Digest: Proposed Las Vegas high speed project seeks STB approval of route changes

News Wire Digest third section for Sept. 17: Las Vegas visitors authority to buy bankrupt monorail; Fargo 19-year-old charged for attempting to derail train
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Thursday afternoon rail news:

Las Vegas high speed project seeks approval from STB for modifications to construction plan

Xpress West, the Brightline affiliate seeking to build a high speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas, Nev., has asked the Surface Transportation Board to modify its previous approval of the project to allow some of the line to be constructed in the median of Interstate 15, and for a single-track line with passing sidings. The original STB ruling, issued in 2011 when the company was known as DesertXpress [see “STB approves DesertXpress,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 26, 2011], envisioned a double-track line that would be built almost entirely on the north or west side of the highway. In a letter to the STB, the legal counsel for DesertXpress says Brightline has determined the changes would be “more efficient and environmentally beneficial.”  Earlier this year, Xpress West reached agreement with the California Department of Transportation on a lease allowing the railroad to be built on the state-owned I-15 right-of-way [see "Las Vegas high speed project reaches agreement to build along I-15," News Wire Digest, June 30, 2020].

Las Vegas visitors authority makes down payment to buy bankrupt monorail
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has made a down payment on purchase of the The Las Vegas Monorail Co., which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the authority paid a $1.8 million nonrefundable deposit toward its planned $24.12 million acquisition of the 3.9-mile monorail, while filed for bankruptcy Sept. 7. The system had been closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authority is looking to acquire the monorail in order to gain control of its non-compete agreement which would currently prevent other transit systems from developing on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip.

19-year-old charged for attempting to derail train; authorities offer few details
A 19-year-old Fargo, N.D., man has been charged with trying to derail a train earlier this year, and could face life in prison. The Fargo Forum newspaper reports that Skylar Dayne Goodman is charged with violence against a railroad carrier for allegedly trying to derail a BNSF train on May 7. A trial is set for Nov. 17. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Cass County’s Sheriff’s Office, and BNSF all declined to release additional details because the case remains open, the newspaper said.

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