Party train to Southern California put on hold - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Party train to Southern California put on hold

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

People looking forward to taking the party train from Las Vegas to Fullerton will need to find another form of transportation.

The X Train announced it has terminated its agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to use the tracks to Southern California, delaying the project as it was coming up on a New Year's Eve launch.

The company, Las Vegas Railway Express, said in a statement that they are going with an alternative capital plan to avoid raising $100 million to finance the route.

"As a result of this alternative financing plan, we no longer need to retain the union pacific agreement which required the company to make prepaid capital improvement payments of $66 million," said President and CEO Michael Barron.

Robert Lang, the director of Brookings Mountain West, says the priority of freight on Cajon Pass makes train service near impossible to work effectively into the L.A. basin.

"I'm not surprised," Lang said. "And here's the irony. We have rail to L.A. It's for freight. That's what has priority because of the port in Long Beach and L.A. So I'm not surprised because it's hard to get a train that takes ten hours to get there because it would have to park on a siding and have to wait for the freight to go through every time it uses Cajon Pass."

Lang says the stalled Desert Express project with train service to Victorville is the only and best option.

As much as Las Vegans scoff at the idea, Lang says it's really not designed for locals here to use.

It's to bring people into the city, which is where our area benefits.

"People typically say why not fly from L.A.?, Lang said. "Sure. Do you live on the west side? Lots of options. Do you live on the east side? Ontario. Ontario hasn't been a good option since we lost the U.S. Airways hub. So as a result, most people drive on the east side of L.A. and that's five million people. On its own it would be the 5th or 6th largest metro area. It's bigger than Phoenix. So those folks have to drive here."

That project is also stalled because Lang says it wasn't pitched and sold properly.

Lang added that had the LVCVA or major strip corporations been properly informed about the idea of park and ride, popular in major cities in the east, the Desert Express would be in play because they would see how it would bring in many more tourists every week.

As for the party train, the company says they still plan on going forward and have not shut down operations.

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