• Virgin Trains USA in Texas

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Virgin Rail USA formerly known as Brightline, and Virgin Worldwide Rail operations, past and present.
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Virgin Rail USA formerly known as Brightline, and Virgin Worldwide Rail operations, past and present.
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  by Rockingham Racer
 
I hope this happens, but UP has already objected to the use of their tracks between San Antonio and Austin. So, it's either build a new ROW, or give UP some ransom sum that they will surely demand.
  by Backshophoss
 
Amtrak's Eagle uses the same routing,UP's Austin sub.
This is UP's main North-South intermodal route out of/into Laredo Tx .
  by Jadebenn
 
It's clear they have an eye on the DAL-HOU corridor. Not surprising, considering that it's probably the biggest untapped market for intercity rail in the US. What I'm curious about is how Virgin Trains USA plans to deal with Texas Central Railway, who's already got their eyes on that corridor, some financial backing (the Japanese government has bankrolled the majority of the groundwork so far), and one heck of a head-start in planning and permitting.

Sure, the service TCR wants to run is going to require a lot more capital investment and environment review than what I imagine Virgin Trains USA is looking into, but TCR is reaching the end of the EIS process. They had their DEIS published in December 2017, and they expect the final EIS and decision to arrive later this year. I don't really see an opening for Virgin unless something goes catastrophically wrong.
  by eolesen
 
There's really no incentive for Union Pacific to want more Amtrak service. The rate formula isn't in UP's favor, and Amtrak can't really afford to pay more if wanted to for a new route.

If a private operator is willing to pay a premium above what Amtrak's operating agreement rates are, UP might actually listen. They can't technically operate their own service because of their buy-in on Amtrak, but I doubt there's anything that says they can't invest in a joint venture that isn't directly competing with Amtrak. DAL-HOU would fit that description.

UP already owns the tracks between downtown Dallas and downtown Houston, and Brightline's equipment is portable. They could start something up within months, and have a lot less to lose if it failed. It would be a 4 hour trip, which isn't shorter than driving, but because it would be downtown to downtown with links to existing light rail networks, the time disadvantage over driving might not be as much of a concern.

Another advantage of the UP's existing network... they could just as easily do Dallas-Austin and Dallas-Houston via Hearne, and the Hearne-Houston leg goes via College Station...

If they were to start up, it might kill investor interest in TCR, and without US investment, it's going to be a hard sell to the regulatory agencies.
  by benboston
 
Jadebenn wrote:It's clear they have an eye on the DAL-HOU corridor. Not surprising, considering that it's probably the biggest untapped market for intercity rail in the US. What I'm curious about is how Virgin Trains USA plans to deal with Texas Central Railway, who's already got their eyes on that corridor, some financial backing (the Japanese government has bankrolled the majority of the groundwork so far), and one heck of a head-start in planning and permitting.

Sure, the service TCR wants to run is going to require a lot more capital investment and environment review than what I imagine Virgin Trains USA is looking into, but TCR is reaching the end of the EIS process. They had their DEIS published in December 2017, and they expect the final EIS and decision to arrive later this year. I don't really see an opening for Virgin unless something goes catastrophically wrong.
Competition is good! This will drive both companies to provide better services than the other company. In the end, I think that this will make it so that this is a corridor that most travel occurs by way of rail.
  by electricron
 
Texas Central might prefer having Brightline - Virgin Trains as a partner vs as a competitor. They have been having problems establishing themselves as a railroad operator in Texas because they owned no tracks or trains yet, nor provide any train service anywhere in the USA. Brightine - Virgin Trains are providing a train service, maybe the legal loophole Texas Central could use to win eminent domain lawsuits quicker.
  by frequentflyer
 
"There’s no word yet on when these routes might take shape. At this point, they’re merely ideas, and ahead of the company going public, officials at Virgin Trains are staying mum."

Do not see Virgin going all in as TCR is. Maybe TCR would want Virgin's branding, so there may be a marketing tie up.

If Vigin wanted some low hanging fruit, it would be AUS-SAT. UP has some directional running from San Marcus to SAT but it should not be a problem. The single track into AUS would be a sticking point and not much room for more sidings in south Austin.

SAT-HOU would be too slow to be competitive with I-10.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
AUS-SAT was a hoped-for commuter rail initiative. UP came out against it, and that was the end of that.

https://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/co ... 225837.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by CRail on Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.