Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goin' Off The Rails On A Crazy Train: Los Angeles To Las Vegas Rail Line To Open In 2013?

Sometimes, dreams do come true.

There have been rumors of a train running from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for years now, and it seems like those rumors are finally coming true. While early concepts involved a sleek, futuristic high-speed Bullet Train that would smoothly whisk passengers on Mag-Lev tracks to Sin City in about two hours using anime-style technology (a rumor that became so popular that a local band named themselves after the concept), we unfortunately don't live in Japan (a country that exists in the future and present at the same time), so it sounds like we'll have to settle for a conventional train instead.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Las Vegas Railway Expresss Inc. has inked a deal with Union Pacific Railways to use tracks that were previously only used for freight to take excited passengers from Fullerton to Downtown Las Vegas on Thursday and Friday nights, with return trips on Sundays and Mondays.

The creators of The X-Train are making up for lack of sci-fi technology (and for the fact that you'll be forced to go to Fullerton, of all places) with what they promise will be a luxurious "party train" experience. Tickets will go for a relatively steep but not outrageous $99, which will reportedly include a meal and one free cocktail.  The X-Train will be up and running, if everything stays on track (pun fully intended) by late 2013.

The trip will takes less than five hours, and the fact that the train will have a bar running throughout the duration will certainly make the experience fly by faster than the usual drive on the 15, which is often gridlocked with bumper to bumper traffic (a situation that will only get worse as the number of cars that drive on the interstate is expected to more than double in less than a decade).

Amenities will include meals prepared fresh in an onboard kitchen, flat screen TVs at passenger tables, sports lounges for watching games, concierge desks for booking Cirque Du Soleil tickets and dinner reservations, and some sort of live performances (which will most likely just mean DJs spinning in some sort of moving lounge room, but might mean live bands performing in cramped quarters, like in that horrible Buick ad featuring the even more horrible band Neon Trees "rocking out" on a bus). Unsurprisingly, the train will also feature private cars that can be rented for bachelor/ bacehlorette parties, corporate meetings, or Eyes Wide Shut style rich person mask orgies.

I like the idea of hopping aboard a Las Vegas-bound train from LA (though it would be even better if the train actually departed from LA and not Fullerton) and not worrying about driving on what can be a stressful drive on a packed two-lane interstate (especially since I'm usually the one who ends up driving when I head to Vegas with friends... though sometimes people have to drive my car back on the Sunday morning after Saturday night antics, ya feel me bra?), though the potential for douche-tastic antics runs incredibly high.

There's no denying the fact that a thing called "The X-Train" that whisks people to Sin City and promises to be a party on rails will definitely attract an element of Ed Hardy bros with frosted tips (as a side-note... how are there people still wearing Ed Hardy? All evidence on OKCupid points to the fact that ladies would never sleep with a dude who wears that stuff, but I guess there are still enough girls out there for whom T-Shirts with bedazzled Japanese Tigers printed onto them isn't a deal-breaker), but maybe, just maybe, the creators of The X Train will take a hint from the fact that their train's destination is in the increasingly quirky Downtown neighborhood and include some more offbeat offerings that appeal to folks looking for something a little more outside the box(car).

Just think about it... the creators of this crazy train have the opportunity to bring Wes Anderson's obsessively art-directed train cars from The Darjeeling Limited to life (with a more Las Vegan than Indian twist, of course). Hire cool artists to paint and decorate the train, stock the bar with interesting Craft Brews and fresh Cocktail muddlings, hire some actually unpredictable live entertainment acts (which means bands better than the friggin' Neon Trees and DJs that spin something more interesting than Dubstep or Top 40), and bring experts onboard to chat with passengers about interesting (and sellable!) topics, like Wine and Food. If the train is seriously serving fresh meals made by in their kitchen, why not hire cool Chefs that can put together something that is locally sourced as they start to prepare it and becomes less so as the journey continues? All I'm saying is offer a little something extra for people who are not interested in the typical Las Vegas experience.

All of these ideas are probably fantasies, I know. The X-Train will probably be dominated by lowest common denominator programming, cheap mass-market booze options, and disappointing food which will please the less discerning percentage of the population who end up riding the train. And I'll swallow it without (too much) complaint (even as I try to plug my nose from the overwhelming stench of Axe Body Spray), because drinking on a train sure beats sitting in traffic for hours on a Friday night. Bring on The X-Train, in whatever form it ultimately takes!

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