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Here’s who will build the trains for Brightline’s Vegas-to-LA rail line

Updated May 1, 2024 - 6:40 pm

Brightline West will feature Siemens Mobility trains capable of hitting 220 mph on its Las Vegas-to-Southern California high-speed rail line.

Brightline announced Wednesday that it has designated Siemens as its preferred bidder to build train sets for the 218-mile rail line to be constructed between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Each train set will feature seven cars that can carry 434-450 passengers and would be able to make the trip in less than two hours. From Rancho Cucamonga, passengers would be able to transfer to the Metrolink to further link into Southern California, including downtown Los Angeles.

“Just as we redefined train travel with our train sets for Brightline Florida, we are excited to pioneer this new frontier of manufacturing and development for Brightline West,” Brightline CEO Michael Reininger said in a statement. “The momentum we are building will culminate in new jobs and a new supply chain that will establish the foundation for a high-speed rail industry from coast to coast.”

The contract comes after a multiyear bidding process and includes Siemens manufacturing a fleet of 10 America Pioneer 220 train sets for the system. The AP 220 will be introduced by Siemens with the launch of the Brightline West rail line, which is planned to go into operation in 2028.

Siemens’ selection is subject to securing definitive agreements before the deal is finalized, and it was based on Siemens being able to meet specific criteria, including price, manufacturing schedule, train performance, passenger amenities and capacity and ADA compliance. The ability to interconnect with the California High-Speed Rail project was also considered.

The deal includes a 30-year rolling stock maintenance contract, which will be conducted at the planned system maintenance facility in Sloan. Crews will carry out routine maintenance and repairs at the Southern Nevada site, which will provide permanent, high-paying jobs for area workers, Brightline said.

$12 billion project

The 218-mile system will be constructed along the Interstate 15 corridor between Southern Nevada and Southern California and is aimed at connecting areas that are too close to fly but too far to drive. Brightline West in December was awarded $3 billion in federal funding to go toward the system’s projected $12 billion cost. The remaining costs on the project will be privately funded.

A trip from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga will take about 2 hours and 10 minutes. Travel time extends to three hours for passengers traveling into downtown Los Angeles transferring to Metrolink in Rancho Cucamonga.

A typical trip between Las Vegas and L.A. runs about 4 hours, but that can more than double to between 8 hours and 10 hours during busy holiday weekends.

Hope is the high-speed rail line will eliminate the need for some to make the drive between the neighboring states and ease congestion in the process. At full build out Brightline expects its system to transport 11 million one-way passengers per year.

Last week, the company broke ground on the project during a ceremony at the planned Las Vegas station site, located on Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road. In addition to Rancho Cucamonga, other planned stations along the route include Victor Valley and Hesperia in California.

The AP 220 will be built to handle operational speeds of up to 220 mph and is planned to be lighter, more aerodynamic and more efficient than other high-speed trains, according to Brightline.

The trains will be built in accordance with the Buy America Act and are a new generation of high-speed train sets, built with America in mind, the company said. Siemens will create a new facility to build the AP 220; the announcement of that location is expected when the deal with Brightline West is finalized.

Brightline previously partnered with Siemens to manufacture the Venture series train sets used on the company’s Florida intercity rail system.

“We are excited to work with Brightline to transform rail in America. The high-speed chapter of America’s rail story will build on Siemens’ 40 years of designing, building, testing, delivering and maintaining trains in the United States,” Marc Buncher, Siemens Mobility North America CEO, said in a statement. “On behalf of our 4,500 rail employees across the United States, we are excited to be selected to build and maintain America’s first true high-speed trains, which will feature some of the world’s most innovative high-speed rail technology. When they enter service, it will be one of the most pivotal moments in the history of American rail.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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