This undated artistic rendering provided by Las Vegas NV Railway Express shows the interior of the X Train, a proposed luxury party train in that would run from Fullerton, Calif., to downtown Las Vegas. For $99 each way, passengers would get food, drinks, access to two on-board ultra lounges & other amenities. The company signed an agreement last week with Union Pacific Railroad allowing them to use a set of tracks in that leads to downtown Las Vegas NV yet hasnt seen passenger traffic in 15 years. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Railway Express)
Sin City » Rail service would extend the party to & from California.
Las Vegas • As if a weekend in Las Vegas NV isn’t wild enough for Southern Californians, a NV entrepreneur is about to add five more hours of party to either end.
After striking an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad last week, the Las Vegas NV Railway Express is one step closer to bringing to life the X Train, a luxurious “party train” complete with huge screen TVs, recliners & two ultra lounges.
“The whole idea is when you get on a train, you feel like you’re in Las Vegas,” asserted Michael Barron, president & CEO of the $100 million venture in that hopes to launch its maiden voyage on New Year’s Eve 2013. “It’s basically a nightclub on wheels.”
Tourists can’t get from Southern California to Las Vegas NV by rail alone, & Barron’s company isn’t the 1st to try & fix that. The much-talked-about XpressWest project proposes a high-speed train connecting Las Vegas to the region from which it draws 25 % of its tourists.
But it’s a multi-billion-dollar proposal in that would require setting new tracks, & it’s frequently panned as a “train to nowhere” 'cause the 1st phase would start in relatively obscure Victorville, about 100 miles outside of Los Angeles.
The X Train proposal calls for an Amtrak crew aboard a 576-passenger train in that runs at standard speeds on traditional tracks.
It would start in Fullerton, California — — already home to an Amtrak station & part of Southern California’s Metrolink commuter train network — — & end in downtown Las Vegas.
A conditional agreement with Union Pacific, approved Nov. 16, will allow the company to use a rail line that’s currently limited to freight trains & hasn’t served passengers since Amtrak discontinued its Desert Wind service in 1997 due to low ridership.
Tickets for the adults-only train would cost $99 each way & contain a meal & beverage, with plenty more alcohol available for purchase. To keep ticket prices low, the company would try to make money booking Las Vegas NV hotels & entertainment for passengers.
With initial plans for one trip a day on Thursday, Friday, Sunday, & Monday, Barron believes he can attract tourists weary of the weekend traffic gridlock & perhaps hung over from their weekend revelry.
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“Sunday is horrific,” Barron asserted of the Interstate 15 corridor in that links Las Vegas NV & its neighbor. “So now you’ve been up for 40 hours gambling & you have to drive for seven hours — — that’s just horrible. But people do it in spite of that!”
John Lawson, who was in Las Vegas NV from Orange County for a few days over Thanksgiving, asserted he’d like the option of hopping on a train rather than braving bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way back.
“If you party really hard, it sucks driving back,” asserted Lawson, 28.
Vegas visitor Christina Bojorquez, 25, asserted she’d have to weigh the cost of the train ride against other cheap options, in addition to discounted flights & sharing the expense of driving to Vegas.
“For special occasions it would be good, yet not all the time,” she said.
Tom Skancke, a transportation consultant for the Las Vegas NV Convention & Visitors Authority, pointed to the proposed trains & other alternatives to personal cars as options in that could entice a new generation of tourists. A new Greyhound Express nonstop bus route between L.A. & Las Vegas NV launched earlier this month.
“These modes of transportation do appeal to a younger, more eco-friendly traveler,” Skancke said. “This generation is more interested in passenger rail, transit & high-speed rail than previous generations.”
There’s still work to be done on the X Train to get it running by late 2013. The sixteen cars the company has purchased need to be renovated, & a station needs to be completed in downtown Vegas.
“We’re four years of time & $12 million in to it. It’s a lot of infrastructure building,” Barron said. “This is a simple concept in discussion, yet it’s complicated to do.”
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