Grimshaw Architects revolutionizes transit between L.A. and Las Vegas

Oft described as the “greenest bullet train in the world,” the Biden administration recently announced $3 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Brightline West: a new, 218-mile high-speed rail connection between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. After making the short smooth trip, riders will enjoy a gleaming transit hub designed by Grimshaw Architects, Brightline West Las Vegas Station. Rockwell Group is designing the Las Vegas Station’s lounge area; Arup will provide engineering services.

Brightline West’s main protagonist is its founder Wes Eden, an American venture capitalist who owns a slew of sports franchises. Last September, service on Eden’s privately-operated Brightline East officially opened, providing high-speed service between Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Orlando.

Artist interpretation of Brightline West train in transit. (Courtesy Brightline West)

Slated for completion in 2028 in time for the Los Angeles Olympics, Brightline West passengers will reach tremendous speeds that top out at 186 miles per hour. The new line will have four new stations designed by Grimshaw Architects that hug Interstate 15’s right of way. Climate experts say that Brightline West could remove 3 million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 annually.

The first stop on Brightline West is in Los Angeles at Rancho Cucamonga Station, sited at the northwest corner of Milliken Avenue and Azusa Court near Ontario International Airport. The second stop is Hesperia Station, located at the I-15/Joshua Street interchange, serving passengers from the greater Los Angeles area.

Brightline West service map (Courtesy Brightline)

The third stop on Brightline West will be Victor Valley Station, sited southeast of the Dale Evans Parkway and I-15 interchange in Apple Valley. The fourth and last stop will be the Grimshaw-designed transit hub in Las Vegas.

Grimshaw’s design for Brightline West Las Vegas Station is partially submerged beneath the desert landscape. Thus, the architects note that the building’s primary reading will be its roof and canopy elements. These two defining elements will cover and form the enclosure footprint of the station’s arrivals and departures hall and lounges, Grimshaw continued. The zones are to be wrapped in uninterrupted windows to allow daylight into the passenger areas, and provide clear views of the surrounding landscape.

Las Vegas Station (Courtesy Grimshaw Architects)

“The Brightline West stations connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas will transform the way in which people travel in the American Southwest,” said Andrew Byrne, managing partner of Grimshaw’s Los Angeles studio. “Through these stations, we are introducing a legitimate alternative to car and air travel with a high-speed rail system that drastically reduces carbon emissions. We are excited to be at the forefront of designing the next generation of transportation in the United States.”

Construction is slated to complete in 2028.

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