A company planning luxury train service between Southern California and Las Vegas has signed a key agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad that could lead to the start of passenger service by the end of next year.
Las Vegas Railway Express signed the deal last week enabling the company to operate its “X Train” on Union Pacific tracks between Daggett, Calif., and Las Vegas. That means that X Train excursions between Fullerton, Calif., and the company’s rail station at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas could begin in December 2013.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are proud that Union Pacific is working with us on this exciting and historic project,” Las Vegas Railway Express President and CEO Michael Barron said in a release announcing the deal. “This moment will be long remembered as an important milestone in providing a great experience for X Train customers.”
The X Train will use conventional rail technology on an existing track used primarily to haul freight. The line, which runs through the Mojave National Preserve in Southern California, extends north from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. Amtrak’s Desert Wind passenger train used the route from 1979 to 1997.
Barron said the X Train would initially run four times a week, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays, and would be capable of carrying 576 passengers per train on each 5 1/2-hour trip. Barron envisions a party atmosphere on the trains, which will have two “ultralounge” cars and a dozen 85-foot passenger cars.
Barron said the company would offer $99 one-way introductory fares.
The Union Pacific agreement is key to the deal, because it enables track managers to prioritize the X Train among dozens of freight operations.