Leaders in Las Vegas are showing new interest in re-establishing a rail link between Sin City and Southern California, after more than 20 years without rail service. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) said that she would push for resumption of Amtrak service, after a new Amtrak bill focused on the Northeast Corridor passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
House Republicans, however, could prove a major obstacle to such an expansion, as they are focus on firming up Amtrak’s bottom line by focusing on its service to the northeast and limiting the extent to which profitable routes in that region subsidize other lines or high-speed rail. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could–if he remains in power after this year’s elections–be another roadblock, as he prefers a new high-speed rail proposal.
The final journey of Amtrak’s Desert Wind route took place in May 1997, and was documented by passenger Steve Grande:
The Desert Wind had one minor delay of maybe 5 minutes as we approached the Los Angeles station. Coming into the station there appeared to be a couple of railfans on the platform. Unlike what I was told about the reception this Desert Wind got in Las Vegas, there were no reporters, TV stations, or any media at all to see the arrival of the final Amtrak Desert Wind into Los Angeles.
After we got off the train, I went to the rear of the train and Ray went up to the front of the train. Ray was going to try to get the name and photo of the Engineer, but he had already left by the time Ray was able to get to the front. There was a sign on the front of the train that read: “FINAL #35”, but it was in pretty bad shape from having been on the front of the train for all those miles. There was also a big sign at the end of the train that read: “THE END”, which was also in pretty bad shape.
Trains do continue to run between Las Vegas and Southern California–carrying freight, not passengers.
Image: Dina Titus/Flickr
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak