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

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

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  by kaitoku
 
Some news from Texas, somewhat overshadowed by California and Florida in the HSR plans department, but apparently seen by JR Central as an attractive market for their expertise and N700i trainsets. The chairman of JR Central Railway, outspoken (and conservative) Mr. Yoshiyuki Kasai, presented his firm's proposal for a Houston-Dallas HSR link to Houston business leaders, and which is intended to be built with largely private funds:

http://culturemap.com/newsdetail/09-23-" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... rain-plan/

article with powerpoint of the actual presentation:
http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... o-dall.php

This is an interesting move by JR Central, who first focused on Florida, but appear to be moving into a market that has so far seen little interest from other HSR makers- no doubt a result of Texas' lukewarm attitude so far to HSR. But JR Central seems to be making a smart move by appealing to business interests and private funding in the current "teapartyesque" political climate. Also, there was a recent announcement that rolling stock maker Nippon Sharyo, which is a subsidiary of JR Central, will build a factory in Rochelle Illinois, ostensibly to fullfill an order for 160 double deck EMUs for Chicago's Metra, but possibly also for any future orders of their N700i high speed trainset.

Anyway, will be interesting to see where this goes...
  by kaitoku
 
With all the focus on California HSR and failures in Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, the Texas HSR proposal has been moving along, albeit slowly:
http://impactnews.com/grapevine-colleyv ... le-by-2020

http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfai ... 157909.php

Of course you get the usual idiots with their pavlovian knee-jerkism (HSR+Obama= "boondoggle"). This clown doesn't even know the Texas HSR project will largely be privately funded:
http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/blogs/pr ... 03286.html
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
The one thing you can say about Don'tMessWithTexasLand is that big biz and lining pockets of big biz with gov't money trumps fire-breathing ideology every single time. So if private fatcats have their greasy paws all over it, it'll get play from the same usual suspects who would otherwise scream bloody murder about rail "socialism". Whereas other states it would be total D.O.A. with the ideologues. Texas has its own uniquely warped pragmatism underneath about such things that's fairly predictable amid all the strutting and bluster.

Slowly being operative word. But this one has better chance of lurching forward than every other proposal save for California, NEC improvements, and laying groundwork for the Chicago hub.
  by CREEPING DEATH
 
It's DOA, I'm old enough to remember the Texas Triangle a/k/a Texas TGV - this isn't going to happen!

CD
  by jstolberg
 
CREEPING DEATH wrote:It's DOA, I'm old enough to remember the Texas Triangle a/k/a Texas TGV - this isn't going to happen!

CD
The population of Texas is up 50% since the Texas TGV proposal. If the population of Texas rises another 50% it could get a heartbeat.
  by electricron
 
jstolberg wrote:
CREEPING DEATH wrote:It's DOA, I'm old enough to remember the Texas Triangle a/k/a Texas TGV - this isn't going to happen!

CD
The population of Texas is up 50% since the Texas TGV proposal. If the population of Texas rises another 50% it could get a heartbeat.
I'll agree it is not a question of whether inter-city rail between Dallas and Houston will exists, it's a question of what type of service it will be and when it'll get built.
It'll certainly help if they used an existing rail corridor, or build HSR as adjacent as possible to an existing corridor. It's not so much rural Texans dislike the train as much as they dislike having their property separated into different tracts.
I remember controversy over where a new bypass of Granbury was routed. Everyone was in favor of a new bypass, they just differed on exactly where to put it. TXDOT wanted to follow existing tract borders, the County Judge wanted it 600 feet within his tract so he could develop land on both sides of the new highway. Local politics in Texas can get nasty very quickly. Eminent domain has been, is, and will always be done at the local level in Texas. Citizens in rural counties that a new HSR line must run through will not just let TGV or another agency run roughshod over them.
  by Paulus Magnus
 
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/05/02/10-b ... peed-rail/
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Imagine heading from North Texas to Houston on a train doing more than 200 miles an hour. The concept of making the trip, on the ground, in 90 minutes, could soon be a reality.

Robert Eckels is the head of Texas Central Railway and says the trip could be possible in less than a decade.

Texas Central Railway is raising private investments to try and fund a $10 billion high-speed rail system connecting the metroplex with Houston and San Antonio.

“We are not looking for a government subsidy on this project,” explained Eckels, “that’s one of the key elements to make this project work and is distinguished from others is that we would be a privately operated system.”
...
If and when the high-speed train comes to fruition officials with Texas Central Railway say ticket prices would be about 70-percent of an airline ticket from North Texas to the Houston area.

If a group of investors commit to the high-speed rail the operation could be up and running by 2020.
I'm not a believer on this one, never heard of this group or found any record online of them, nor do I think they'll actually get that much money raised privately, but who knows?
  by morris&essex4ever
 
Didn't Desert Express try to do this too, build and operate a HSR line with private money only? Maybe this corridor can be built without government assistance, but I'm not too sure it can.
  by electricron
 
morris&essex4ever wrote:Didn't Desert Express try to do this too, build and operate a HSR line with private money only? Maybe this corridor can be built without government assistance, but I'm not too sure it can.
I don't think they'll be able to find private financing either. Maybe they're looking at, just like DesertXpress, to qualifying for some Federal backed loans.

As long as the Feds have a low interest rate infrastructure loans available, all sorts of private enterprise are going to want to get them. Which is one way to encourage private companies to build and operate transportation projects, but not finance them. What happens when the private companies shut down, who ends up paying the liens? :) We do!
  by kaitoku
 
Paulus, I believe Texas Central Railway is a entity associated with Lone Star High Speed Rail, a venture backed by Central Japan Railway Company. Robert Eckels is one of the principals of LSHSR:
http://lshsr.com/LSHSR/Eckels.html

Looking at the other members of LSSHR, alot of foreign policy heavyweights and DoD connections, ex-Bush Administration. Don't know if this has any bearing on the possible success of this venture, but it can't hurt regarding back-room deals and connections, Texas-style.

Railroad.net even had a news article about LSSHR last autumn, and this part is especially interesting:
Being developed by a private company, residents can enjoy the fact that their tax money will not be the primary source of funding. Lone Star High-Speed Rail has actually kept the project under wraps as much as possible, in hopes that the state would not take the project over.
http://www.railroad.net/high-speed-rail ... 0-209.html
  by Jeff Smith
 
More news: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/09 ... llion.html
But rail advocates say a proposal to build a high-speed line connecting Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston may happen a lot sooner than many residents think -- possibly by 2020.

A group led by Central Japan Railway Co. that includes notable Texans such as former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels is seeking roughly $10 billion in private investment. Officials with that group, who plan to brief the Regional Transportation Council today in Arlington, say they will not ask for federal or state funding.

During the International Transport Forum last week in Leipzig, Germany, company Chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai offered guests an overview of how the privatized service in Japan aims to make travel seamless and painless for customers.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/09 ... rylink=cpy
  by kaitoku
 
Nothing new, but this part has interest, from a Houston perspective:
Houston’s Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee has rallied for support for high-speed rail and sought $15 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund a route between Houston and Dallas. Last month, Jackson Lee announced Japanese and South Korean officials were interested in teaming up on a potential project. There are still skeptics, of course.

Jackson Lee has pledged to push for federal funding for high-speed rail in 2013.
http://blog.chron.com/newswatch/2012/05 ... let-train/

If I were Texas Central Rlwy, I would be wary of Ms. Jackson and her drive for federal funding. If you can get it done with private funding, do it- federal involvement comes with too many strings attached and risk of being kicked around politically (remember Florida HSR?)
  by Jeff Smith
 
A blog point-of-view on TX HSR issues.

http://keephoustonhouston.wordpress.com ... texas-hsr/

-Use the SP site / Barbara Jordan PO site for the terminal.

-290 is the exit route

-Get out of San Antonio on IH-10, but resist the siren song of 130

-Have a three-way with the Metroplex

-Avoid Downtown Austin

-Tying it all together

-And the technology?
I left out the details, but if you'd like to discuss these point by point...
  by electricron
 
You made some excellent points in tour blog, it's hard to disagree with someone with such good supportive explanations. The only point I really disagree with is the loop at DFW end. I believe building one terminal somewhere in Dallas should suffice, there's already TRE trains between both cities, and Dallas has a maturing light rail system connecting most suburbs. What's left is selecting the specific site for the HSR terminal. Almost every route possible from the south, either using highways or railways. must cross the relatively wide Trinity River floodplain, which could also be used for entry into the center of Dallas. So a HSR terminal near the floodplain is the obvious answer, not too far away from Union Station. I don't think there's sufficient room at Union Station for dedicated HSR tracks.

I would also prefer to follow the Japanese model for HSR trains, operationally more than just the train sets. The European HSR model isn't as self supporting as advertised, and I doubt the State Of Texas plans to ever own the corridors. The JR Group likes to incorporate huge commercial developments near or within their train terminals to generate additional revenues.More akin to skyscrapers surrounding Penn Station or Grand Central Station in NYC rather than Union Station in L.A. They'll want to do the same in Texas. Existing train stations may not be where they'll want to build the HSR terminals, they will probably want to place them in areas they can redevelop into relatively large TODs. Like the Galleria areas in both Dallas and Houston, a new large TOD along the rail corridor of choice before reaching downtown might be what they'll do. Hint: There's lots of empty parking near both Dallas and Houston convention centers ripe for redevelopment with train tracks nearby. Maybe that's 20-30 years in the far future, maybe the existing train stations will suffice for startup, but only initially. JR Group will eventually want space to grow.
  by kaitoku
 
Build the station where it will serve (and attract) the greatest number of paying customers- whether that's the existing station area or otherwise. Agree with electricron on the one station in Dallas, though an additional to the terminus "parkway" station near a freeway interchange and room for airport style services (car rental, motels/ low rise "courtyard hotels") would be good.
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