Desert Success!

by Lance Meister

The DesertXpress Project, a proposed high-speed rail (HSR) line between Victorville, CA and Las Veags, NV, released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)  last month.  This is actually the first high-speed rail project in the country to complete its environmental review and documentation (not including the Florida HSR between Tampa and Orlando, which was cancelled) and is now ready to begin final design and construction.   If this post about the project on the US DOT’s “Fastlane” website doesn’t get you excited, you clearly are happy with losing the future!

HMMH was the noise and vibration consultant on the DesertXpress HSR project.  We have been working with the other team members on this project since 2006, from the DEIS, through SDEIS and finally the FEIS.  We modeled both electric and diesel vehicles on the project, and had to address concerns with noise and vibration impacts on national parks and preserves, along with impacts on wildlife and archeological sites.  The top speed is projected to be 150 mph, which is true high speed rail!

Some of the challenges included conducting noise and vibration measurements in the Mojave Desert during July in extremely hot conditions.  One of the benefits was seeing this awesome landmark, which read 117° F one day!

It’s been a long road, but it’s good to see a HSR project moving forward.  The DesertXpress is a private operation and is not using any federal stimulus money.  The project is applying for a federal loan guarantee through the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program.

For anyone who has had to sit in traffic on I-15 heading to Las Vegas on a Friday or coming back to Los Angeles on a Sunday, this has to be good news.   This will provide a relaxing and speedy option to get back and forth to Las Vegas.  Hopefully this project will succeed and be a catalyst for other HSR projects to move forward.  Enjoy this video!

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