California’s been trying to get its high-speed rail line up for years, and now a company called Brightline Holdings wants to show how it’s done in the short form, on a small, private line that would run from Rancho Cucamonga to Vegas.
There’s a complicated mass of issues at play, as reported by yahoo!news, but basically Brightline hopes to capture 22 percent of people who would otherwise drive or fly. Its spur would run down the center of the 15 freeway, reducing the need to procure land. Critics including leadership of the National Parks Conservation Association worry about the impact on wildlife, especially through stretches of the Mohave Desert, and urge the construction of three wildlife ramps to protect at-risk animals like the endangered desert tortoise.
Another concern is that if the system isn’t profitable, public dollars will have to hold it up, as it’s hard to completely dismiss a transit system that requires so much effort to build.
The ride would take about three hours and cost $60, a slight raise from the typical $50 airplane ticket – but since rail travel is more comfortable, riders might be willing to pay an upcharge. Drivers especially would be relieved to be released from the rigors of driving in stressful, impacted traffic. The train would travel at 180 miles an hour, which would make it the first high-speed service in the US, and would be a mode of transit that would significantly reduce the carbon footprint of driving or flying to Las Vegas.
Brightline’s already had success with a line between Miami and West Palm Beach which started operating in 2018, the first new, privately-financed intercity passenger rail in a century.
Maybe the best argument for the speedy rail trek is that you can get an early start on the train with your card counting and vodka gimlets.