Brightline West breaks ground on nation’s first high-speed rail system

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California Construction News staff writer

Brightline West officially launched construction on the nation’s first “true” high-speed rail system, connecting Las Vegas to Southern California. The 218-mile project, situated within the median of the I-15, aligns with Brightline’s mission to link city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive.

Zero-emission, fully electric trains capable of speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill recently allocated $3 billion in funding to the project, complemented by $3.5 billion in private activity bonds from USDOT.

More than 600 people attended a groundbreaking event, including union representatives and state and local officials.

“People have been dreaming of high-speed rail in America for decades – and now, with billions of dollars of support made possible by President Biden’s historic infrastructure law, it’s finally happening,” said Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Construction of Brightline West’s rail system, spanning 218 miles and attaining speeds of 200 mph, promises a transformative impact. Running within the I-15 median with zero grade crossings, the system will feature stops in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as Victor Valley, Hesperia, and Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The privately led infrastructure project is one of the largest in the nation and will be constructed by union labor. It will use 700,000 concrete rail ties, 2.2 million tons of ballast, and 63,000 tons of 100% American steel rail during construction. Upon completion, it will include 322 miles of overhead lines to power the trains and will include 3.4 million square feet of retaining walls. The project covers more than 160 structures including viaducts and bridges. Brightline West will be fully Buy America Compliant.

The Las Vegas Station, near the iconic Las Vegas Strip, will cover approximately 80,000 square feet plus parking, providing convenient access to prominent landmarks and transportation hubs.

The Victor Valley, Rancho Cucamonga, and Hesperia stations will enhance connectivity across the region and the vehicle maintenance facility (VMF) in Sloan, Nevada, will be a hub for maintenance operations, supporting daily train operations and employing over 100 permanent staff.

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