• 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

  • 186 posts
  • 1
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 13
  by ziggyzack1234
 
Yes, it's Texas Central which requires a new station, not Amtrak. There isn't room at Union Station. To build a 4/6 track station above what currently exists would be extremely difficult and disruptive. I also don't think that the current station could handle all the traffic coming in and out, and we haven't even gotten to the parking situation yet. If the train ever expands to Ft. Worth, could we see an infill at Union Station? Maybe, but that's a discussion for later.

It would, however, be possible to build platforms for Amtrak and TRE at the new station. I think that is a much smarter, and cheaper, idea. Having Amtrak also stop here would only add 10 minutes to the schedule, and extending TRE would increase connectivity. The through-ticketing agreement would work well on this end of the line if both trains stopped here.
  by Jadebenn
 
The vibe I got from the video of the Dallas City Council meeting was that they're not quite sure what to do with Union Station now. In my opinion, the two stations are too close to justify both being major transportation hubs, but they're too far to split services.

On one hand I think the Council (rightfully) sees concentrating transportation options as paramount to ensuring the success of them. On the other hand, they're hesitant to de-emphasize Union Station after all the investment the city's put into it. Thankfully they seem pretty onboard with the idea of conducting a study to figure out the best approach, and I don't think they'll get cold feet if said study recommends shifting most operations to a new transit hub and downsizing their presence at Union Station.

Amtrak's a bit of a wildcard here. If they don't want to move, they won't. Even providing a nice new facility for them doesn't guarantee they'll go along with your plan, as Miami found out the hard way. I personally don't think Amtrak will be willing to maintain two stops in Dallas. They'll most likely stay at Union Station.

I think TRE and DART will end up getting new stops at the transit hub if it's built. DART will almost certainly retain its existing stops at Union Station, and while TRE's a bit of a tossup, I think it'll retain its stop as well.
  by ziggyzack1234
 
Jadebenn wrote:
Amtrak's a bit of a wildcard here. If they don't want to move, they won't. Even providing a nice new facility for them doesn't guarantee they'll go along with your plan, as Miami found out the hard way. I personally don't think Amtrak will be willing to maintain two stops in Dallas. They'll most likely stay at Union Station.
I don't think its fair to bring Miami up as a reason. The new Miami Station wasn't built properly. Every time an Amtrak train would be parked there it would block the street north of the station. On old commuter railroads like the MBTA or Metro-North where you are stopped for t<30 seconds it's acceptable to block a crossing (heck, Hastings Station on the MBTA is a crossing), but Amtrak trains parked at a terminal just isn't acceptable.

Move to the new station, operate at both is a decision only Amtrak can make. What I think would happen is the bullet train runs for a bit and Amtrak does some math to decide if it's worth it or not.

I agree with pretty much everything else you said in your comment.
  by Backshophoss
 
There's very little room to expand Dallas Union,shared with TRE(Main line and Denton Branch),Amtrak,UP Freights,and Dallas light rail.
wedged between I-35E/Mixmaster interchange and Downtown Dallas. Believe the Trinity River Greenway is off limits to build on to boot.
Might be better to build to TRE's Centerpoint station to connect to TRE and Amtrak there. :wink:
  by electricron
 
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.
  by frequentflyer
 
Dallas could always turn Union into some trendy offices for lease or apartments. Personally, Dallas Union is kind of dreary and dark. Not a fun place to wait for two hours late Eagles.
  by Jadebenn
 
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?
  by Jadebenn
 
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?
  by ziggyzack1234
 
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.
  by electricron
 
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.
  by ziggyzack1234
 
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.
  by Jadebenn
 
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.
  by Jadebenn
 
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.
  • 1
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 13