The Pressing Need
Today, over one-third of the 38 million annual Las Vegas visitors come from Southern California, and most of them drive to Las Vegas on Interstate 15. Further, as Las Vegas has grown into a very large metropolitan area, the demand for travel to Southern California from Las Vegas has continued to increase as well. As the only roadway directly linking Southern California to Las Vegas, I-15 has rapidly evolved into a time-consuming, stressful, and often congested and dangerous travel experience.
A New Transportation Alternative
The proposed DesertXpress project would be privately financed and extend over nearly 200 miles on new, high quality exclusive double track with no at-grade crossings. DesertXpress would provide a convenient and efficient travel alternative to Interstate 15. This new “people pipeline” is estimated to carry more passengers than all of the airlines from all of the five Southern California airports combined (LAX, Ontario, Burbank, John Wayne, San Diego), most of whom otherwise would have driven on I-15.
From Victorville, a completely separate, dedicated two-track passenger railway would be constructed, largely following the north side or median of I-15, making maximum use of excess freeway right-of-way, and minimizing the impact upon the largely undeveloped land alongside the highway. There will be no grade crossings with vehicles or other traffic, thereby maximizing speed and safety.
Victorville as the Hub
Victorville is the ideal location for the Southern California hub. Located within only a 30- to 45- minute drive for roughly 5 million people who live in the Inland Empire, Antelope Valley, and the eastern portions of Los Angeles County, and only an hour’s drive for most of the rest of the Southland’s 20 million residents, the Victorville hub would provide convenient access from I-15, valet parking, hotel check-in and baggage service direct to a resort of choice – delivering on the Las Vegas experience starting in Victorville.
Proven, Reliable, Safe Technology
The DesertXpress will utilize proven off-the-shelf European high-speed trains capable of traveling at up to 150 mph and further customized for the unique setting of the corridor. Train interiors would be configured to maximize entertainment and passenger comfort. Individual cars within the train set would be self-propelled to provide the high power-to-weight ratio needed to follow the I-15 alignment and negotiate its relatively steep grades across the Mojave Desert. DesertXpress would speed by the congested automobile traffic making the 190-mile trip in 1 hour and 35 minutes, like clock work, every day of the year. The initial operations plan includes 16 train sets with 10 cars (9 passenger cars with a total seated capacity of 675 passengers), and an entertainment car.
A Fully Expandable System
The initial privately financed DesertXpress line could be extended over Cajon Pass into the Los Angeles basin, west through the Antelope Valley, or as otherwise needed to provide for connections with multiple transport options in the future, including the state of California’s proposed high speed rail network. And because the system would use non-proprietary, high quality, standard gauge steel rail technology, it does not tie the hands of the public sector. This ensures that the lowest possible cost can be realized for such expansions. 1 California Infrastructure Coalition: Economic Impact of Funding California’s Transportation Infrastructure, 2004