New Brightline Train Will Connect Vegas to Southern California in Just 2 Hours

Vegas, baby! The route between Southern California and Sin City is one of the most frequently traveled in the United States. Problem is: it’s at least a four-hour trip one-way by car. That’s more than eight hours round-trip — eight hours of driving that could be better spent smoking cigars, feeding your face at the casino’s questionable seafood buffet, and pretending you can actually fake a half-way decent poker face. Thankfully, a huge investment in near-high-speed rail travel along this corridor could cut that travel time in half.

brightline train
Brightline

Unless you’re balling on a private jet, traveling between Los Angeles and Vegas is a quick and often cheap flight. However, there’s still the matter of getting to the airport, parking, checking in two hours ahead of time, dealing with TSA’s nonsense, and all the other headaches that come with domestic air travel.

For these reasons, many travelers opt to drive. More than 50 million trips are made between the two cities annually, making the 185-mile route among the most popular and heavily trafficked in the country. On a perfect day, it’s more than four hours by car, but Vegas’ revolving door of mega-conferences and trade shows can push that drive along Interstate 15 to as much as eight hours. That can turn a long weekend trip into a very, very long weekend trip.

Late last month, Brightline announced their acquisition of the long-defunct XpressWest project — a high-speed intercity passenger rail line slated to run between Victorville, California, and Las Vegas. Construction will begin in 2019 with a planned completion date of sometime in 2022. Brightline further plans to expand the new Vegas terminal with 38 acres of land just off the Vegas Strip, where the terminus will serve as a major travel hub for buses, shuttles, and taxis.

For decades, rail travel in the United States has been a bit, let’s say, lacking. Compared to the rest of the world — Switzerland’s insanely efficient rail system and the bullet trains throughout Japan come to mind — it’s long puzzled Americans why train travel in our country is so damn inefficient. This might just be the next step is helping us sort of catch up.

Brightline is currently operating in South Florida from Miami, through Fort Lauderdale, and up to West Palm Beach. They’re already expanding further northward to Orlando with plans to reach Tampa in the near future. So, while high-speed rail service has been a stunted promise for decades, it seems Brightline could indeed pave a “bright” way forward for domestic train travel.

Culture

Reflections on Running 40 Kilometers Through the Swiss and French Alps

"When you are running on a mountain ... there is the link of mountain values. There is solidarity. You see someone on the path, you make sure they are OK."
Travel

Detroit’s Abandoned Michigan Central Station to Reopen as Haunted House

The city's most iconic building will, for just one day, become the world's coolest haunted house.
Food & Drink

We’re Not Monkeying Around: Banana Milk is a Thing

(Insert Gwen Stefani lyric here.)
Podcast

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Fantasy Formula One Episode

If fantasy sports are your thing, or you just really like to go fast, then this episode is for you
Travel

4 of the World’s Smallest Countries and Why You Should Visit Them

From breathtaking to downright weird, these tiny countries are well worth a visit.
Travel

Avoid Jet Lag By Learning How to Sleep Anytime, Anywhere

With a little help from some of the world’s most adept sleepers, here are of our favorite tips.
Travel

A New Class of Retro Designer Motels Recalls California’s Bygone Surf Era

Embrace an endless summer of sick surfer hair, salty beach air, and some of the world's best breaks.
Travel

Belize Announces World’s First Nationwide Hide-and-Seek Competition

Cave exploring, trekking Mayan ruins, snorkeling with whale sharks — everyone comes out a winner in this competition.
Travel

Why Fall is the Best Time to Visit Chattanooga Tennessee

Like rock climbing? How about beer? Fried chicken? Well, then it is time to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Outdoors

HoverGlide Is a Clever ‘Floating’ Backpack Designed to Save Your Spine

It might sound like infomercial-flavored nonsense but it's rooted in sound science.
Travel

Romotow Is a Futuristic Travel Trailer With a Hidden ‘Party Deck’

One button turns this sleek travel trailer into an eight-person, off-grid party pad.
Travel

Ski Butlers are a Thing. We Went to the Rockies to Find Out What they Do and Why

Why the saviest skiers and smartest shredders enlist the help of a ski butler to service and set up their gear.
Outdoors

Elite Sniper School: Shoot at a Mile-long Target in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Fewer than 10,000 people in history have joined the "One Mile Club."
Travel

8 Airplane Hacks That Make Air Travel Suck a Lot Less

We’re fond of any tip that makes flying a little easier.