LAS VEGAS -- Amtrak announced it will initiate service between this
city and Los Angeles in September.
Initial plans call for one daily roundtrip with one stop in
Montclair, Calif., east of Los Angeles.
Amtrak is looking to add two more daily roundtrips as passenger
demand increases, according to company officials, who estimate that
upwards of 62,000 people will use the service in the first
The 340-mile corridor was part of a Los Angeles-Chicago route
previously served by Amtrak's Desert Wind, whose route was
discontinued in May 1997.
The eastbound train will depart from Los Angeles' Union Station
at 9 a.m. and will arrive in Las Vegas at 2:30 p.m. The westbound
train will leave Las Vegas at 4 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at
In the next few months, according to Amtrak officials, the
company will build a train platform with a canopy near the Las
The service, which has not yet been named, will utilize
custom-designed European-style Talgo trains that can accommodate up
to 300 passengers each.
Each car of the 14-car train is 44 feet long -- about half the
size of a standard Amtrak car -- with seating for up to 36
The passenger cars will have a center aisle with two seats on
either side plus table seating for families or groups.
Each of the six standard coach cars can accommodate 36
passengers, and two wheelchair-accessible standard cars can fit 19
The trains also will have coach cars that feature a wider center
aisle with two seats on one side and one seat on the other
One special coach car can accommodate 26 passengers, while one
wheelchair-accessible special coach car can fit 18 passengers.
Both types of cars feature storage areas for carry-on luggage;
overhead programming on 17-inch video monitors; four-channel audio
systems; AC power outlets for laptop computers and personal
electronic equipment; water fountains; temperature and lighting
controls, and rest rooms.
Although the trains are designed to travel up to 125 mph,
maximum track speed will be 79 mph.
The trains' exteriors will be painted silver and blue -- the
state colors of Nevada -- and the cars' interiors will sport an
indigo, violet and red color scheme to reflect the energy of Las
Vegas, according to Amtrak officials.
The trains will include bistro and dining cars, allowing
passengers a choice of formal and casual dining during the
The bistro car, which will offer counter and booth seating for
14 people, will feature a full-service bar that serves alcoholic
and nonalcoholic beverages as well as a casual dining menu with
sandwiches, salads and soups.
The car's custom-designed ceiling will feature a nighttime scene
of the Nevada desert with evening stars made from fiber-optic
For eastbound passengers who want brunch/lunch and westbound
riders hungry for dinner, the dining car offers a more formal
atmosphere and seating for up to 30 people.
Tables will be set with linens, fresh flowers, china and
glassware, and the menu will offer regional gourmet dishes and a
variety of wines.
The trains also are designed so passengers who use wheelchairs
can travel from accessible passenger cars through the adjacent
bistro and dining cars.
Amtrak plans to lease the trains, which were assembled in the
Seattle area, through an agreement with Seattle-based Talgo, Inc.,
a subsidiary of Patentes Talgo SA of Madrid.
According to Amtrak, the company will spend more than $14
million in capital funds this year for infrastructure improvements
and facility construction.
The money will be used to improve tracks and signal systems
along the route as well as build the passenger platform in Las
In addition, the Nevada Department of Transportation and Amtrak
have applied for another $2 million from the federal Congestion
Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program for operating the
Final approval is expected soon by the Federal Highway
Administration, according to Amtrak.