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Calif.-Vegas Party Train Could Be Running By Late 2013

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 23, 2012 05:36 PM EST

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A weekend in Las Vegas can get pretty wild, but now those in Southern California will soon be able to get the party started even earlier as a Nevada entrepreneur is trying to  create a Calif.-Vegas party train that would start operating in 2013. 

The Las Vegas Railway Express is getting closer and closer to crating a party train called the X Train, after the company made an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad last week. The party train would include big screen TVs, recliners and two ultra lounges, so vacationers can start off their trip to Vegas with a party.

"The whole idea is when you get on a train, you feel like you're in Las Vegas,"  Michael Barron, president and CEO of the project told the Associated Press. "It's essentially a nightclub on wheels."

 The X Train project would cost  $100 million. Barron hopes to have it operating by  New Year's Eve 2013.  The 576-passenger train would be operated by Amtrak crew members and would run at standard speeds.

An agreement was made with Union Pacific and approved on Nov. 16. The agreement allows Las Vegas Railway Express to use a track that is currently used by freight trains only. It hasn't been used to transport passengers since 1997, when the Desert Wind was discontinued.

The X Train proposal calls for an Amtrak crew aboard a 576-passenger train that runs at standard speeds on traditional tracks. The train would leave from Fullerton, Calif. and will end in downtown Las Vegas.

Southern Californians can't get to Last Vegas by train alone. Another proposal tried to address this issue as well. There is a proposal for a  XpressWest train which would travel an high speeds and connects Las Vegas with Southern California. 

 However the project would cost several billion dollars as new tracks would have to be laid down for it as the initial phase of the project would start in Victorville, which is 100 miles outside of Los Angeles.

A ticket on the party train would cost $99 each direction and only adults will be allowed. The ticket will include a meal and a beverage. There will also be a cash bar on board. The company hopes to make additional money by booking Las Vegas hotels and shows for passengers, so that they can keep the train ticket price low.

The train would initially make one trip a day from Thursday-Monday, which Barron hopes will peak the interest of those who don't want to drive home after a weekend of partying in Sin City.

"Sunday is horrific," Barron said of the traffic on Interstate 15. "So now you've been up for 40 hours gambling and you have to drive for seven hours - that's just horrible. But people do it in spite of that!"

Some are still concerned about the price for the train as there may be cheaper options for those who choose to fly or who split the cost of gas for the drive. However the train would be fun for special occasions. "For special occasions it would be good, but not all the time,"  tourist Christina Bojorquez, 25, told AP.

The train isn't the only way form of transportation that would connect Las Vegas and Southern California. A Greyhound Express bus from L.A. to Vegas began operating recently.

"These modes of transportation do appeal to a younger, more eco-friendly traveler," Tom Skancke, a transportation consultant for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority told AP.  "This generation is more interested in passenger rail, transit and high-speed rail than previous generations."

It will take a while for the X Train to get up and running by 2013. The 16 cars of the train need to be renovated and a train station needs to be completed in downtown Las Vegas.

"We're four years and $12 million into it. It's a lot of infrastructure building," Barron said. "This is a simple concept in discussion, but it's complicated to do." 

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