By Tim O'Reiley, November 13, 2013
An artist's rendering shows an entertainment car on what would have been part of Las Vegas Railway Express' planned X Train.
The party has ended before it began on train travel between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
four years, penny stock company Las Vegas Railway Express has promoted
its idea to restart rail service between the two areas using
conventional equipment outfitted for a good-time ride, what it calls the
But in its second-quarter report filed Tuesday, the
company disclosed that it had scrapped its previously announced strategy
of raising $100 million to launch the service, including paying the
Union Pacific Railroad $67 million to improve and expand its tracks
between Las Vegas and Daggett, Calif.
As a result, the company forfeited a $600,000 deposit paid to Union Pacific last year.
the Union Pacific deal was announced one year ago, Las Vegas Railway
Express CEO Michael Barron said in a statement, “This moment will be
long remembered as an important milestone in providing a great
experience for X Train customers.”
This managed to attract widespread attention.
longer was the X Train followed by a few news organizations in Southern
Nevada,” publicist Mick Bailey wrote on the company’s website. “(An)
Associated Press article was picked up by news agencies around the
Barron promised an inaugural run on the upcoming New
Year’s Eve, one of several start dates that have gone by the boards. The
initial concept called for a $99 fare each way, including food and
drink, for about a five-hour ride.
The quarterly report said the
company will pursue an “off balance sheet” deal being put together by
unidentified investors to restart Amtrak service for the first time
since 1997, with X Train party cars attached.
Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said in a statement, “They have approached us but we have no agreement.”
planned to have Amtrak crews run the original version of the party
trains, but no contract was ever signed. Likewise, the Las Vegas Railway
Express never reached a deal with BNSF, which owns about half the track
between Las Vegas and the proposed terminus at Fullerton, Calif., near
Replacing the Union Pacific transaction with an off
balance sheet would prevent shareholder dilution, Barron said in a
However, the number of shares the past year alone has
quadrupled to 164.7 million, according to company financial statements,
as the company has sold stock and secured loans that could be repaid
with stock to raise the money to stay in business.
The number of shares it could potentially owe would take it above the currently authorized limit of 200 million.
latest pitch calls for attaching the casino-style passenger cars to
regular Amtrak routes, with the first one on Dec. 2 to connect to an
unspecified city pair anywhere in the country. In June, a company
statement said it would start accepting bookings the next month for what
it called Casino Fun Trains on 10 different routes, such as Houston to
The announced xtrainvacations.com website does not work, however.
said Amtrak has no agreements to allow Las Vegas Railway Express to
attach any cars to regular trains. Moreover, she said, the company has
not said where or if any cars are ready for service.
the company seeks to lease 20 acres owned by North Las Vegas for a
station. Previously, Barron talked about locating next to the Plaza
downtown, but that plan was dropped.