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Brightline West High-Speed Railway Project Connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas Receives $3B in Federal Funding

Brightline West Las Vegas Station (Rendering courtesy of Grimshaw Architects)
Brightline West Las Vegas Station (Rendering courtesy of Grimshaw Architects)
LAS VEGAS, NV — The Biden Administration approved $3 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the Brightline West high-speed rail project. This historic 218-mile high-speed rail system will connect Las Vegas and Southern California within the Interstate 15 right-of-way with trains capable of speeds of 186 miles per hour.

The stations will be in Las Vegas, located off the Las Vegas Strip and close to I-15; Rancho Cucamonga, a regional collector for LA County with connections to Metrolink services; Hesperia, a rail connection for the regional commuters of the Mojave Desert; and Victor Valley, a potential future interchange station with California High-Speed Rail services.

Arup is supporting lead architect Grimshaw in the design. Arup’s multidisciplinary team of engineers and consultants are delivering structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering as well as facade, lighting, acoustic, audiovisual, information technology and communication, fire and life safety, security consulting, and vertical transportation design services.

“Brightline West will provide a fast, low-carbon option to travel in comfort between Southern California and Las Vegas,” said Simon Rees, a Principal based in Arup’s Los Angeles office. “Once up and running, the all-electric, zero-emission high-speed rail line will offer an alternative to personal vehicle and air travel that is not only more convenient but also more sustainable.”

Situated on a highly visible and accessible site between I-15 and South Las Vegas Boulevard, the Las Vegas Station will be approximately five miles from the Las Vegas Strip and just under two miles from Harry Reid International Airport. The station is envisioned as an extension of the desert landscape and will sit approximately at the current elevation of the “arroyo” that will function as a sunken linear park creating a central feature of the station and future onsite development.

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As most of the building is partially submerged beneath the desert landscape, the primary reading of the station’s architecture will be its roof and canopy elements. Two defining roof elements will cover and form the enclosure footprint for the station’s arrivals and departures hall and lounges. Each of these zones will be wrapped in continuous windows to bring daylight into passenger areas and to provide a clear view of the landscape above.

The Rancho Cucamonga Station will act as a gateway to the Brightline service for the Southern California region. The station will be anchored by a multi-story car park with a variety of PUDO (Pick-up-Drop-off) functions and the adjacent, vertically stacked train station. These two volumes will be connected by a multi-story vertical circulation core, which will allow travelers to proceed directly to the concourse or the Brightline Lounge. This space will help orientate passengers and serve as an intuitive wayfinding tool with an open facade that offers clear sightlines across all station levels.

Designed as an intermodal hub, the Rancho Cucamonga Station will accommodate a variety of transportation methods, including personal vehicles, ride shares, Brightline+ shuttle service, and direct connection to the San Bernadino Metrolink line. Rancho Cucamonga will be equipped with VIP and standard service lounges that offer seating, grab-and-go food options, and restroom facilities, all with views of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Victor Valley Station will be an intermediate stop between the Rancho Cucamonga and Las Vegas stations. It will feature a canopy that is conceived as a lightweight, sculptural volume to provide shade, weather protection, and a highly visible station identity from the adjacent I-15. The design of Victor Valley embraces the vast open spaces of the Mojave Desert manifesting as a sculpted piece of land art, with the surrounding terrain manipulated to define and cradle the building.

Passengers will move through the station building into a submerged courtyard with gardens adjacent that offer moments of relief and connection to the natural ecology of the desert. After their journey through the station and pedestrian tunnel, passengers will circulate up into an open platform environment with a steel shade canopy that provides protection from the elements while still offering desert landscape views.

“The Brightline West stations connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas will transform the way in which people travel in the American Southwest,” said Andrew Byrne, Managing Partner of Grimshaw’s Los Angeles studio. “Through these stations, we are introducing a legitimate alternative to car and air travel with a high-speed rail system that drastically reduces carbon emissions. We are excited to be at the forefront of designing the next generation of transportation in the United States.”

Billed as the “greenest bullet train in the world,” the fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S., removing 3 million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.

“Brightline West will be the first true high-speed rail system in America,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline. “It will serve as the blueprint for how we can connect major city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive.”

Brightline West is scheduled for completion in time for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

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