• 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 Paul1705
Regarding the The FRA's Alternatives Alignment Report (November 6, 2015) and the elimination of the two downtown Houston alignments from consideration: Here's an article about the issue.

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/11/ ... ck/416733/

See specifically pages 18 and 22 of the FRA report (I opened the PDF directly from the site). Here's the link again.


Apparently the last few miles are deemed too expensive and environmentally difficult, although some deeper level of analysis isn't published in the report. I'm not familiar with Houston. Can anyone describe why the north side of downtown would be difficult for a high-speed alignment?
  by electricron
The two routes into downtown Houston followed UP rail corridors, which have at grade intersections, and freight customers on either side of the corridor. To follow that corridor, Texas Central would have to build an elevate rail line adjacent to the existing UP tracks, but not in the UP right-of-way. Which would mean displacing industries and/or homes all the way from I-610 to downtown Houston. Both add additional expenses at a very high rate. Additionally, they would have to find a suitable location to place a station downtown, and apparently no one wanted to partner with Texas Central to do so. That adds even more additional expenses.

Compare that with the rail corridor they will use to reach downtown Dallas. The existing corridor is grade separated from local city streets, one side of the existing rail corridor that will be used has no structures, therefore no homes or industries to displace, and they found a developer in downtown Dallas willing to co-exist with a train station. They will still have to buy land adjacent to the existing rail corridor, but the land is vacant today. ;)

It's not just one factor that makes entering downtown Houston relatively difficult and expensive as compared to entering downtown Dallas, it's many factors.
  by kaitoku
DALLAS – Developers of Texas’ high-speed train have asked the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to confirm it has oversight of the project, bringing it in line with the nation’s other major passenger and freight railroads.

Texas Central recently filed a formal petition to the STB, asking that the agency affirm its jurisdiction over the project and to weigh in on critical next steps that will include construction and operation of the passenger link between North Texas and Houston, with a midway stop in the Brazos Valley.

Texas Central is required to seek STB certification of the project, thus complying with the federal regulatory process that all newly constructed rail lines must follow.
http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/cypressc ... l?mode=jqm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Houston officials still hopeful for downtown station:
A planned high-speed rail line remains a popular project with city officials, many of whom are holding onto hope for an eventual downtown terminal.
"We are looking at the best interests of the city," said District K Councilman Larry Green, noting the city is seeking an engineering firm to study a downtown rail link.
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas ... 424429.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by kaitoku
Central Japan Railway Co. will establish a fully owned subsidiary in Dallas to support the proposed high-speed rail project from Dallas to Houston, the company announced Wednesday.

The firm will station about 20 technical and operations experts in Dallas to work with Texas Central Partners, a Texas company backed by private investors that will build and manage the $10 billion to $12 billion undertaking.
http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/ ... y-for.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by kaitoku
Just wanted to add this bit of info, which relates to the market which Texas Central Railway will serve:
On Thursday, the Census Bureau released its list of the most rapidly growing cities in America from 2014 to 2015 — and Texas cities dominated the list. Of the 11 fastest-growing cities in America with populations of at least 50,000, five were in the Lone Star State. (Incidentally, five of the eight cities that added the most people in sheer numbers were also in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin.)
It’s not just that people are moving from one Texas city to another; rather, they’re moving from other states to Texas. Last year, nearly half a million people moved to Texas, according to Census Bureau data released in March. What’s more, the four largest metro areas in the state — Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio — “together added more people last year than any state in the country except for Texas as a whole,” the Census Bureau notes.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-11 ... 2016-05-19" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Rockingham Racer
This is one more reason that--while not HerSPR, the proposed commuter rail between Georgetown and San Antonio needs to move forward, and quickly.
  by Jeff Smith
Breaking Ground: The Observer (Your Houston News)

I find the breaking ground headline to be inaccurate; it's click-bait if you ask me. There's one little sentence buried in the article at the very end, with no specifics. However, I still like the idea of the project.
Bullet train connecting Houston to Dallas to break ground
Texas Central held a railroad update Tuesday, June 7, at the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce. The bullet train will be the first high-speed rail the country has ever seen. Travel time on the train will be 90 minutes between Houston and Dallas with one stop in between in the Brazos Valley area. The high-speed rail will be beneficial to the nearly 50,000 Texans who travel back and forth between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth more than once a week.
The first full year of operations is projected to be in 2022. Texas Central does not want to speculate on ticket prices but will be offering competitive priced tickets.

Texas Central will be considering factors with pricing tickets dependent upon booking in advance, last minute, peak time, and off peak time. The Brazos area stop will be in between College Station and Huntsville. There might be possible student pricing for the 80,000 students that are in the Brazos Valley area which includes serving students attending Texas A&M, Blinn, and Sam Houston.
Texas Central’s goal is to break ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail at the end of next year.
  by lpetrich
Quoting from the previous post, "Texas Central’s goal is to break ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail at the end of next year." -- so they are claiming that they will beat California's project?
  by SemperFidelis
"Breaking ground" can mean a lot of different things.

When a company or a Governor or President or Senator wants to show "progress" on something they set a date to "break ground".
  by deathtopumpkins
It'd be hard for them to beat CAHSR at "breaking ground", considering ground was broken some time ago for CAHSR.
  by Arlington
The quote is clear: "Texas Central’s goal is to break ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail at the end of next year"
- no claim to be breaking ground first
- the claim centers implicitly on "being" high-speed rail
- and in order to exclude the NEC from 0being first there's an implicit HSR == 189mph+

I think it quite possible that Texas Central will be the first to open an operating segment at ~200mph.

California chose to start with a disconnected segment cutting through dense city centers on a path of optimal service but maximal resistance meaning they not only have a whole lot of viaduct (and trench?) work, they also have a whole lot of additional work to connect it before they start operating.

Texas Central only serves 2 city centers (and even then, on a path of least resistance) and other than that will be mostly grade-ballast-track on flat land, and can probably start with suburb-to-suburb service very quickly.
  by deathtopumpkins
So basically you're assuming that statement is assuming that "first" is referring to "first to operate trains" rather than "first to break ground". Not at all clear from that quote, and not even assuredly going to be true.

Also, you're assuming that Texas Central defines HSR as >189 mph to exclude the Acela. However, most definitions of HSR would include the Acela.

The Aclea meets all three definitions of HSR found on the Wiki page, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The statement is factually incorrect.
  by Arlington
^ So if Acela is in this "firsts" contest set, why did you yourself reflexively cite CAHSR's groundbreaking, not PennCentral's? Seems like just two posts ago, you were working on the same definition of HSR being TGV1-or-greater as I was and Texas Central likely is.
  by deathtopumpkins
Because I was responding to this post:
lpetrich wrote:Quoting from the previous post, "Texas Central’s goal is to break ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail at the end of next year." -- so they are claiming that they will beat California's project?
lpetrich asked if they're claiming that they will beat CAHSR, so I posted saying that they would have a hard time doing so.

I only mentioned the Acela and definitions of "high speed rail" in response to your claim that I didn't understand the quote.
  by Arlington
In the article, they say, "The first full year of operations is projected to be in 2022. Texas Central does not want to speculate on ticket prices but will be offering competitive priced tickets."

That's still consistent with possibly operating for the later part of 2021, which Texas Central has also claimed.

Texas Central's site at http://www.texascentral.com/facts/ says, variously
Under "About the Train/When can I get a Ticket?" they say "We expect the service to begin as early as 2022. Once completed, you will be able to purchase a ticket online, similar to purchasing an airline ticket."

And under Timeline, they say:
"We expect to begin construction as early as 2017, with passenger service to begin as early as 2021."

Meanwhile in California, according to Wikipedia:
Construction on the initial section from Merced to Bakersfield began in 2015 and is expected to end in 2019, after which Amtrak's San Joaquin is proposed to first use the HSR tracks for faster conventional rail service until HSR trains use the line to its full potential.[citation needed]
The initial plans were to build an Initial Operating Segment (IOS) from Merced in the Central Valley to Burbank in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in Southern California. However, in 2016 the Authority switched to a northern IOS from San Jose in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley across to the Central Valley then north to Madera and Merced, and south to near Bakersfield at the southern end of the Central Valley. Based on a more recent analysis of the funding available and time necessary to bring an IOS online per the legal requirements, it is expected that sufficient funding will be available to bring this online by 2025.[5] The Phase 1 system could be completed by 2029, provided that additional funds are obtained.[6] The plan was slightly revised after the public comment period.[7] This revised plan was adopted on April 28, 2016.[8] Contracts have been awarded for the segment from Madera to Wasco, and construction is underway on several bridges.[9]
Acela II trainsets are projected to arrive in the same 2021/2022 timeframe as Texas Central, but will be sub-TGV speeds.

So, Texas Central's plan is break ground after California, and still be the first TGV+ class HSR system operating in the United States.
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