The Biden administration approved $3 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the Brightline West high-speed rail project. This historic 218-mile high-speed rail system will connect Las Vegas and Southern California within the Interstate 15 right-of-way with trains capable of speeds of 186 miles per hour.
The stations will be in Las Vegas, conveniently located off the Vegas strip and close to I-15; Rancho Cucamonga, a regional collector for LA County with connections to Metrolink services; Hesperia, a much-needed rail connection for the regional commuters of the Mojave Desert; and Victor Valley, a potential future interchange station with California High Speed Rail services.
“The Brightline West stations connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas will transform the way in which people travel in the American Southwest,” said Andrew Byrne, Managing Partner of Grimshaw’s Los Angeles studio. “Through these stations, we are introducing a legitimate alternative to car and air travel with a high-speed rail system that drastically reduces carbon emissions. We are excited to be at the forefront of designing the next generation of transportation in the United States.”
Situated on a highly visible and accessible site between I-15 and South Las Vegas Boulevard, the Las Vegas Station will be approximately five miles from the Las Vegas strip and just under two miles from Harry Reid International Airport. The station is envisioned as an extension of the desert landscape and will sit approximately at the current elevation of the “arroyo” that will function as a sunken linear park creating a central feature of the station and future onsite development.
As most of the building is partially submerged beneath the desert landscape, the primary reading of the station’s architecture will be its roof and canopy elements. Two defining roof elements will cover and form the enclosure footprint for the station’s arrivals and departures hall and lounges. Each of these zones will be wrapped in continuous windows to bring daylight into passenger areas and to provide a clear view of the landscape above.
The Rancho Cucamonga Station will act as a gateway to the Brightline service for the Southern California region. Designed as an intermodal hub, Rancho Cucamonga will accommodate a variety of transportation methods, including personal vehicles, ride shares, Brightline+ shuttle service, and direct connection to the San Bernadino Metrolink line. The station will be equipped with VIP and standard service lounges that offer comfortable seating, grab-and-go food options, and restroom facilities, all with sweeping views of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Rancho Cucamonga will be anchored by a multi-story car park with a variety of PUDO (Pick-up-Drop-off) functions and the adjacent, vertically stacked train station. These two volumes will be connected by a multi-story vertical circulation core which will allow travelers to proceed directly to the concourse or the Brightline Lounge. This dramatic space will help orientate passengers and serve as an intuitive wayfinding tool with an open façade that offers clear sightlines across all station levels.
“Brightline West will be the first true high-speed rail system in America. It will serve as the blueprint for how we can connect major city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive.”
Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline
The Victor Valley Station will be an intermediate stop between the Rancho Cucamonga and Las Vegas stations. It will feature a canopy that is conceived as a lightweight, sculptural volume to provide shade, weather protection, and a highly visible station identity from the adjacent I-15. The design of Victor Valley embraces the vast open spaces of the Mojave Desert manifesting as a sculpted piece of land art, with the surrounding terrain manipulated to define and cradle the building.
Passengers will move through the station building into a submerged courtyard with gardens adjacent that offer moments of relief and connection to the natural ecology of the desert. After their journey through the station and pedestrian tunnel, passengers will circulate up into an open platform environment with a sophisticated steel shade canopy that provides protection from the elements while still offering desert landscape views.
Billed as the “greenest bullet train in the world,” the fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S., removing 3 million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.
Brightline West is scheduled for completion in time for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.