Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak – The Desert Wind was an Amtrak long-distance passenger train that ran from 1979 to 1997. It operated from Chicago to Los Angeles as a section of the California Zephyr, serving Los Angeles via Salt Lake City; Ogd, Utah; and Las Vegas.

UP #932, an EMD E8, running the City of Los Angeles at Union Station in Los Angeles in March 1971, just before the shutdown

Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak

Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak

In the late 1960s, before the creation of Amtrak, the Union Pacific Railroad combined its long-distance streamliners between Chicago, Kansas City and the West Coast into one massive train dubbed by critics the “City of Everywhere”. The train included the Challenger, the City of Dover, the City of Kansas City, the City of Los Angeles, the City of Portland, and the City of San Francisco. At one point, it ran up to 27 cars. The City of Los Angeles split from the behemoth in Ogd, Utah, to serve Los Angeles through Las Vegas.

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Of these, Amtrak retained portions of the City of Kansas City and the City of San Francisco for its Chicago – San Francisco service, which it named the San Francisco Zephyr. Regular service to Las Vegas ceased in the early morning hours of May 2, 1971, making the westbound City of Los Angeles its last stop on its final trip to its namesake city.

Throughout the 1970s, there were brief attempts to revive service to Las Vegas in the form of charters and excursions, plus a regularly scheduled weekday-only train called the Las Vegas Limited, which ran for four months in 1976. To a head in 1979, as Amtrak was facing significant political pressure to cut costs and reduce the size of its national network. Senator Howard Cannon (D-Nevada) pushed hard for Amtrak to create a train that served Las Vegas, and Amtrak considered replacing the Southwest Limited, its existing Chicago-Los Angeles train, with such a service. In the D, the Southwest Limited continued and Amtrak introduced the Desert Wind, which made its first run on October 28, 1979.

The original Desert Wind was a day train with Amfleet equipment. The northbound train left Los Angeles at noon and arrived in Ought the next morning to connect with the eastbound San Francisco Zephyr. The southbound departed Ogd in the middle of the night after the arrival of the westbound San Francisco Zephyr from Chicago and arrived in Los Angeles late in the afternoon. The 811-mile (1,305 km) journey took eight hours.

Beginning in 1980, the Desert Wind exchanged a Chicago – Los Angeles by coach with the San Francisco Zephyr in OGD; This service expanded in 1982 to include a sleeping car.

Denver To Las Vegas Train

After the rammed and rerouted California Zephyr began using the Dover and Rio Grande Western Railroad main line in 1983, the Desert Wind began connecting with the Zephyr in Salt Lake City. Later, the Desert Wind and the Seattle-bound Pioneer would operate together with the California Zephyr from Chicago to Salt Lake City, where the trains separated.

This created a train of 16 Superliner cars running from Chicago to Utah, the longest that Amtrak had ever operated apart from the Auto Train. With Amtrak needing at least four locomotives to pull the massive train through the Rockies, the Pioneer began splitting at Dover in 1991, while the Desert Wind further split from the Zephyr at Salt Lake City.

The Desert Wind was discontinued on May 12, 1997, a victim of Amtrak’s repeated budget cuts, which had also eliminated the Pioneer Days earlier.

Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak

Train service was replaced with a Los Angeles – Las Vegas Amtrak Thruway service. At the time, the train service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas took 7 hours 15 minutes.

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There are several private, competing plans to restore rail service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, including the high-speed Brightline West and the more conventional X train and Z train.

A Los Angeles – Las Vegas route operated by Amtrak nearly terminated service in 2000. A Talgo VII trainset was purchased for the service in 1999; When it was not implemented, the trainset was later used on the Amtrak Cascades service.

Including routes using the same track as the original Desert Wind, and routes using the Metrolink San Bernardino line. Lack of funding and congestion by the Cajon Pass remained significant obstacles. More recent proposals using high-speed rail have suggested routing through Victorville and connecting with California’s high-speed rail project in Palmdale,

The route has some merit for Amtrak, as the July 2010 issue of Trains lists the route as one to be restored in conjunction with upgrading the equipment on the California Zephyr.

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In 2021, Amtrak announced a Los Angeles to Las Vegas train service as part of a new expansion proposal.

In June 2021, Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) added an amendment to the Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021 that requires the Department of Transportation (not Amtrak itself) to evaluate the restoration of discontinued long-distance routes, such as the Desert Wind . .

And was later rolled into President Bid’s Infrastructure Investmt and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in November 2021.

Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak

On October 28, 2022, the Amtrak Daily Long-Distance Service study was announced by the Federal Railroad Administration. The aim is to evaluate the restoration and addition of discontinued and new long-distance passenger services, as well as the upgrading of tri-weekly long-distance services (the Sunset Limited and the Cardinal) to daily operation. The criteria for either restoring or creating new long-distance routes are that they connect large and small communities as part of a “regional rail network”, provide economic and social well-being for rural areas, provide “healthy connectivity” for the existing long- Long-distance passenger trains, and reflect the support and gamete of the locals and region for healthy long-distance passenger service.

Hidden Amtrak Mural, Las Vegas

The criteria include the desert wind, among other trains. The study will take place until 2023, and will engage with stakeholders, the railway companies and communities as it assesses “how to better connect people with long-distance rail services”. Downtown Las Vegas on October 24, 1986. Amtrak’s Desert Wind route stopped in Las Vegas from 1978 to 1997. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)

An Amtrak Superliner is seen in Las Vegas on May 18, 1986. Amtrak operated the Desert Wind route from 1978 to 1997 from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, with a stop in Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)

Railroad executives Gustavo Gonzalez, from left, Gil Mallery and Lucas Oriol assist Las Vegas showgirls Anne Wyendrek, left, and Christine Arroyo across railroad tracks before posing for photographs in front of an Amtrak train in 1997. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)

Scianna Augustine, a Las Vegas travel agent, has her morning coffee as Amtrak’s Desert Wind enters Nevada from Salt Lake City in 1997. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)

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As Amtrak winds its way to Las Vegas, passengers enjoy the scenery and conversation in the observation car in 1997. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)

It won’t happen overnight, but two rail projects that would connect Southern Nevada with Southern California could get a financial boost from President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion jobs bill.

If approved, the bill will finance Amtrak’s plan to expand its service nationwide and launch multiple new routes, including one between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak

In addition, the bill could provide funding for Brightline West’s planned high-speed rail project that would link riders between Las Vegas and Southern California on passenger trains that can go up to 200 mph.

Music, Booze, Gambling

“Approximately 47,000 vehicles on average are counted daily on Interstate 15 at the stateline,” Maynard noted. “An Amtrak route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas will provide another option for visitors to travel to Las Vegas, helping to alleviate congestion, improve our air quality and significantly improve the overall visitor experience.”

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said that both Amtrak and Brightline are attractive projects but believes that the first is operational will be better.

“Obviously they both have benefits,” Naft said. “Each option will help ease traffic on the 15th, which we cannot tolerate any more weekends of stacked traffic.”

Under Amtrak’s 15-year plan for expanding service, Las Vegas and Los Angeles would be linked by passenger rail for the first time since the company stopped serving the route in 1997.

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The Las Vegas connection is part of $30 billion in potential Amtrak projects that would create about 550,000 jobs across the country. Another possible route in the area includes connecting Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, with Los Angeles.

The possible route additions and improvements, which would connect up to 160 communities across the country, would be added over a 15-year period, according to the Amtrak Connects website.

Specifics behind the possible Las Vegas-to-Los Angeles route were not provided, and attempts to get further comment from Amtrak were unsuccessful.

Train From Los Angeles To Las Vegas Amtrak

Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Ryan McInerney said Amtrak reached out to the department in July about its interest in including Las Vegas in future passenger rail service plans. McInerney had no additional information about Amtrak’s plans.

Moving Forward—at Restricted Speed

Amtrak’s last service that included Las Vegas ran between 1978 and 1997 under the name The Desert Wind,


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