While the great Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail project continues to move along at a glacial pace, it seems China may move in to with a bullet train of its own as early as next year—to Vegas. A joint venture between XpressWest, which has been struggling to build Vegas high-speed rail for years, and China Railway International have announced plans to link Los Angeles and Las Vegas by bullet train, reports the LA Times. One slight hiccup though. By Los Angeles, they actually mean Victorville, some 85 miles away in the desert. It seems even the Chinese can't totally avoid the costly red tape of building railroad infrastructure.
But even so, those that take the Metrolink 90 minutes out to Victorville would then be able to hop on a high-speed train to Vegas for just $89. Once on board, it'd be a smooth 80 minutes to Vegas, zooming through the desert at speeds of up to 150 mph. You and your friends can bask in the wonders of Victorville and be puking in the Bellagio fountain all within two hours.
XpressWest, a Las Vegas-based firm, got permission to construct and operate the 230-mile train line back in 2011, but has been seeking financial help to begin the project. China Railway International was created by Chinese railway operator China Railway in an effort to expand high-speed rail construction to other countries now that Chinese railways are largely completed. It was a match made in heaven. "As China's first high-speed railway project in the United States, the project will be a landmark in overseas investment for the Chinese railway sector and serve as a model of international cooperation," Yang Zhongmin, chairman of China Railway International says. $100 million of initial capital is being invested in the project, though Chinese officials were not clear about where exactly the money is coming from.
Maybe we can get a train linked from Victorville to super China-friendly Pasadena next! —Jeff Wattenhofer
A high-speed rail from L.A. to Las Vegas? China says it's partnering with U.S. to build [LA Times]
China rail firms in joint deal to build U.S. high-speed rail [CNBC]
· California Bullet Train Suffering, Vegas Chugging Along [Curbed LA]