Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Jadebenn
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Jadebenn » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:46 am

electricron wrote: Texas Central HSR will most likely not be FRA complaint, and will not be able to share tracks with other FRA compliant trains, both freight and passenger. If an expansion to Fort Worth follows the TRE corridor, not the other possible I-30 corridor, it'll have to be elevated almost the entire way just to avoid at grade crossings. Major squeezing in problems will be reached in Irving where the TRE is already elevated. I guess they could go twice as high, deep, or wide - whatever the solution it isn't going to be cheap.
Unless FRA standards change radically between now and 2024 (or whatever year they open), they will definitely not be FRA compliant. Not even by the alternate crash standards.

Texas Central has petitioned the FRA for a Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA), which is basically a fancy way of saying they've asked the FRA to exempt their system from the normal standards. According to TCR, the FRA either can't or won't issue an RPA until the EIS is completed.

Texas Central has been very careful to keep their system separate from other railroads due to this, as receiving a RPA is the only way they can run Shinkansen stock on their line. They seem pretty bullish that the FRA will grant them an RPA, but I supppose it'd be hard to argue against doing so comparing the Shinkansen's safety record to ours.

As a fun little aside, if Texas Central is successful, we might see a similar situation to CAHSR: the exceptions become the rules. Perhaps a decade or two down the line the FRA's HSR standards will be equivalent to those of Japan or Europe. A man can dream, right?

ziggyzack1234
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by ziggyzack1234 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:37 pm

I think the implementation of PTC will help change the rules.

Jadebenn
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Jadebenn » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:51 pm

It does seem like we're moving in that direction. The emphasis is shifting from armoring trains to withstand crashes to preventing crashes from happening in the first place. The safety standards are becoming more proactive and less reactive.

Now I'm curious: would whatever train control system the Shinkansen uses qualify as an implementation of PTC? Would Texas Central Railway need to certify it as such?

ziggyzack1234
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by ziggyzack1234 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:51 pm

It definitely falls into the same category (the Shinkansen ATC system), doing everything PTC does and more. I'd go as far as to call it an advanced PTC system with additional features. There is no chance the FRA won't certify it, seeing how it has a 100% clean record. However, the real story here is if inter-operability can be achieved.

electricron
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by electricron » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:10 am

ziggyzack1234 wrote: However, the real story here is if interoperability can be achieved.
Why? Texas Central isn't planning on sharing it's tracks with anyone.

For years, informative pundits have expressed the need for dedicated tracks for HSR trains to achieve maximum effectiveness, yet others pundits have express the desire to share HSR tracks with everyone else. We can't and shouldn't have it both ways.

Texas Central doesn't want to fly down the tracks at 150 - 160 mph Amtrak is happy with for a dozen miles at a time, they want to go 200 mph almost the entire way, over a hundred miles between Dallas and Houston. The faster the HSR train goes, the less safety it is for slower trains sharing the same tracks.

ziggyzack1234
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by ziggyzack1234 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:38 am

I'm speaking hypothetically of course, just comparing two systems. Interoperability of PTC systems is a big issue in its implementation, so I thought I'd bring it up. Nowhere did I (intentionally) suggest that it actually be tried in real life, I was just wondering if the two systems could get along given their differences in operational processes.

Jadebenn
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Jadebenn » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:30 am

Well, as you already know, PTC is less of a system itself and more of a list of principles a system must legally follow to be considered a PTC implementation. Considering the many, many, many different ways these principles can be achieved, the FRA does not mandate complete interoperability of PTC systems. Instead, PTC interoperability is only mandated by the FRA where two railroads share the same tracks. TCR is planning complete seperation of their tracks from all other railroads, so they don't need to worry about the interoperability requirement at all.

In a hypothetical world (or perhaps in the future) where TCR wishes to accommodate an operator using a different PTC standard on their tracks, there are three practical approaches to interoperability:
  • Both railroad agree on and switch to the same PTC standard (not very practical due to costs)
  • One railroad installs a compatible PTC "overlay" that provides an interface the other railroad's system can understand
  • The tried in true "in-cab switch" method where equipment capable of interfacing with both PTC systems is installed in any locomotive/trainset that may run on foreign territory.
As for the third option, I'm not actually certain whether the FRA looks kindly upon that practice. I know it's the solution Tri-Rail (which will use I-ETMS) will be using to run on the FEC Railway (which will use E-ATC), but it might only be an option for newly drawn-up track access agreements, as I've seen option two used pretty much everywhere else where a PTC conflict exists.

I unfortunately cannot find much English documentation of the Shinkansen ATC system, so I can't speculate much further than that.

Jadebenn
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Jadebenn » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:14 pm

WFAA of Dallas (aka Channel 8) is teasing an upcoming report (10 pm tonight CST) on the Bullet Train on their Facebook page. From what they've shown so far, it looks pretty well-done.

They actually sent a reporter to Japan to check things out. One of the videos they posted is a shot of him in the cab of an N700 with a train driver as he explains the system, heavily implying that JR Central's had a hand in the report. Hopefully their presumed involvement will keep things accurate, and dare I hope maybe even reveal a few new facts.

I'll give y'all an update if I can manage to catch it tonight. I might be out of luck of they don't upload it to their site, depending how things work out.

John_Perkowski
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by John_Perkowski » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:20 pm

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Jadebenn
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Jadebenn » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:20 pm

Ah, that's the piece I was talking about! I totally forgot to link it here like I said I would, though... :(

Here's the full article with some more coverage if any of you are interested. I highly recommend giving it a read, and wouldn't hesitate to say it's the best local coverage of the project so far. Probably some of the best coverage of it period. I think that's mainly because the news crew they sent to Japan got hands-on-experience with the technology, meaning that the lack of experience that leads to so much of the bad coverage on trains in American news wasn't a problem here. They even cover the land-use and development angle, which almost no-one talks about in the US!

While the report mostly summarizes already-known facts, it also officially confirms something I've heard rumors and speculation about for a while now: JR Central intends for the Texas export models to be eight-car trains based off the N700S design.

Personally, I think if Texas Central can achieve even a fraction of the reliability and service the Shinkansen is known for in Japan, it will be a game-changer for the state. Most of our officials are skeptical of passenger rail currently (to put it kindly), but attitudes have been changing. After all, it wasn't that long ago that the state was outright hostile to passenger rail. If anything can bring them around fully, it's this project.

electricron
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by electricron » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:38 am

Recent interview on KERA (Channel 13 PBS in Dallas) with Texas Central CEO.
http://www.kera.org/2018/12/03/carlos-a ... -138639029" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The three points I found interesting:
1) Looking at 5 to 6 years before service commences.
2) 82 minutes between Dallas and Houston.
3) Fastest average train speed in the world due to just three stations at 179 mph average speed.

frequentflyer
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by frequentflyer » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:16 pm

82 MINUTES! Watch SWA's DAL-HOU shuttle go from 19 flights a day to 5.

Arlington
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Arlington » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:01 pm

This will radically free up gate space at the DAL, DFW, HOU, & IAH airports "for free" (to air travelers), which will be particularly noticed at gate-constrained DAL (Love Field).

Gatewise, Southwest's 19 daily round trips from DAL to HOU represent about 10% of all gate capacity at Dallas Love (which is legally limited to 20 gates) A flight every :30 for much of the day, and 630k local passengers per year. (Southwest operates about 10 flights per gate per day)

Suffice it to say that proven demand is HUGE (when you include another ~25 r/t per day on AA (DFW-IAH/HOU) and UA (DFW-IAH)). Well-located train stations that are easy to get to and get through are going to slash the air business and capture a big chunk of the driving business (that air hasn't been able to serve), just like the Chunnel practically zeroed out LON-PAR.

And then there's a huge boon for D/FW and Houston people who will benefit when all those planes and gates (particularly at DAL) get re-deployed in other markets.

If WN drops to 5x per day at DAL, that frees up space for 14 new round trips to places like Denver, Chicago, and Atlanta.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

Jadebenn
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by Jadebenn » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:07 pm

No wonder Southwest's stayed out of the way of this project in contrast to their role in killing the Texas TGV in the 80s: with the Wright Amendment gone, the Texas Triangle routes are more of an obligation than a profit center to them nowdays.

eolesen
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Post by eolesen » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:59 am

Hmmmm...... I don't think I'd go as far as to say the Triangle is an obligation. WN is still a for-profit company, and they've always been that way.

They do keep a large presence in order to support their contracts with state/federal government travel, as well as corporate travel.

It's possible some of that state traffic could fall off with HSR, but for corporate travel, I don't know if there's enough incentive to divert traffic away from a 30 minute flight to a 90 minute train ride.

Some might complain about TSA waits, but that's only for the infrequent travelers. Any smart business traveler will have TSA PreCheck. I fly out of Houston on a regular basis (2-3 times a month), and my line waits rarely exceed more than 5 minutes from the time I enter the queue to exiting the screening area.

My guess is that there would still be an hourly service pattern on DAL-HOU if for no other reason to help feed the international flights out of HOU.

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