Tuesday, 27 December 2016

X points the way to Vegas

Given its notable tourist industry, you would think that Las Vegas, Nevada would have a frequent passenger train service. Sadly, this is not the case. In fact Amtrak haven't served the city since 1997. Now, however, a new private venture is hoping to tempt tourists out of their cars and onto the rails. It's called the X train, and the intention is to run as an open-access operator on what are currently freight-only rails from Los Angeles and Fullerton to Las Vegas, using heritage rolling stock. It's an ambitious scheme, but it will cost much less than a controversial high speed line being proposed by rivals XpressWest. In the long term, the HSR option might be the best one. The very reasons Amtrak pulled out were low ridership caused by long journey times and low frequency, in turn caused by sharing the tracks with slow freight trains. High Speed Rail would eliminate the freight/passenger conflict and allow a faster, more frequent service. However, the problem as usual is money, with Chinese investors reportedly pulling out of a deal with XpressWest. 

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