Trains to and from Las Vegas Airport (LAS)
Las Vegas Airport is one of the large airports found in the United States of America, and is commonly referred to as the McCarran International Airport. It has the IATA code of LAS for its reference as well. The airport is just five miles from downtown Las Vegas, and is the busiest of the five airports that make up the Clark County Airport System. North Las Vegas Airport is rated as the second largest in Nevada. There is no Las Vegas Airport train station, and the city itself has limited connections to the train network of the country, however, there is a very efficient monorail system that is used by residents and visitors of Las Vegas that could in the future be linked to the airport.
Las Vegas Airport currently consists of two passenger terminals. There is also a third terminal under construction that is due to open mid-2012. The new terminal will have fourteen gates, 130 check-in desks, a large number of self-service check-in kiosks, Wi-Fi, several shops and restaurants and a 6,000 space parking garage. The new terminal will handle international flights to and from the airport, while at the moment, the majority of international flights are handled at Terminal 2, a building with eight gates. Terminal 1 is the main airport terminal, handling the majority of flights and airline companies, and it comprises of four concourses. All terminals are well equipped with facilities, even featuring over a thousand slot-machines and more than 200 gambling machines, for those who just can’t wait to get to the casinos. Although there is no Las Vegas Airport train station, passengers of the airport can reach the city by a wide variety of bus services, travel further on buses offering long-distance connections or simply take a taxi or limousine to their next destination. Buses and taxis provide transport to the airport as well.
For some time there have been plans to extend the city’s monorail system to the McCarran International Airport, instead of towards downtown Las Vegas. The extension will be made from the MGM Grand Station to a station on the airport grounds. The airport station will most likely be built at the new Terminal 3, and will have a stop at Terminal 1 before continuing north of Swenson Street and west on Tropicana Avenue. It will then turn to the north at Koval Lane and meet up with the current monorail system behind the MGM Grand Station, which is found at 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard S. Access to the station is possible through the Studio Walk shopping area or the Star Lane Shops, and from the MGM Grand, a large hotel with over five thousand guest rooms, a gaming complex, a $100 million conference centre and many other facilities. Additional hotels that are nearby the MGM Grand Monorail Station include the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the Signature at MGM Grand, Luxor Hotel and Casino, Excalibur Hotel and Casino, Tropicana Resort and Casino, Hooters Casino Hotel, the Desert Rose Resort, the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino, Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas and Marriott’s Grand Chateau.
The monorail route to Las Vegas Airport will add four miles to the existing system, which will actually double the length of the entire railway currently in operation. The route is proposed to be built with private funds, but as of yet there is no indication of when construction will begin. The funding sources are still in doubt. The idea of a monorail to Las Vegas Airport is also not supported by all. While several hotel and casino owners have given their ‘go-ahead’ for the project, taxi and limousine operators are not in favour, as it may severely harm their business. A large portion of their business and profitability come from passengers travelling from Las Vegas Airport to locations in the city. Only time will tell if Las Vegas International Airport will have its own railway (monorail) connection.
In the meantime, however, Las Vegas visitors can use the existing monorail system to conveniently travel the Strip, the main artery of the city, and where many of the most famous of casinos and hotels are located. It begins at the MGM Grand Station at the southern end of the Strip, and then runs parallel to the Strip along the eastern side. The monorail ends at the Sahara Hotel at the north end of the Strip, travelling for approximately 3.9 miles, or 6.3km. The ride from one end to the other is about fifteen minutes. The stations en-route include the Bally’s & Paris Las Vegas Station, the Flamingo/Caesars Palace Station, the Harrah’s/Imperial Palace Station, the Las Vegas Convention Centre Station and the LVH Station. A single ride ticket will cost $5.00, a one-day pass will cost $12.00 and a three-day pass will cost $28.00. Children under the age of five who can be carried through the fare-gate (and who are travelling with a fare-paying adult) may ride for free. Further details of the monorail system in Las Vegas can be found at http://www.lvmonorail.com.
Although the city of Las Vegas has an efficient monorail system that is beneficial to many, it has no connection to the Amtrak railway network of the country. There used to be a train station at 100 South Main Street that was served by the Amtrak Dessert Wind trains, connecting Las Vegas to Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, however, this train service was discontinued in 1997. The station facilities can still be found, but no trains operate at present time. A new train connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Chicago has been discussed for a long time, but is still yet to happen.
Although train services in Las Vegas are limited, Las Vegas Airport passengers can perhaps hope for a monorail connection in the near future. In the meanwhile, airport buses and taxis provide adequate ground transportation.