First Florida, now Texas

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jis

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From The Texas Tribune

Private Firm Planning Bullet Train in Texas by 2020

IRVING - The leaders of Texas Central High-Speed Railway sound very confident for a company expecting to succeed where scores of state planners, elected officials and private interests have failed.

The firm hopes to have bullet trains moving Texans at 205 miles per hour between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston by 2020.

The bit that has raised eyebrows: The company plans to do it without seeking public financing.
Read the whole article here.

Apparently the Central Japan Railway Company which runs a few Shinkansen Lines in Japan is involved in this.
 
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printman2000

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They are talking about no public money. If that can actually happen, then it would be quite a feat.

I just want the US to get a high speed train built SOMEWHERE. I feel like if people could see it working, then a lot more people would get on board building new lines.
 

Gratt

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The Florida project is FAR more credible than this Texas scheme. The FEC already owns and operates 90% of the track between Orlando and Miami. It is just a question of getting that last 10%, upgrading the current tracks (if needed), and buying the rolling stock (which does NOT have to be buy America.)

The Texas plan... does not even have a fully functioning website

much less even a freaking map of WHERE this line would go. Houston does not even have a station that could handle anything more than a daily Amtrak train.

Dallas is not much better. So we are talking about building major stations in the middle of expensive downtown's without any idea how we would get to them. Oh and if they think they are going to save money by having the stations in the burbs... well why not take SW if that is the case.

Until I see more serious plans from this company and their front man Robert Eckels I would ignore anything they have to say.
 

afigg

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The Florida project is FAR more credible than this Texas scheme. The FEC already owns and operates 90% of the track between Orlando and Miami. It is just a question of getting that last 10%, upgrading the current tracks (if needed), and buying the rolling stock (which does NOT have to be buy America.)

The Texas plan... does not even have a fully functioning website

much less even a freaking map of WHERE this line would go. Houston does not even have a station that could handle anything more than a daily Amtrak train.
Since the Texas plan would be true HSR using entirely or mostly new tracks between the cities, I would consider it more akin to the XpressWest proposal for Las Vegas to Victorville (and then Palmdale) than the Florida FEC. Texas has $15 million in HSIPR funds for PE / NEPA review for a Dallas / Fort Worth to Houston HSR service. The private backers may be planning to have TX DOT hurry up on the PE & EIS work and then use it to select the route and get the approvals.

I seriously doubt if this project would be entirely "privately" funded. They would likely need help from the state for eminent domain to acquire land from hold-out property owners. This would be a big expensive infrastructure project which will take large amounts of bond financing. They would need either state of Texas, municipal, or federal backed bonds to keep the interest rates affordable. If XpressWest gets around $5 billion in a RRIF loan, these guys could put in for a couple of billion in RRIF loans themselves once the project has a completed EIS and detailed plan - if the RRIF program is still available by then.

Still, will be interesting to see if this group is real or not and if the plan moves forward.
 

Anderson

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I can believe that this could end up entirely privately funded, if just because JR Central has a lot of free cash flow to work with and might be able to leverage that with or without an RRIF loan. With that said, while I am hopeful, I am also skeptical until the project at least reaches a more advanced phase.
 

Anderson

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On a per mile basis this should be one of the cheapest high speed rail lines to build anywhere. Look at the terrain.
Well, and the fact that there may be a pre-existing RoW to work with for a fair portion of the route in the form of the BRI line. Really, it's close to an ideal "starter" HSR line.

As to stations, I think it is assumed that we'd be seeing new stations in both cities. There should be at least one per city, though a "suburban" station and a "downtown" station setup is also quite possible considering the spread-out geography of both cities.

In theory, Dallas Union Station could do the job as a downtown station (though you would need some expansion on the platform front), but there's no good way to get a dedicated access line in there and a good chance that the catenary situation there would be a mess. Houston will need a new station, but Houston will need a new station for any sort of expansion in passenger service.
 

Texan Eagle

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Did anyone notice even the barely-there website mentions "DFW Metroplex to Houston in 90 minutes", not "Dallas to Houston". This ambiguous wording opens up several options- the station need not be in dense expensive Dallas downtown. They might as well put the HSR station on the other side of Trinity river or in one of the suburban cities, maybe even near the Cowboys stadium... basically, there are plenty of options to consider if the train is to connect DFW to Houston, and not proper Dallas.
 

cirdan

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The Florida project is FAR more credible than this Texas scheme. The FEC already owns and operates 90% of the track between Orlando and Miami. It is just a question of getting that last 10%, upgrading the current tracks (if needed), and buying the rolling stock (which does NOT have to be buy America.)

The Texas plan... does not even have a fully functioning website

much less even a freaking map of WHERE this line would go. Houston does not even have a station that could handle anything more than a daily Amtrak train.

Dallas is not much better. So we are talking about building major stations in the middle of expensive downtown's without any idea how we would get to them. Oh and if they think they are going to save money by having the stations in the burbs... well why not take SW if that is the case.

Until I see more serious plans from this company and their front man Robert Eckels I would ignore anything they have to say.
I agree that this project doesn't sound too credible right now and I'm not holding my breath to see this one move forward.

But i disagree with your comments about Dallas and Houston.

Dallas Union station is ideally located, it has a nice historic building (which admittedly has suffered through a tasteless and tacky renovation, but nothing that can't be put right).

The station could easily handle more trains in terms of the number of tracks there today. Should these ever be insufficient, there is still some unused land alongside where additional tracks can be added (I guess there must have been tracks there at one point)

I don't know about rail access to the station, but if that could be sorted out, it would be ideal.

Houston, admittedly would be a tougher nut to crack. But again, the present Amtrak station does have room to expand (lots of derelect land) and of course there are also other suitable sites, such as adjoining University UH Downtown.

If Houston is serious about starting some sort of commuter rial system, the station question would have to be looked into anyway.
 
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Texas is one of those "Good ole Boy" states, where things get done outside of public scrutiny. (In reality, I guess a lot of things get done this way)

Anyway, if Japan Railway Co., really wants to get this going, I think they need to buddy-up to SWA founder Herb Kelleher, and throw back a few cocktails, getting Kelleher to think that HSR in Texas is "his idea". Then between him and Colleen, they could push anything thru.

Imagine that, an airline investing in passenger rail, for profit?

What a great FEEDER network that could be for SWA, now that they are no longer limited by the Wright Amendment, and are close to utilizing a Single Operating Certificate for both airlines. Cross-rail transfers at Love Field, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. They'd see how efficient and money-making it was, and then expand the rail-to-air formula to other states.........JERRY! Wake up, you are dreaming again...........

(FROM WIKIPEDIA)

Lobbying Texas rail

Southwest has fought against the development of a high-speed rail system in Texas.

In 1991 a plan was made to connect the "Texas Triangle" (Houston - Dallas - San Antonio) with a privately financed high speed train system which would quickly take passengers from one city to the next. This was the same model Southwest Airlines used 20 years earlier to break in to the Texas market where it served the same three cities.

Southwest Airlines, with the help of lobbyists, created legal barriers to prohibit the consortium from moving forward and the entire project was eventually scuttled in 1994, when the State of Texas withdrew the franchise.[71]
 
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