Texas Central Railway

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printman2000

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If the Texas Rail is to succeed, the connection points at city centers need to be convenient for incoming passengers to step across the track and get the local to just about anywhere. Dallas has this but as you can see in the pic below, Houston's Amtrak Station is in an industrial wasteland.

View attachment 17759
I could be wrong, but I do not think that they are planning to use the Amtrak station in Houston for HSR. It is planned to use an area in the 290/610 interchange.
 

20th Century Rider

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I could be wrong, but I do not think that they are planning to use the Amtrak station in Houston for HSR. It is planned to use an area in the 290/610 interchange.
It will be interesting to see what actually happens; with hopefully a cooperative effort between government agencies and the private sector. Deep back in my mind I am thinking progress inevitable, given the need for alternative high speed transportation, and a precedent which has been set by other developed countries.
 

saxman

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To drive more ridership, you’d need more people to want to be in Texas. Few are so crazy.
Well percentage wise, Texas is the second fastest growing state in the country so lots of crazy folk going there.

While endpoint connections are important, Texas Central plans to be more like an airline and capture the huge business market between DFW and Houston. They are not really planning on having huge connections from Amtrak's slow LD trains, even though Amtrak will do the ticketing for them. They are really planning on partnering with Lyft for last mile transportation. In Dallas, it'll be easier to hop on DART, but DART only goes so many places. Many will just opt for Uber/Lyft just like they do at many airports with poor transit connections. It's a shame, because Uber/Lyft has been proven to worsen traffic congestion and reduces transit use. While DFW has made great strides in light/commuter rail expansion, its coverage is still skeletal to the area at best. The Metroplex is 6 million people and covers an area larger than Connecticut and rail transit only covers a tiny portion of that.

Houston's terminus will be near 610/290 at the Galleria area. It's somewhat close to downtown. It'll have some bus connections, and there are some long term light rail plans, but again, most people will have to use a car to get the last few miles. Houston's Metro transit is pretty decent within the 610 loop as that is what they are concentrating on.
 

20th Century Rider

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Well percentage wise, Texas is the second fastest growing state in the country so lots of crazy folk going there.

While endpoint connections are important, Texas Central plans to be more like an airline and capture the huge business market between DFW and Houston. They are not really planning on having huge connections from Amtrak's slow LD trains, even though Amtrak will do the ticketing for them. They are really planning on partnering with Lyft for last mile transportation. In Dallas, it'll be easier to hop on DART, but DART only goes so many places. Many will just opt for Uber/Lyft just like they do at many airports with poor transit connections. It's a shame, because Uber/Lyft has been proven to worsen traffic congestion and reduces transit use. While DFW has made great strides in light/commuter rail expansion, its coverage is still skeletal to the area at best. The Metroplex is 6 million people and covers an area larger than Connecticut and rail transit only covers a tiny portion of that.

Houston's terminus will be near 610/290 at the Galleria area. It's somewhat close to downtown. It'll have some bus connections, and there are some long term light rail plans, but again, most people will have to use a car to get the last few miles. Houston's Metro transit is pretty decent within the 610 loop as that is what they are concentrating on.
Houston has a massive population... and although spread out, so are many other large cities such as LA. I can see Texas Central pairing with Uber and having local transit links at the station to make it work. Folks will be making a choice between driving on the interstate, taking the plane, or going by train. With so many traveling these city pairs any percentages will bring large numbers. If the train is fast, comfortable, and affordable, many will indeed recognize the advantage.;)
 

jadebenn

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Jun 23, 2018
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They are not really planning on having huge connections from Amtrak's slow LD trains, even though Amtrak will do the ticketing for them.
Yeah. I think their study (it's in the EIS) predicted something like 20,000 a year from the Amtrak LD trains. That's a drop in the bucket when they're predicting millions of riders overall.
 

cirdan

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Houston's terminus will be near 610/290 at the Galleria area. It's somewhat close to downtown. It'll have some bus connections, and there are some long term light rail plans, but again, most people will have to use a car to get the last few miles. Houston's Metro transit is pretty decent within the 610 loop as that is what they are concentrating on.
On past visits to Houston I have riden the bus from downtown to the Galleria and it's really quite OK. It's cheap and it's fast and the driver was friendly and told me where to get off. I wouldn't know what to criticize about it really.

But unfortuantely many people won't be seen dead in a bus so there is an acceptance barrier there.

It's a pity the plans to put a light rail line out that way were put on hold.
 

MARC Rider

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Woah woah Shaggy.
Well, obviously some creative thinking is needed. When Walt Disney went to central Florida to buy land for what became Walt Disney World, his agents buying the land were very careful to not let the buyers know that it was a deep-pockets developer buying land for a big development. This was done, of course, to keep land prices from increasing rapidly.

In the case of Texas, it seems easier. Just tell the local landowners that you're buying the land to build a highway. That should find wide acceptance among the land sellers. Then, once all the land has been acquired, get a whole bunch of environmental activists to start agitating against the evil highway (or make it an oil or gas pipeline if there's already a highway in the area). Then just change your mind and build a railway instead, now that you own the right of way free and clear.
 
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Well, obviously some creative thinking is needed. When Walt Disney went to central Florida to buy land for what became Walt Disney World, his agents buying the land were very careful to not let the buyers know that it was a deep-pockets developer buying land for a big development. This was done, of course, to keep land prices from increasing rapidly.

In the case of Texas, it seems easier. Just tell the local landowners that you're buying the land to build a highway. That should find wide acceptance among the land sellers. Then, once all the land has been acquired, get a whole bunch of environmental activists to start agitating against the evil highway (or make it an oil or gas pipeline if there's already a highway in the area). Then just change your mind and build a railway instead, now that you own the right of way free and clear.
Why not just find a way to build it in the I-45 right-of-way?
 

John Bredin

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Dec 18, 2007
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suburban Chicago (Deerfield)
What an exasperating farrago of BS thrown at this project! As the article notes, these rural landowners have had various corridors (highways, pipelines, electric transmission lines) plowed across their land by eminent domain, but this one is a step too far.

The opponents argue that this condemnation is not for public benefit, as required to have eminent domain power. However:

*the last I checked, the people who live in and around Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth and could take this train between those vast metropolitan areas are still part of the Texan public, much as these rural gripers believe otherwise,

*as the article points out, the HSR would relieve "crippling congestion on I-45" even for those who never ride the train,

*I wasn't aware oil and gas pipelines were publicly-owned for the public benefit. :rolleyes:

Meier, for one, said she worried her property value would be tanked by noise, vibrations from the train, maintenance crews coming on and off her land, an easement much larger and more intrusive than those used for pipelines, and other unknown variables that could arise from the unusual project.
As opposed to the tranquil quiet and utter lack of vibrations from a highway? Or the not-quite-unknown variable of leaking pipelines, when her precious land would be ruined?

Opponents of improved passenger rail have squawked at any public investment in it while not blinking at billions of tax dollars for highways and airports. So this project is intended to require no public funding, which should've resolve that objection if they were arguing in good faith. Nope. The very thing that's supposed to overcome that objection -- the key role of the Japanese, with decades of HSR experience -- is another strike against the project. :oops:

"There are those who think that because this project is being funded by foreign nationals, that doesn’t constitute the American public,” Ellis said.
Do they think the multinational oil & gas industry running pipelines across their land is 100% American?! Nope. Apparently Japanese government money in railways is bad, but sovereign wealth fund (foreign government) money in pipelines is just jim-dandy. 🤔 Not to mention this argument pulled from their, umm, ten-gallon hats:

“Texas Central’s last hope is an infusion of money from Japan and the enactment of the Green New Deal, providing a taxpayer bailout on the project before it ever even gets started,” the legislators’ letter read.
How the h*ll did the Green New Deal get dropped into this punch-bowl?! o_OIf Texas Central's plans and documents make any reference to the Green New Deal, much less relying on its passage, I'll eat my (definitely NOT ten-gallon) hat in barbecue sauce!
 

MisterUptempo

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Jul 1, 2014
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Chicago, IL
Texas Central signs $16 billion contract with Webuild to build Texas high-speed rail -KBTX

By Adrienne DeMoss
Updated: 2 hours ago
DALLAS, Texas (KBTX) - The developers of the high-speed train between Houston and Dallas, Texas Central Railroad, has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild, an industrial group that specializes in construction and civil engineering, to lead the civil construction team that will build the Texas passenger line.

The 200 mph train would connect two of the largest cities in Texas, with a stop in the Brazos Valley along the way. The project will create a super-economy, connecting people in the 4th and 5th largest U.S. markets looking for safe, reliable, green and productive travel options, according to a release from Texas Central.

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According to the contract, Webuild will execute all the heavy construction for the project, designing and building all 236 miles of the alignment. Nearly half of the high-speed rail will be on a viaduct, a type of bridge that consists of a series of arches, piers or columns that support an elevated railway.
Texas Central signs $16 billion contract with Webuild to build Texas high-speed rail
 

cirdan

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How nice of them to explain what a viaduct is .

Will they be describing the train as a caboose I wonder ?
 

George Harris

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We can hope and pray they do end up using the Japanese equipment. Two big plusses: Seats that turn, and equipment slightly wider than the AAR clearance plates so a platform can be built to meet ADA offsets from the car side and still pass an American standard freight car and engine. (The European equipment is too narrow for that.) Then there is the much longer experience with moving large volumes of people at high speeds. Oh, yeah, they may be moving at higher speeds in some places in Europe, but the speed in Japan is limited by geography and alignment, not ability of the equipment.
 

VentureForth

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Jan 23, 2007
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West Melbourne, FL
Absolutely. I fully expect them to use the N700 sets. Honestly, by the time they are ready, JR will have new equipment and may retrofit their "obsolete" N700 series for sale to Texas. I doubt we will have use for 16-car sets, though. It would be interesting to know exactly what sort of configuration they are considering. I think a 6-car set is what they've relegated older shinkansen sets for lesser routes to. That would probably be a starting point. Of course, no diners in any of the existing Japanese fleet. We'll probably require one because it's what we "need".

Since this is going to be an exclusive ROW, are the Federal crash & glazing requirements going to be in effect?
 

George Harris

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Wow! Why say something in 10 words when you can use 10 pages, or is it in this case more on the order of 100 pages? Let's just say that to my knowledge there have been two derailments of Shinkansen equipment, both due to earthquakes and in both cases everyone on the train quite literally walked away from the event. One was in Japan and involved the entire train. The other was in Taiwan and only the last car derailed.
 

neroden

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In other news, the Texas Supreme Court won't hear an appeal of a lower courts ruling that let Texas Central use survey and eminent domain. Ending this particular court battle.

Finally. This was a foregone conclusion because the law on this has been crystal clear for over 100 years, but wow, did the anti-rail NIMBY extremists throw a lot of time and money into causing delays. Glad to see that over with.
 

George Harris

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now in California
Some of the major advantages of the Shinkansen trainsets are:
1. Single level,
2. Can have ADA compliant platform to car floor spacing
3. The ADA compliant platform will still pass AAR standard freight equipment
4. High reliability -
5. Low vehicle weight per passenger
6. Long experience under high passenger loadings should have most of the "bugs" worked out.
My opinion is that this is one of the smartest decisions made on the whole system.
 

Anderson

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Nov 16, 2010
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Virginia
Ahh - deeply embedded in the 77 pages:



Still, they need to lose the JR livery. Come up with something original. This ain't the Tokaido Texkansen.
My guess is that there may be some tweaks needed (e.g. door width for US wheelchair standards). The "derivative" comment could also leave flexibility to adjust some elements of the seating plans (e.g. having a "full" Green car/Business Class car or moving said car to one end of the train), slip in a catering cart station, dispense with the smoking room, or otherwise adjust capacity. Ditching the smoking room is the most likely change, probably followed by a slight overall reduction in capacity and having a full Green/Business car at one end of the train rather than half a car in the middle.
 
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