Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Los Angeles
Reload this Page >

Spur into SoCal for Private Train to Vegas

Spur into SoCal for Private Train to Vegas

Old Jul 3, 20, 5:28 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 2,774
Spur into SoCal for Private Train to Vegas

[The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority] on Wednesday, July 1, entered into an agreement with a private company building a high-speed train from Apple Valley to Las Vegas for a 50-mile spur through the Cajon Pass into Rancho Cucamonga.

Preliminary plans call for the southern spur to travel along the median of the 15 Freeway and when reaching Foothill Boulevard, jog west to connect with the Metrolink station located just west of Milliken Avenue.
https://www.dailybulletin.com/2020/0...-to-las-vegas/

To those unfamiliar, this high-speed train is being privately financed and doesn't have anything to do with the California High-Speed Rail project.

This project, XpressWest, is a division of Brightline (which will become Virgin Trains USA at some point.) Brightline built the privately-funded route connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The plan is to extend that line into Orlando as well as adding three additional South Florida stops.

https://www.gobrightline.com/

The South Florida train has suspended service due to COVID. According to a May 20, 2020 post on their website, construction of the Orlando expansion is still proceeding.

-----
Back to SoCal-Vegas:

The possibility that the Las Vegas train will connection into Southern California makes it a much more viable project, in my opinion. The previous end point of Apple Valley was odd. Once you've spent an hour or so in the car, most people probably would just keep driving.

This spur into San Bernardino County is just in the preliminary stages. It does not have financing. But, Caltrans has given the company approval to use the median on I-15 for the tracks through the Cajon Pass and into Rancho Cucamonga. That fact means they won't need to buy land or deal with sharing the track used by freight trains.

The end point in Rancho Cucamonga is the same station that may be connected via tunnel to Ontario International Airport (ONT). That was recently discussed here:

Tunnel to ONT Airport

I'm not sure I'd ever use it, but I do hope this train happens. The more transportation options we have, the better...especially when they are privately financed.
mradey likes this.
writerguyfl is offline  
Old Jul 4, 20, 10:28 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,185
Interesting. I live right there about 1 mile from the 15 fwy in Rancho. They made a wide gap in the center of the FWY for the past year or 2. I thought they are going to put in a few toll lanes.
Need is offline  
Old Jul 4, 20, 12:12 pm
  #3  
Hilton Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: TOA
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott LTPP/Platinum Premier, Hyatt Lame-ist, UA !K
Posts: 5,347
Originally Posted by Need View Post
Interesting. I live right there about 1 mile from the 15 fwy in Rancho. They made a wide gap in the center of the FWY for the past year or 2. I thought they are going to put in a few toll lanes.
That's what they'll put there when the train fails...

David
DJ_Iceman likes this.
DELee is offline  
Old Jul 7, 20, 9:06 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Long Beach, CA
Programs: AA PLT, Hilton Diamond, IHG PlatAmb, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Radisson Gold
Posts: 3,055
Interesting - I would have thought the freeway grade was too much for a train if they run it down the median?
OskiBear is offline  
Old Jul 7, 20, 9:38 am
  #5  
Hilton Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: TOA
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott LTPP/Platinum Premier, Hyatt Lame-ist, UA !K
Posts: 5,347
Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
Interesting - I would have thought the freeway grade was too much for a train if they run it down the median?
Maybe that's where The Boring Company is thinking it will make some money after it builds the link to ONT?

David
DELee is offline  
Old Jul 9, 20, 12:09 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Redondo Beach, Ca
Posts: 20,079
Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
https://www.dailybulletin.com/2020/0...-to-las-vegas/

To those unfamiliar, this high-speed train is being privately financed and doesn't have anything to do with the California High-Speed Rail project.

This project, XpressWest, is a division of Brightline (which will become Virgin Trains USA at some point.) Brightline built the privately-funded route connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The plan is to extend that line into Orlando as well as adding three additional South Florida stops.

https://www.gobrightline.com/

The South Florida train has suspended service due to COVID. According to a May 20, 2020 post on their website, construction of the Orlando expansion is still proceeding.

-----
Back to SoCal-Vegas:

The possibility that the Las Vegas train will connection into Southern California makes it a much more viable project, in my opinion. The previous end point of Apple Valley was odd. Once you've spent an hour or so in the car, most people probably would just keep driving.

This spur into San Bernardino County is just in the preliminary stages. It does not have financing. But, Caltrans has given the company approval to use the median on I-15 for the tracks through the Cajon Pass and into Rancho Cucamonga. That fact means they won't need to buy land or deal with sharing the track used by freight trains.

The end point in Rancho Cucamonga is the same station that may be connected via tunnel to Ontario International Airport (ONT). That was recently discussed here:

Tunnel to ONT Airport

I'm not sure I'd ever use it, but I do hope this train happens. The more transportation options we have, the better...especially when they are privately financed.
Apple Valley? Why bother...if I wanted to drive that far, I would drive all the way to Vegas. No thanks
corky is offline  
Old Jul 9, 20, 1:37 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,185
Originally Posted by corky View Post
Apple Valley? Why bother...if I wanted to drive that far, I would drive all the way to Vegas. No thanks
That's what I am thinking too. By the time you get to Apple Valley, you have already drove pass the worst traffic... might as well drive all the way there. From Apple Valley to Vegas is only about 2.5 hours drive (vs the 85 min on train). If they can't connect it to Rancho, they should forget about doing it.
Need is offline  
Old Jul 9, 20, 4:59 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: LAX
Programs: AA-PLT 1.85MM, Hyatt-Discoverist, Starriott-Gold, Super 8--Formica
Posts: 17,350
Reading this, I was thinking of what it would take for someone living in West LA to be able to use this. First, I would take the Expo Line into downtown LA, then transfer to the Red Line to get to Union Station. After that, I could catch a Metrolink train to Rancho Cucamonga and then, yippee, I could catch the train to Vegas. I would imagine that the entire process of doing this would take hours longer than just driving. I wonder why they are wasting even a thought on this.
Trustguy is offline  
Old Jul 10, 20, 11:11 am
  #9  
Hilton Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: TOA
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott LTPP/Platinum Premier, Hyatt Lame-ist, UA !K
Posts: 5,347
Originally Posted by corky View Post
Apple Valley? Why bother...if I wanted to drive that far, I would drive all the way to Vegas. No thanks
Originally Posted by Need View Post
That's what I am thinking too. By the time you get to Apple Valley, you have already drove pass the worst traffic... might as well drive all the way there. From Apple Valley to Vegas is only about 2.5 hours drive (vs the 85 min on train). If they can't connect it to Rancho, they should forget about doing it.
Originally Posted by Trustguy View Post
Reading this, I was thinking of what it would take for someone living in West LA to be able to use this. First, I would take the Expo Line into downtown LA, then transfer to the Red Line to get to Union Station. After that, I could catch a Metrolink train to Rancho Cucamonga and then, yippee, I could catch the train to Vegas. I would imagine that the entire process of doing this would take hours longer than just driving. I wonder why they are wasting even a thought on this.
Ah, but you're thinking like Westsiders. Would be good to see some of the breakdown of those who head north on the I15 every weekend - something tells me that a whole bunch are out of the Inland Empire.

And, besides, just because the initial terminus is Apple Valley, doesn't mean that it might not take a few more decades before they actually figure out how to get it extended closer to the Westside and Beach Cities and all points in between.

Maybe that's what Elon and the Boring Company want to do and link up to the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne...just takes a lot of digging (among other things)...and a bit of cash/borrowing.

David
writerguyfl and ryw like this.
DELee is offline  
Old Jul 10, 20, 3:32 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: LAX
Programs: AA-PLT 1.85MM, Hyatt-Discoverist, Starriott-Gold, Super 8--Formica
Posts: 17,350
Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Ah, but you're thinking like Westsiders.
True, we would never go east past Fairfax anyway.
corky likes this.
Trustguy is offline  
Old Jul 10, 20, 4:12 pm
  #11  
Hilton Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: TOA
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott LTPP/Platinum Premier, Hyatt Lame-ist, UA !K
Posts: 5,347
Originally Posted by Trustguy View Post
True, we would never go east past Fairfax anyway.
Touché!

David
DELee is offline  
Old Jul 11, 20, 3:22 am
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 2,774
Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Ah, but you're thinking like Westsiders. Would be good to see some of the breakdown of those who head north on the I15 every weekend - something tells me that a whole bunch are out of the Inland Empire.
According to Wikipedia, the population of the San Gabriel Valley was 1.5 million people in the 2000 Census. That's almost three times as large as the 529,000 people on the Westside (also in 2000).
[See discussion below regarding the Westside population figure. I'm not changing this number because it would disrupt the conversation. But, please don't quote the above number, as it isn't particularly accurate.]

When you add those numbers to the Inland Empire population of 4 million, that's a lot of potential customers.

Originally Posted by DELee View Post
And, besides, just because the initial terminus is Apple Valley, doesn't mean that it might not take a few more decades before they actually figure out how to get it extended closer to the Westside and Beach Cities and all points in between.
The Town of Apple Valley has a report posted on their website. It includes the following graphic.




Here, you can see that the intent is to connect the train all the way from Las Vegas into Downtown Los Angeles. If I read it correctly, the report says Palmdale is next at some point after 2029.

But because the report is undated, it's tough to know if this spur into San Bernardino County was even a consideration when it was written. It's hard to know where this Rancho Cucamonga spur would fit into the greater scheme. If it comes first, who knows if they'll nix Palmdale if they can connect via the Inland Empire.

Originally Posted by Trustguy View Post
Reading this, I was thinking of what it would take for someone living in West LA to be able to use this. First, I would take the Expo Line into downtown LA, then transfer to the Red Line to get to Union Station. After that, I could catch a Metrolink train to Rancho Cucamonga and then, yippee, I could catch the train to Vegas. I would imagine that the entire process of doing this would take hours longer than just driving. I wonder why they are wasting even a thought on this.
I closely followed the years of discussions about this company connecting Miami to Orlando. Often, it was a lot of people posting things that sounded like what you wrote here. It's certainly natural for people to think about themselves first. But, projects like these start making much more sense when you stop and think about other people.

For example, here in Florida there are two major centers for tourism: the theme parks in Orlando and the cruises leaving Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Of the 131 million tourists who visited the state in 2019, 14.5 million were international.

If just 3% of those international guests can be convinced to take a train between Orlando and South Florida, that's 435,000 tickets. If spread across 365 days, that's five full trains (based on the 240-passenger capacity of the trains being used) every day.

Once you change your perspective, some projects might start making more sense.

That said, I haven't studied any number for LA-Las Vegas like I did with the Florida project. I have no clue if it makes sense or not. But, considering the sheer amount of traffic between the two cities (sans COVID), I don't think it's crazy to think that it might be a success.

And having actually taken the train here in South Florida, I can tell you it's much more comfortable than dealing with traffic.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em.

Sources:
San Gabriel Valley Population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gabriel_Valley
Westside Population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westsi...Angeles_County)
Inland Empire Population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inland_Empire
Apple Valley Virgin Trains Project Report: https://www.applevalley.org/services...trains-project
Florida Tourism Stats: https://www.visitflorida.org/resourc.../research-faq/

Last edited by writerguyfl; Jul 12, 20 at 9:22 pm Reason: Added comment in brackets.
writerguyfl is offline  
Old Jul 11, 20, 12:37 pm
  #13  
Moderator: Travel Safety/Security, Travel Tools, California, Los Angeles; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: VNY | BUR | LAX
Programs: AAdvantage | MileagePlus
Posts: 13,570
Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
According to Wikipedia, the population of the San Gabriel Valley was 1.5 million people in the 2000 Census. That's almost three times as large as the 529,000 people on the Westside (also in 2000).
The 529,000 figure is only for the segment of the Westside that's within the city limits of Los Angeles. When you add the population of Culver City, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Inglewood and the beach cities, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and the Palos Verdes peninsula, it at least equals or surpasses that of the San Gabriel Valley. Then there are the San Fernando and Canejo Valleys.
TWA884 is offline  
Old Jul 11, 20, 8:40 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 5,367
Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
The 529,000 figure is only for the segment of the Westside that's within the city limits of Los Angeles.
The wikipedia linked says it includes BH, WeHo, Culver City, and SM in that 529K, but not the Beach Cities or PV, which are considered South Bay, so that's not quite correct, but the point stands. There's a lot of LA County (about 8.5M people) who aren't in the SGV. Getting Metrolink from SD and OC to link up, plus the Gold Line, and you might start seeing party-cars added to the trains on Friday out and Sunday back.

Just getting the Vegas Train to link up to the end of the Gold Line (by extending one or the other) without an intermediate connection would make a big difference.
chrisl137 is offline  
Old Jul 11, 20, 9:03 pm
  #15  
Moderator: Travel Safety/Security, Travel Tools, California, Los Angeles; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: VNY | BUR | LAX
Programs: AAdvantage | MileagePlus
Posts: 13,570
Mea culpa.

I checked the Los Angeles Times Mappin L.A. Neighborhoods, and that information is correct, albeit, woefully our of date. It does, however, show that a significant portion of the Los Angeles County population lives west of downtown.
TWA884 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: