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Brightline takes over XPress West!

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https://t.co/sDen1BjRNX

 

Brightline will be the new owner of Xpresswest it has been reported by the WSJ. From the article:

 

A Florida company has agreed to acquire the operator of a planned high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, in a deal that may breathe new life into the long-delayed project.

Brightline Trains LLC, based in Miami, Fla., was expected to announce Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire XpressWest, a private rail project developed and owned by famed Las Vegas Strip contractor Tony Marnell.

Financial details weren’t disclosed.

 

“The introduction of high-speed rail between Las Vegas to Southern California will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to our state and support increased tourism,” said Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

 

Brian Annis, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency, added: “California has a vision for a modernized rail network that is fast, clean and convenient for travelers, and the introduction of Brightline service linking Southern California to Las Vegas will help us achieve that vision.”

 

I wonder how much influence the new Japanese owners had in this deal? Lots of questions at this time.

 

EDIT: More info from Palm Beach Post:

 

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/brightline-buys-private-rail-line-connecting-los-angeles-and-las-vegas/kXeHo7yhMBOVWe5OFeNRFI/

 

“Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and too short to fly,” said Wes Edens, the billionaire co-founder and co-chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, which owns Brightline. “Our experience in Florida is proving that private-sector investment has a meaningful role to play in developing transportation infrastructure. We're excited to bring Brightline's world-class and convenient travel experience to Southern California and Las Vegas.”

 

Brightline said its plans include buying 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for construction of a train station and mixed-used development.

 

Plans for more TOD in Las Vegas. What will they do at the other end? Keep it in Victorville or extend it further to be closer to LA?

Edited by Brian_tampa

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https://t.co/sDen1BjRNX

 

Brightline will be the new owner of Xpresswest it has been reported by the WSJ. From the article:

 

A Florida company has agreed to acquire the operator of a planned high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, in a deal that may breathe new life into the long-delayed project.

Brightline Trains LLC, based in Miami, Fla., was expected to announce Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire XpressWest, a private rail project developed and owned by famed Las Vegas Strip contractor Tony Marnell.

Financial details weren’t disclosed.

 

“The introduction of high-speed rail between Las Vegas to Southern California will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to our state and support increased tourism,” said Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

 

Brian Annis, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency, added: “California has a vision for a modernized rail network that is fast, clean and convenient for travelers, and the introduction of Brightline service linking Southern California to Las Vegas will help us achieve that vision.”

 

I wonder how much influence the new Japanese owners had in this deal? Lots of questions at this time.

 

EDIT: More info from Palm Beach Post:

 

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/brightline-buys-private-rail-line-connecting-los-angeles-and-las-vegas/kXeHo7yhMBOVWe5OFeNRFI/

 

“Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and too short to fly,” said Wes Edens, the billionaire co-founder and co-chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, which owns Brightline. “Our experience in Florida is proving that private-sector investment has a meaningful role to play in developing transportation infrastructure. We're excited to bring Brightline's world-class and convenient travel experience to Southern California and Las Vegas.”

 

Brightline said its plans include buying 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for construction of a train station and mixed-used development.

 

Plans for more TOD in Las Vegas. What will they do at the other end? Keep it in Victorville or extend it further to be closer to LA?

So now Brightline is in charge of bringing rail service back to Las Vegas? I get the feeling that we might end up with a network of Brightline routes all over the country. I know it's really early, but considering their success in Florida, I wouldn't be too surprised if they eventually become the second Class I passenger railroad in the U.S...

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Brightline Press Release regarding Xpresswest purchase:

 

Brightline to Build Express Intercity Passenger Rail Connecting Southern California and Las Vegas
MIAMI – Sept. 18, 2018 –

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Brightline agrees to acquire XpressWest, a high-speed rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas
* Brightline will acquire 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for the construction of a station and mixed-use development
* Brightline currently operates passenger rail service in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and is expanding to Orlando, with plans to further expand into Tampa
* This project will be Brightline's first corridor outside Florida and the second privately funded express intercity passenger service in the nation

 

Today Brightline, the nation's only privately owned, operated and maintained express intercity passenger rail system, announced its expansion to the West Coast with the acquisition of XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. This project would be only the second privately funded express intercity passenger rail in the United States, following Brightline's Florida rail corridor.

 

“Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and too short to fly,” said Wes Edens, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Fortress Investment Group. “Our experience in Florida is proving that private-sector investment has a meaningful role to play in developing transportation infrastructure. We're excited to bring Brightline's world-class and convenient travel experience to Southern California and Las Vegas.”

 

“The introduction of high-speed rail between Las Vegas to Southern California will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to our state and support increased tourism,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “Brightline has built a proven model for privately funded high-speed rail service in Florida and we are excited to welcome them to Nevada.”

 

Brightline will link one of the most traveled routes in the country, connecting more than 22 million people living in Southern California with Las Vegas, one of the most visited cities in the U.S. According to ridership studies, travelers make more than 50 million annual trips between Las Vegas and Southern California. Today those travelers are limited to traveling by air or car, and Brightline expects to offer a convenient alternative that will make the trip in less than two hours.

 

As a result of the XpressWest acquisition, Brightline will take over the development, construction and operation of the project and work with federal and local transportation officials to connect Las Vegas with Victorville, California, with future plans to expand into the Los Angeles area.

 

The first phase of the corridor is expected to be built on a right of way within and adjacent to Interstate 15, traversing 185 miles with no at-grade or pedestrian crossings. Construction is expected to begin next year and Brightline is planning to begin initial service in 2022.

 

“Brightline's model is setting a new standard for train travel in America,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline. “Today's announcement is an important milestone for our company as we reimagine transportation between these major metropolitan areas. We look forward to working with the region's stakeholders to make this vision a reality.”

 

“The XpressWest team has done an incredible job bringing this project together and we're confident that Brightline will fulfill our mission and promise to the region,” said Tony Marnell, founder and chief executive officer of Marnell Companies. “We've been impressed with what Brightline has accomplished in Florida and are excited to be part of the team that is working to deliver privately funded high-speed rail to improve mobility in America.”

 

The planned Las Vegas Station is expected to be located within the resort corridor and will be a major intermodal hub with access to taxis, buses, shuttles, and limousines. As part of the project, Brightline is acquiring approximately 38 acres of land adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for construction of the station and mixed-used development.

 

The first planned Southern California station is expected to be located in Victorville within a 30- to 45-minute drive of the approximately four to five million people who live in the Inland Empire and eastern Los Angeles County, and within close proximity to Southern California's remaining 17 to 18 million residents. Planning for additional stations and connectivity to California Metrolink and eventually California High-Speed Rail is underway.

 

“California has a vision for a modernized rail network that is fast, clean, and convenient for travelers, and the introduction of Brightline service linking Southern California to Las Vegas will help us achieve that vision” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Annis. “Brightline will be beneficial for our economy and our transportation system.”

 

Similar to Brightline's operations in Florida, the corridor between Southern California and Las Vegas is expected to generate major regional economic benefits, including construction and permanent job opportunities and local and state tax revenue.

 

In addition to Brightline's Florida development and operations and its anticipated development and operations between Las Vegas and Southern California announced today, Brightline continues to explore intercity rail opportunities across North America.

 

Edit: added bold text for the future extension to the LA area. How much will that cost and how long?

Edited by Brian_tampa

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No no no no no.... I see this as a total death knoll to FECI - though if anyone is capitalized enough to make it happen, it'd be the Fortress Group.

 

The whole reason Brightline is supposed to work is because it will bring tremendous real estate revenue to properties already owned by FECI, offsetting the cost of operating and building Brightline.

 

Businesses that expand way too fast fold faster. They can talk all they want about desiring to expand, but spending a LOT of money where there is no revenue in the foreseeable future is crazy.

 

They're loudly talking about expansion to Tampa before even getting Orland built, talking about the Texas HSR, talking about Jacksonville, and now talking about Vegas to LA? FECI has NO current real estate interest in ANY of these areas to provide a loss-leading rail service. They can't even cover salaries with what's generating revenue yet. I don't doubt they will improve, but there is WAY too much talk about expansion before they can get their core business fully off the ground. For crying out loud, they've only been in service for 9 months!

Edited by VentureForth

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No no no no no.... I see this as a total death knoll to FECI - though if anyone is capitalized enough to make it happen, it'd be the Fortress Group.

 

The whole reason Brightline is supposed to work is because it will bring tremendous real estate revenue to properties already owned by FECI, offsetting the cost of operating and building Brightline.

 

 

Do you know for a fact that the Fortress Group doesn't have real estate in Vegas?

 

And maybe even if they don't, maybe they have struck a deal with those who do have real estate to receive payment in return for leveraging their assets.

 

I'm pretty confident that the people at Brightline are smart enough to understand their own business model.

 

And anyway, what does it mean to say they acquired X-presswest? The company doesn't have any land or assets as far as I am aware. No income. Just an idea and a website and some preliminary studies that are probably dated by now so would have to be re-done anyway.I expect the company would have bbeen dusbanded sooner or later anyway.

 

I don't think Brightline will be paying much for that. It's hardly going to wreck them financially.

 

I don't interpret this as meaning that we'll be seeing construction start very soon.

 

I think it's more along the lines of, this is cheap and useless, but you never know what it might be useful for one day.

Edited by cirdan

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I don't know their real estate holdings, and I suppose Fortress is much wider vested than FECI is as an individual group.

 

I just don't see what they are buying. Didn't seem to be anything they couldn't develop on their own.

 

Maybe they are big enough.

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I have to agree with VentureForth here. How many start ups have failed because they tried to grow too quickly?

 

I do hope it does become a reality. That is a huge gap in the passenger rail network.

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It wasn't too long ago that I was lecturing some people on this site about envisioning a too quick expansion of the Brightline network before even the start of Orlando service, Apparently, Fortress wasn't listening to me. This Las Vegas service is a big surprise. I would hope they get Orlando and Tampa going before going too deeply into this Las Vegas venture. I mean, we all hope Brightline is successful, but let's run it first! Of course, I'm not a big thinking financial guy, so maybe they know something I don't.

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I would like to see them grow, not necessarily more slowly, but closer to their own back yard. In other words, do the Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville sections, then make their "new" line something like Orlando to New Orleans, which Amtrak is never bringing back. I think, as solid as they seem as a company right now, it is risky to go jumping around to different areas of the country all at once.

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Isn't the line between LAS and Victorville owned UP? Is there a parallel line?

The proposal is to build a new line parallel to I-15, which should have great visibility to the semi regularly plugged roadway and the drivers that would be stuck in traffic or moving slower than the train.

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My take on this huge expansion is that when Softbank bought Fortress last year, the new owners either had plans for Brightline before the purchase or Wes Edens convinced them of the potential for Brightline to expand outside of Florida. It would not surprise me if Softbank is providing equity or loans to Brightline or FECI to enable this.

 

What will happen if the Vegas Brightline does actually get built and operational in 4 years? How would that impact the CA HSR project in terms of public perception and be a motivating force to get the CHSRA built sooner?

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Was just gonna say, I am not a finance expert either, but I wonder how much of a factor SoftBank plays in all this? They probably have a pretty big wallet?

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From what i have been able to see is that Brightline bought the rights of Xpress West name and other intellectual properties needed for service branding, as well as 38 acres of Vegas real estate. It also has the makings of a public private partnership. If that's the case, then they could get it built fairly soon.

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When Howard was building Starbucks he was quick to expand the chain past it's Seattle roots into Chicago because he wanted it to be shown that the chain was viable nationally. Seems FECI is trying the same strategy with Brightline and I commend the effort. Building a high speed rail line between LA and Vegas has to be one of the most common sense projects in the nation and I think it will certainly pay dividends for FECI/Fortress/Softbank.

 

Now if they announced they where building a corridor from Denver to Chicago I would be a lot more skeptical, but I think LA-Vegas will be a great success.

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How will they make a train trip competitive with a $100 1 hour flight or $30 in gas for up to 8 people?

 

Comparing to the SWC's trip from LA to Kingman (almost same terrain/distance), it takes the train over 7 hours.

 

Best option here is getting the Boring company to work with Hyperloop and bore a straight line through the mountains.

Edited by VentureForth

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When Howard was building Starbucks he was quick to expand the chain past it's Seattle roots into Chicago because he wanted it to be shown that the chain was viable nationally.

Howard's irrecoverable infrastructure cost was on several orders magnitude less.

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Would this route have demographics similar to Brightline's route in Florida? (Cities where people live and work, connecting to cities where people go for vacations?) Or similar to, say, New Yorkers going to Atlantic City or one of the CT casinos?

In other words, would this be similar to the setup they already have? (I don't know--I have never been to Los Vegas.) If they are copying a model that is already looking like it will be successful in Florida, then perhaps the gamble (sorry, that just slipped out :P) isn't as great as it at first appears.

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I'll tell you this - there is a TON of car traffic that leaves the LA basin and heads to the Vegas dessert. There are also 28 daily Friday departures that start at only $185 pp, round trip.

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I have to agree with VentureForth here. How many start ups have failed because they tried to grow too quickly?

 

I do hope it does become a reality. That is a huge gap in the passenger rail network.

Midway Airlines comes to mind. Too bad, because their onboard service was very goof.

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Isn't the line between LAS and Victorville owned UP? Is there a parallel line?

There is no railroad between LAS and Victorville presently. The UP runs down to join the BNSF just east of Barstow, and they have trackage rights on BNSF to get to the L.A. area.

 

Both the BNSF and the UP have lines running through Cajon Pass. It's the BNSF line that goes to Victorville, but it's crowded. I would think that one or the other of the freight companies have been approached about how to access L.A. Victorville is in the middle of nowhere, and from what I've read, traffic is at its worst between there and L.A.

Edited by Palmetto

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This feels a lot like Brightline's Orlando expansion. I have to suspect FECI has other holdings in Vegas besides the 38 acres they are buying. It is definitely a prime corridor to do real estate development on. I wonder if they are doing true HSR or the HSR light like they are doing in FL? I feel like it would save some capital costs doing HSR light.

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