High-Speed Rail to Vegas: Costly and Slower than Flying


Traveling between Southern California and Las Vegas via high-speed rail will not only take longer than flying but also is expected to come with a heftier price tag. This disappointing revelation has been brought to light, casting shadows on the efficiency of the proposed rapid transit service.

Brightline West, the company behind the high-speed rail project, has presented a vision of a train capable of whisking passengers across the 218-mile stretch at up to 200 mph. En route from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, the journey would glide mostly alongside the Interstate 15 corridor, with additional light rail extensions ferrying travelers the remaining miles into Los Angeles.

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However, logistical efficiency seems to be on the line, as the entire sojourn—including the light rail connection—clocks in at roughly three hours and ten minutes one-way. This duration is more than double the time it takes for a standard flight between the same points. Moreover, the anticipated round-trip fare exceeding $400 overshoots the average cost of flying by a significant margin.

Brightline founder Wes Edens has shed light on the company’s ambitious expectations. With an annual traffic of 50 million people primarily taking to the roads, Brightline envisions converting a substantial portion of vehicular voyagers to rail riders. Boasting about the future rail experience, Edens imagines motorists eyeing the trains’ rapid progress with envy as they inch forward amid the traffic.

This transportation transformation is aimed at aligning with the global attraction of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, with ground-breaking slated for this spring. Yet, the track towards realization has its hurdles.

Financing remains a critical concern—despite the $6.5 billion amalgamation of taxpayer investment and tax-exempt bonds, a significant portion of the project’s $12 billion budget is yet to be funded. Furthermore, the proposed ticket prices have sparked outcry and skepticism, questioning the feasibility and logic behind opting for the rail over more economical travel modes.

Socioeconomic realities and geographical spacing in the US have previously derailed several high-speed rail ventures, unlike the successful European models. Past endeavors, like the long-discussed Vegas to LA bullet train or the Floridian Brightline route, reflect a history marred with financial losses, unmet ridership expectations, and bloated budgets.

The path to high-speed rail’s triumph in America remains uncertain, tinged with both the optimism of innovators and the cautionary tales of predecessors. While the future of Brightline West hangs in the balance, in a realm much more predictable and immediately gratifying, the search for excitement and entertainment often leads enthusiasts to the vibrant world of online gaming.

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