California–Nevada Interstate Maglev

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California–Nevada Interstate Maglev
LocaleCalifornia, Nevada
TerminiAnaheim, California (West)
Las Vegas, Nevada (East)
Line length269 mi (432.9 km)

The California–Nevada Interstate Maglev project is a proposed 269 mi (433 km) Maglev train line from Las Vegas, Nevada to Anaheim, California. One segment would run from Las Vegas to Primm, Nevada, with proposed service to the Las Vegas area's forthcoming Ivanpah Valley Airport. The top speed would be 310 mph (500 km/h).[1] Though $45 million was appropriated in 2005 for the planning phase for the first 40 mi (64 km) segment, the money was never spent, and was finally reallocated to a highway project in a Las Vegas Airport in June 2010. The maglev project was not in the 2012 transportation plan under consideration by the Southern California Association of Governments. Removing it from the plan means that the project cannot receive federal funds, even for studies. The Southern California Association of Governments did leave a small portion of the route – from Anaheim to Ontario – in their 2012 transportation plan. .[2]

American Magline Group, working with the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission, has received most of the government funds released so far. The German consortium famous for the Shanghai Maglev Train, Transrapid International, has performed some research into it as well; hoping to demonstrate its technology in a long-distance route.[1] In August 2014 the backers of the scheme were seeking to revive interest in the proposal.[3]


In the late 1970s and 1980s, Nevada politicians talked of a "bullet train" to connect Southern California to Las Vegas. Since the 1997 termination of the Amtrak-run Desert Wind, Las Vegas has been without any passenger train service. Plans to resume service using a Talgo train have failed to gain traction due to the high cost of upgrades to the existing track, much of it being only a single track as of 2006. With McCarran International Airport expected to reach capacity in a few years and I-15 upgrades for more lanes an ongoing project, an alternative mode of transportation between Southern California and Las Vegas is considered important by many transportation planners[who?]. As a result, a maglev train was proposed in the late 1990s.

Operating on a dedicated track, it would not be subject to delays from freight trains, a problem that plagued the old Amtrak service. As a high-speed service, it would be able to compete with airlines for passengers, especially from the outlying areas of Southern California.

Funding allocated to date:

  • $1 million on December 8, 2004 in the 2005FY appropriation bill.
  • $45 million (later withdrawn) for planning in the 2006FY Federal appropriation bill for the Las Vegas to Primm segment. The money was redirected to a highway project at McCarran International Airport.[4]

The maglev project's cost has recently been estimated to be around $12 billion.[citation needed] In June 2010 it lost key support from Senator Harry Reid, who then stated support for the privately financed Desert Xpress project.[5] The availability of these funds for the Maglev project were withdrawn at the direction of Reid by language contained the Federal "Jobs Bill" passed in March 2010.[6] In a press release, the Senator claimed the Maglev Commission had failed to raise the required matching funds of 20%; a claim subsequently disputed by American Magline Group President Neil Cummings, who reported raising $10 million. Reid then noted that commission had "failed to complete an environmental impact statement", the value of which was counted as part of the "$10 million" in matching funds claimed to have been raised by the Magline Group, despite the statement being unfinished.[5] The project's technology also remains controversial among rail enthusiasts[who?] since it is untried in the United States.[citation needed]

The application for $83 million was filed by the California-Nevada Super Speed Commission, but according to the federal department, "only states, groups of states, interstate compacts, and public agencies established by one or more states" were eligible.[citation needed] While the Super Speed Train Commission is ostensibly a bi-state body, there is a wrinkle, a senior Transportation Department official said. Nevada established its part as a state agency, but in California, it was formed as a "nonprofit public benefit corporation."[7]


Proposed route[8]
Las Vegas, Nevada
Ivanpah Valley Airport
Primm, Nevada
Barstow, California
Victorville, California
Ontario, California
Anaheim, California

Alternative projects[edit]


Amtrak proposed upgrading the existing rail line to allow high-speed Talgo trains.[9][10] A high-profile publicity event was staged in December 1999. The implementation of this option is in limbo since the Union Pacific claims to lack capacity on the existing rail line.[11] As of 2009, the project has been on hold and is unlikely to be revived.

Desert Xpress Enterprises[edit]

Desert Xpress Enterprises has proposed XpressWest, formerly known as DesertXpress, a privately owned high-speed rail line running nonstop from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas, a 200-mile run along the I-15 corridor. The Federal Railroad Administration public scoping meetings on July 25 and July 26, 2006, could lead to an environmental impact statement for the project.


A design made up by Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Persch, Jasmin Aline (2008-06-25). "America's fastest train moves ahead". msnbc. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  2. ^ Begley, Dug (2012-01-21). "Southern California: Maglev gone, but high-speed rail remains". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  3. ^ "Supporters of maglev see chance to re-enter game". Las Vegas Review-Journal. August 30, 2014.
  4. ^ *Illia, Tony (2005-08-22). "New federal funds revive Maglev project". Las Vegas Business Press. Retrieved 2006-04-06.
  5. ^ a b Velotta, Richard N. (2010-03-19). "Harry Reid: 'No one is stopping' maglev train proposal". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  6. ^ Hansen, Kyle (2010-03-17). "H$45 million for maglev shifted to airport road project". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Speedy new transit coming to Vegas soon?". Archived from the original on 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2006-08-20.
  10. ^ December 14, 1999 announcement Archived April 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ TALGO CONQUESTS THE AMERICAN PACIFIC COAST Archived September 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.


External links[edit]