X Train officials enlist UNLV students in latest ‘party train’ plans

Maybe operators of the X Train are trying to become known as “the little engine that could.”

The company that hopes to develop a low-speed “party train” from Southern California to Las Vegas is making another run at starting an operation, hoping to have trains running by New Year’s Eve.

Executives with Las Vegas Railway Express are now collaborating with students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering to develop a route on existing tracks. Plans to use the downtown Plaza as a station are back in place, but the company doesn’t yet have a lease with the property.

“Our plan is to have several runs before the end of the year to test things out and then the big one for New Year’s Eve 2015,” the company said in a post on its Facebook page.

The X Train is planned as a conventional rail line in luxury club cars. Las Vegas Railway Express acquired several passenger cars and refurbished them to provide a party atmosphere for passengers to take a leisurely trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Officials have estimated that it would take six to seven hours for the trip to Las Vegas.

Michael Barron, CEO of Las Vegas Railway Express, referred questions about building a train platform at the Plaza to Jonathan Jossel, chief executive officer of the Plaza.

“We’ve loved the idea about a train from Los Angeles since we first learned about in 2008,” Jossel said. “We’ve tried to work with them (Las Vegas Railway Express) for six or seven years.”

Jossel said any way to expand transportation between Los Angeles and Las Vegas would be a good thing for Las Vegas and he believes the Plaza would be the most logical place for a train stop.

“But,” he added, “at this point we don’t have a signed lease.”

Past versions of the X Train proposal included stopping at a platform off Craig Road in North Las Vegas.

Barron also said his company’s board of directors has added Hualiang “Harry” Teng, a UNLV associate professor who is director of the Railroad, High-Speed Rail and Transit Initiative at the Hughes college at UNLV.

Teng said a group of students and visiting scholars are working on the X Train project by developing train operation simulations with software that can forecast demand and travel times on existing rail lines.

“It’s a great opportunity for students because this is all real and they’re getting experience on a real-world project,” Teng said.

Teng’s students are finishing a report for Las Vegas Railway Express that analyzes a train route from Los Angeles that would use existing tracks through Palmdale, Lancaster, Mohave and Barstow, Calif.

“It is a fine piece of work and analyzes the option of a train from LA to Vegas using a western alignment via Mojave,” the company said in its Facebook post.

Earlier versions of the X Train plans considered using tracks and routes that were used when Amtrak offered service between Los Angeles and Ogden, Utah, via Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. The Amtrak service, known as the Desert Wind, discontinued operations in 1998.

That route, which climbs from the Los Angeles Basin along steep Cajon Pass through Victorville, is owned by Union Pacific, which uses the line primarily for freight transport.

Las Vegas Railway Express has had no success negotiating a schedule with Union Pacific to use that route. The western route analyzed by the UNLV students would require negotiations with metropolitan Los Angeles commuter rail systems.

Teng said his students would do a similar analysis of the eastern route over Cajon Pass for the X Train.

Barron also said his company has applied with Amtrak to operate the train as a charter service. Barron said he’s yet to hear from Amtrak on the request and that requests typically take two months to review.

Las Vegas Railway Express got some experience operating a train line last year when the company moved its rail assets to Santa Fe, N.M.

For several months, it ran the Santa Fe Southern Railway between Santa Fe and Lamy, N.M., an 18-mile tourist excursion.

The 3½-hour round trips began in July and abruptly ended at the end of September.

Barron said his company quit operations because he was selling the rights to it to an undisclosed company.

Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter. Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like