Other than jumping on sports bandwagons and arguing about taco shops, nothing makes you a Southern Californian quite like sitting in nonstop traffic all the way from LA to Vegas on a Friday night. But come 2022, that slow crawl up I-15 may be a thing of the past when a snazzy new express train will link Southern California to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Brightline, the privately owned Florida train that launched express services linking Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach this year announced today that it’s skipping Cleveland altogether and following LeBron James from Miami to SoCal.
“Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and too short to fly,” Wes Edens, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Brightline’s parent Fortress Investment Group, said in a statement. “We’re excited to bring Brightline’s world-class and convenient travel experience to Southern California and Las Vegas.”
Brightline is acquiring 38 acres of land near the Vegas strip to build its station, which if its South Florida predecessors are any indication will feature a full bar, high-speed WiFi, and a fresh, lemony scent. The Vegas station will connect via 185 miles of uninterrupted track to Victorville, California, a city previously best known as the filming location of It Came From Outer Space and the clean bathrooms at the In-N-Out Burger on Roy Rogers Way.
That’s about 90 miles from Los Angeles and 80 miles from Orange County. So your weekend Vegas mission won’t be as simple as hopping on a downtown train, doing a few Jäger shots, and waking up on the Strip. But it’s still an improvement over the six-hour slugfest most Angelinos endure.
Once in Victorville, the ride will take about two hours along tracks near I-15, complete with a full bar, spacious bathrooms, and oversized leather seats. Construction will begin next year with the Victorville service expected to launch in 2022. Brightline said plans to connect Vegas to California Metrolink and other points closer to LA are “underway” but did not offer a timetable.
Whether or not train travel from the desert to the Strip catches on remains to be seen, but if nothing else, it’ll make the ride up a lot more fun — and the Sunday ride back just a little less miserable.
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