrak’s soon to be idle Acela train sets? Add a diesel locomotive to the front end of them to make the run south to Los Angeles, they are already fully FRA compliant. Of course, once CHSR builds the new HSR corridor north to Palmdale, that would be the time to buy all brand new trains that meet alternate FRA compliant standards. Somehow they will have to lay a new HSR corridor between Victorville and Palmdale, i.e. phase 2.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:41 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Am I reading into it too much, or is Brightline/XpressWest signaling that they'll be using the same Siemens Viaggio Brightline trainsets? And if so, they could access the first mile/last mile on Class I rails? (Meaning, LAX is now entirely a possibility on UP or BNSF rails?)

Very exciting development. :-D

I would not be at all surprised to learn that the Brightline team have at least had preliminary discussions with UP and/or BNSF about what would need to happen for them to access the Cajon Pass. I doubt Fortress would be throwing money at this if they didn't have a plan for getting over the San Gabriels and into the Los Angeles Basin. And the fact that these guys are honest-to-God railroaders with Class I experience means they're a lot more likely to get a genuine hearing in Omaha and Fort Worth.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Jadebenn » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:22 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:I would not be at all surprised to learn that the Brightline team have at least had preliminary discussions with UP and/or BNSF about what would need to happen for them to access the Cajon Pass. I doubt Fortress would be throwing money at this if they didn't have a plan for getting over the San Gabriels and into the Los Angeles Basin. And the fact that these guys are honest-to-God railroaders with Class I experience means they're a lot more likely to get a genuine hearing in Omaha and Fort Worth.

Class I experience? I mean, the FEC is certainly Class I in operation, but it's still a Class II as far as the FRA's concerned. And RailAmerica was a Class III if I remember correctly.

Granted, your point still stands. If nothing else, I think the FEC is well-known enough in the industry to catch the giants' attention.
Last edited by mtuandrew on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed nested quote
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