Las Vegas "X Train" terminates deal with UP, promotes Amtrak service restart

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Las Vegas Railway Express, widely known as the "X Train," has terminated its operating agreement with Union Pacific. The company cites an unspecified "off balance sheet" capital plan for the change.

"We have an alternative for off balance sheet financing for this route which eliminates the need for the Company to dilute its shareholders by $100 million," says Michael Barron, Las Vegas Railway Express president and CEO. "As a result of this alternative financing plan, we no longer needed to retain the Union Pacific agreement which required the Company to make prepaid capital improvement payments of $66 million," Barron said. The alternative financing plan would still finance the LA to Las Vegas route as planned.

The company had an agreement in place with Union Pacific to upgrade its line to Las Vegas. Now it hopes to align unidentified investors and restart Amtrak service to Las Vegas, with its own cars on the train, the Las Vegas News-Review reports.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham confirms this plan. "They have approached us but we have no agreement,” she tells the newspaper.

Las Vegas Railway Express has lured executives from the rail industry to its ranks, in spite of not operating any trains to date. In May it elected John McPherson as chairman of the board. McPherson has served on the board of CSX Transportation and in other capacities for Florida East Coast, Illinois Central, and Santa Fe.

In January, the company announced that it had hired Rail Enterprises of Orlando, Fla., to refurbish a fleet of retired bilevel commuter cars for its luxury long-distance trains.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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