In the heart of the desert in the heart of the Southwest are cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix, cities built under a maze of desert bluffs that rise quickly and then sink as close to the ground as they can.
So what makes them so different? What was the secret to making them work?
Fox News’ Anthony Inagaki has been following a program, the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission (SNRTC), in Las Vegas to answer that question. He walks through their 12.5-mile (20-kilometer) Central Metro Rail System, which connects Las Vegas and Las Vegas Henderson, West Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Mesquite, and the Lake Mead area.
The rail line, which runs the same distance one could drive a car from Las Vegas to Denver in 2 1/2 hours, with little more than a stop for gas and a bit of lunch in between, is broken up into 14.5 miles (22.5 km) of tracks. Metro said that the trains are able to travel at 63 miles per hour (101 km/h), two to three times faster than the vehicles on traditional mass transit, like buses. The trains run on diesel engine and their stations are designed to handle tourist traffic. The stations also allow commuters to reach spots close to downtown Las Vegas.
Hearthside City, built in 1986, is one of six stations on the Regional Rail system.
From NASA: “Studying certain light intensities reveals a layer of excited ionizing gas that serves as the ground breaking surface for the arid arroyo subsurface, one that contains water and may hold much of the ancient sediments below the Earth.”
The Argonne National Laboratory was able to take about two years to build a model of the metro to get the information NASA wanted. It takes 160 different people between 51 nations to make the model, and 9,000 men to power it.
The stations go from noisy, modern buildings to an architectural concept derived from the flow of rivers, with two rivers, Las Vegas and Escambia.
Sean Gainer, the railroad’s general manager, said the science behind the blueprint was on purpose and came from the same team that brought us National Center for Atmospheric Research and where NASA sends its co-pilots and engineers. He said the tracks go from the surface and then cross and dip beneath the surface, where they begin reflecting light, which is reflected back into the trains at the same time. The mirrors put passengers into another plane than the train themselves so the trains can enter the airport on the left, as the plane flies over it from the right.
There’s a video of people working on the rail to put the train system together. You can see it here.
Don’t miss the fact that the metro had a shortage of workers!
Congress has been reluctant to provide money for the system and it’s set to expire this October 1.