A Chinese consortium is collaborating with XpressWest Enterprises LLC to build the first high-speed train connecting Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The newly-formed China Railway International U.S.A. is led by China Railway International with partners China Railway Group, China Construction American and others. This agreement is the result of four years of negotiations and was signed days before China President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit the US.
The Southwest Rail Network would cover more than 200 miles with one station in Las Vegas, Nevada and another tentatively situated in Victorville, California. The California stations covers the population dense area surrounding Los Angeles with 60 percent of potential riders residing with 45 miles of the station. Both locations would feature state-of-the-art facilities with amenities similar to other major transportation hubs.
The XpressWest electric trains would run on a newly installed double track at a top speed of 150MPH, providing passengers with an 80 minute non-stop trip. Non-stop service would be available every 20 minutes, with a 12-minute schedule during peak times. A round-trip ticket for the railway would cost $89, an amount that XpressWest expects would cover both operating and capital costs.
The Southwest Rail project already has $100 million in capital, with construction projected to being as soon as this month. The timeline for completion and the final cost of building the railway were not divulged, but estimates suggest it could take up to three years to build with a price tag between $6 and $12 billion.
The project is a major victory for China’s railway industry, which has been competing with Japan for lucrative railway deals in Asia and beyond. Japan’s JR Central previously expressed interest in the Los Angeles-Las Vegas high-speed railway, but was not chosen for the project. The XpressWest-China Railway International deal also is the first cooperative railway agreement between China and the US, a milestone that is expected to aid US negotiations with China during Xi Jinping’s visit next week.