China Railway International USA and US railway consortium XpressWest have agreed to launch a joint venture (JV) to build and operate the first high-speed railway (HSR) project in the US.

The 370km-long railway project, also known as the Southwest Rail Network, will connect Las Vegas, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California.

The agreement underlines China’s aim to expand in the international rail market.

"The project will be a landmark in overseas investment for the Chinese railway sector and serve as a model of international cooperation."

The scope of work will include developing, financing, building and operating the Southwest Rail Network, with stations in Las Vegas, and the California cities of Victorville and Palmdale, and service across Los Angeles.

With $100m in initial capital, the project will create new technology, manufacturing, and construction jobs throughout the interstate corridor.

The new HSR line will also connect southern Nevada and southern California to drive new economic development and grow tourism.

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By GlobalData

The project will serve as a model of international cooperation and will firmly establish a US-based HSR industry that will result in significant job creation throughout the Southwest with construction planned to start as early as September next year.

Implementation of necessary regulatory and commercial activities will be initiated within the next 100 days.

China Railway International chairman Yang Zhongmin was quoted by Xinhua as saying: "As China’s first high-speed railway project in the US, the project will be a landmark in overseas investment for the Chinese railway sector and serve as a model of international cooperation."

The rail project would run adjacent to heavily travelled Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to Victorville, 136km north-east of downtown Los Angeles.

China Railway International USA is a newly formed Nevada limited liability company owned by a consortium of China Railway, China Railway Engineering, CSR Corporation, China Construction America, and China Railway Signal Communications.