Last month saw the official start of work on Brightline West, the $12-billion high-speed rail line which will connect the Las Vegas Strip to Southern California. This week offered a first look at the fleet of trains that will ferry passengers between the two endpoints.

Yesterday, Brightline announced that Siemens Mobility has been selected as the preferred bidder to build a fleet of 10 American Pioneer 220 (AP220) train sets for the rail line. They are to be build and delivered in advance of Brightline's anticipated start of passenger service in 2028.

Rendering of the Siemens American Pioneer 220 in Brightline West liverySiemens / Brightline West

“We are excited to work with Brightline to transform rail in America. The high-speed chapter of America’s rail story will build on Siemens’ 40 years of designing, building, testing, delivering and maintaining trains in the United States,” said Siemens Mobility North America chief executive officer Marc Buncher in a news release. “On behalf of our 4,500 rail employees across the United States, we are excited to be selected to build and maintain America’s first true high-speed trains, which will feature some of the world’s most innovative high-speed rail technology. When they enter service, it will be one of the most pivotal moments in the history of American rail.”

The AP220s, expected to have capacity for as many as 450 passengers within a seven-car train, are named for their maximum operational speed of 220 miles per hour. However, Brightline is expected to run at top speeds of between 180 and 200 miles per hour.

The trains are to be manufactured within the United States in order to comply with federal “Buy America” requirements. The location of the manufacturing facility for the AP220s is to be announced at a later date.

Rendering of the Siemens American Pioneer 220 in Brightline West liverySiemens / Brightline West

Siemens had competed for Brightline West's business against Alstom, the manufacturer of the Avelia Liberty high-speed trains which are being rolled out on Amtrak's Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. However, the rollout of next generation trains on the Acela has been plagued by defects and delays, according to a report from the Amtrak Office of Inspector General.

Brightline West, which will run 218 miles on a corridor parallel to the 15 Freeway, will run between Las Vegas and a stop at Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County with an end-to-end ride of approximately two hours. From there, passengers could transfer onto Metrolink trains to reach Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.

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