Party train from Calif. to Las Vegas could be on tracks next year

Courtesy Photo

The “X” Train by Las Vegas Railway Express.

Las Vegas Railway Express President and CEO Michael Barron

Las Vegas Railway Express President and CEO Michael Barron

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.

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  1. We'll see if the economics of this plan works out. $99 each way seems fairly steep when you consider if you bring your wife / girlfriend, you are looking easily at $400 (excluding taxes / tips). At that point, you might as well just drive or take an airplane. Plus these are introductory rates so I imagine the price will go up as time goes by. Also, not many people stay at the Plaza / Freemont street, so people would have to pay a cab to take them to the Strip. The costs just keep adding up on why rail isn't the way to go.

  2. As long as it's private equity and no government funds I'm fine with it.

  3. Nice to see someone getting it right. Knowing what the customer wants and delivering it. Without Government money. What a novel idea...

    Eddie needs to get out more and take a look at McCarren and the I15 on a Friday afternoon. -We all don't want to drive little hybred cars... Some people like the comfort and style of a larger mode of transportation... And are willing to pay for it... Not wait for Santa Obama to give it to us...

  4. What is wrong with this idea? Nothing.

  5. A point of clarification: The story is accurate on the price point. It's $99 one way. The video that states the price is $99 round trip is outdated or inaccurate. The ticket includes food and drinks, although there will be an additional charge for some cocktails.

  6. AmtrakCalifornia already drive to and from Las Vegas, just put these people at a rebuilt Desert Express Train Route!