Southern California high-speed rail projects progress

Another year brings another attempt to revive work on Brightline Westthe long-proposed high-speed rail line that would connect the Apple Valley community in San Bernardino County and a stop near the Las Vegas Strip.

Proposed route for the Brightline West systemBrightline West

Forbes reports that Brightline hopes to innovate in early 2023 on the 170-mile electrified rail line, which would operate on a leased right-of-way adjacent to Interstate 15. With a top speed of over 180 miles per hour, the end-to-end journey between Las Vegas and Apple Valley should take about 90 minutes. Trains would depart every 45 minutes, with a capacity of up to 1,200 passengers.

If construction begins by 2023, the line could open to passenger service by 2026.

This is not the first time that the backers of the Brightline project have announced an unprecedented date. Brightline West previously announced that construction of the project would begin in 2020 and 2021only to postpone the start of work due to lukewarm investor interest and the impacts of the global pandemic.


Rendering of proposed Brightline West station at Rancho CucamongaBrightline West

The updated timeline is also associated with an ongoing study of an extension of the alignment from Las Vegas to Apple Valley, which would see a 50-mile spur built to connect to Rancho Cucamonga. From there, passengers could transfer to existing Metrolink commuter rail service to downtown Los Angeles.

Local transportation officials are also exploring a 63-mile rail corridor that would also allow Brightline to connect to California’s nascent high-speed rail system at Palmdaleallowing trains to go directly to Union Station in Los Angeles.

The plan to extend the Palmdale High Speed ​​Rail to Union Station took a small step forward last month, when state officials certified the final environmental impact report for the project’s 14-mile Burbank-Los Angeles segment. This decision came over objections from the City of Burbank, who argued that the alignment of the train could have an impact on the operations of its airport, even on its supply of drinking water.


Map from Los Angeles to AnaheimCalifornia High Speed ​​Rail Authority

Officials have yet to certify environmental studies for the Palmdale-Burbank and Los Angeles-Anaheim segments of the high-speed rail system, though Metro has already launched new projects to support its construction, such as such as the planned passageways at Union Station and the slope separating a congested intersection in southeast Los Angeles County.

Jose P. Rogers