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.

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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:51 am

Debate over the location of the Dallas station- local politicians want it at DFW airport, while the railway wants it in the suburbs:


DALLAS -- Mark Sullivan wonders who in the world would build a high-speed rail station in southeast Dallas.

"It's not the greatest neighborhood," said Sullivan, a salesman at an ATC Freightliner truck dealership near Interstate 20 and Bonnie View Road, not far from where Dallas bleeds into the smaller Lancaster, Hudgins and Wilmer. It's one of the few areas of Dallas that isn't built out, and though it sports a fair amount of natural greenery, it's not far from some of the city's roughest streets.

But unlikely as it may seem, this area has become a flashpoint in the Dallas-Fort Worth region's debate over where bullet trains traveling 220 mph or more ought to be allowed to pick up and drop off riders.

During two years of debate over where to build high-speed rail stations, leaders from across North Texas say, they have been led to believe that whatever plan was approved would involve construction of three -- one in downtown Dallas, one somewhere in the middle of the region (possibly Arlington or near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport) and one in downtown Fort Worth.

But officials at the Regional Transportation Council said during a recent meeting that a private team that includes Central Japan Railway -- a group that has offered to begin service from Dallas to Houston by 2020, with no public funds -- is not necessarily interested in connecting with the downtown districts. Instead, it wants to connect suburb to suburb, several officials briefed on the project say.

One option under study for high-speed rail service is a railroad track known as the Teague line, which is owned by Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Co. and runs roughly parallel to Interstate 45 through southeast Dallas on its way to the city's downtown. The Teague line is a few miles from the area of southeast Dallas where officials plan to build a championship golf course and possibly lure the annual Byron Nelson tournament.

By connecting areas outside the population centers, the private team operating as Texas Central High Speed Railway Llc., which is collaborating with Central Japan Railway on the technology it wants to use on the line, can control parking and station-related development. Those elements help make the venture profitable, so public dollars aren't needed, RTC members said.


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/06 ... rylink=cpy
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby electricron » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:07 pm

I think it is important to remind everyone is that Texas Central is looking at building the Dallas to Houston HSR line for just $10 Billion. They could spend that much just entering and exiting both downtown Dallas and Houston to the suburbs, and never compete one foot of track between the two metros.

The BNSF DFW subdivision enters Dallas via Waxahachie and ends at Teague, the BNSF Houston subdvision starts at Teague enters Houston thru Tomball. The BNSF owned corridors don't proceed through either downtown, although BNSF has trackage rights through both downtowns on other railroad owned tracks.

I believe there's a good chance Texas Central wouldn't extend tracks into either city's downtown districts with their own money. They'll leave the final few miles up to both city's transit agencies. I know both COGs (regional planning organizations) have looked at building commuter rail lines to Waxahachie and Tomball in the past - and are certainly future possibilities. Possibilities that might be enhanced with HSR tracks part of the way, and HSR stations along the corridors in place.
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:12 am

Some speculation on the location of the Texas Central HSR line in the center portion of its route, and a possible connection with Bryan-College Station:

There has also been discussion about adding a connection to the Bryan-College Station area. With the cities’ growing population and Texas A&M University in tow, Kelly said that’s an excellent example of the type of connection they would love to make happen. He also said the possibility of stops along the Houston-Dallas route wasn’t out of the question. However, it’s going to be a numbers game in figuring out if the company can afford an exit to B-CS.

“We’re still in the process of determining whether or not the numbers are going to work from our perspective,” said Kelly, “to accomplish that connection with our financial model and what we’ve got to see in terms of a return on the investment.”

Geographically, TCR is planning the Dallas-Houston railway to run somewhat parallel to three pre-established routes. There are the courses set by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad Company on railroad tracks, such as the ones that run through North Zulch. I-45, which goes through Madisonville, is another alignment the company is considering. However, none of the three routes are exact models.

“If you’re going close to 200 mph, you want to be going pretty straight,” said Kelly. “None of those three are going to be a perfect fit, but we’re looking to take advantage of those rights of way as much as possible.”


Also some interesting information about environmental impacts in the remainder of the article:
http://www.madisonvillemeteor.com/news/ ... f887a.html
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:45 am

Some more info about station locations.
It’s been just over a year since a Japanese-backed firm announced plans to build a 205 mph bullet train between Houston and North Texas, and elected officials and advocates are anxiously waiting for more details.

That’s especially true in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where the region’s decades-old turf war has been reignited by the prospects of where Texas Central High-Speed Railway plans to build its first North Texas station.

That local officials are focusing so much attention on a proposal that is at least six years away from implementation shows how seriously they are taking this latest plan to make passenger rail work in highway-loving Texas. While logistical, financial, and regulatory issues have stymied previous efforts, Texas Central High-Speed Railway has silenced naysayers largely through the pedigree of its lead investor, Central Japan Railway Company, which already runs profitable bullet train lines in Japan. The company has also increased interest by vowing to develop the multibillion-dollar project without public subsidies.


http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2013/ju ... ort-worth/

Somewhat related, regarding land acquisition and station location in a general case for Texas HSR:
A UT Arlington civil engineering associate professor is studying the feasibility of placing a high-speed rail line within the public right of way from North Texas to Houston and San Antonio.
Stephen Mattingly, an associate professor of civil engineering, is assessing the performance constraints to safe operation and design, which affect a high-speed train's average speed and overall system cost as part of his research. The routes would roughly follow Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston, Interstate 35 between Dallas and San Antonio, and State Highway 6 from Waco to Houston.


Another factor in project cost is where the end terminals will be placed for the high-speed rail line. Mattingly said locating a station at an airport or in an urban core probably makes the most sense.

But the cost of establishing a terminal at either of these sites will be much more expensive than the outskirts of a metropolitan area because land values in an urban core or at an airport tend to be more expensive and high-speed rail line costs increase significantly in urban areas because of the lack of right of way for an at-grade system.


complete article:
http://phys.org/news/2013-06-ut-arlingt ... texas.html
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:30 am

HSR route through Bryan-College Station seen as "less viable" due to UPRR.

Officials from Bryan, College Station and Brazos County gathered Monday to hear how to keep the Brazos Valley in the conversation for a potential high-speed rail connecting Houston to Dallas.

The potential rail is referred to as the Texas T-Bone High-Speed Rail Corridor, which would cost about $25 billion and stretch 400 miles to connect Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston. There are three possible routes connecting Houston and Dallas -- one of which would come through Bryan-College Station -- so officials were urged to be vocal and active for their route to be chosen going forward.

The three lines connecting the two major metros would either go along Interstate 45, the BNSF rail line, or along the Union Pacific line through Bryan-College Station. The rail would be grade separated, elevated and bi-directional exclusively for high-speed trains, not freight trains. It would be funded privately, with no federal or state dollars.

Russell Schaffner, a senior public policy consultant for Dean International Inc., said the Union Pacific line is considered less viable since Union Pacific is "notorious for being very, very difficult for dealing with passenger rail -- they want to deal with freight."


more:
http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/arti ... 7a8b4.html
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:35 am

Tom Schieffer joins Texas Central Railway HSR project:
IRVING — Former Texas Rangers baseball club President and prominent Fort Worth lawyer Tom Schieffer has agreed to join the effort to bring high-speed rail to North Texas, officials say.

Schieffer, whose résumé also includes stints as U.S. ambassador to Japan and Australia, is joining Texas Central Railway as a senior or strategic adviser, several people attending the Texas Transportation and Infrastructure Summit in Irving said Wednesday.

Texas Central Railway is a company formed to build a proposed high-speed rail line from North Texas to Houston. The group is collaborating with Central Japan Railway to bring trains capable of going 220 mph to the region by 2021.


http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/07 ... -with.html
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:52 pm

Bryan Council Asked To Support High Speed Rail

Supporters of high speed rail through Bryan/College Station asked the Bryan city council Tuesday night for public support.

Matt Brasseaux, representing the state’s high speed rail lobbying organization, said vocal support was necessary as Japanese investors based in Houston are preparing to announce a direct route to and from Dallas, skipping B/CS.


http://wtaw.com/2013/09/11/bryan-counci ... peed-rail/
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:55 pm

Just talk?- Federal funding for Austin-San Antonio HSR

Officials in Austin and San Antonio are in talks with the U.S. Department of Transportation about receiving federal funding to facilitate connecting the two cities via high-speed rail, according to local and federal officials.

“I think that that concept has a lot of promise, and we just have to continue working with the local community to see how to get it in shape and see what we can do on the federal level,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.


http://www.texastribune.org/2013/09/06/ ... peed-rail/
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby electricron » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:00 am

kaitoku wrote:Just talk?- Federal funding for Austin-San Antonio HSR
http://www.texastribune.org/2013/09/06/ ... peed-rail/


The most important paragraph in that news article:
"The funding would go toward the Lone Star Rail District, a long-standing partnership between area public agencies to eventually build a passenger rail system between the Austin area and San Antonio on a Union Pacific freight corridor that parallels Interstate 35."

What is the Lone Star Rail District plans?
To summarize in a simplify list form:
(A) Purchase the UP rail corridor between Round Rock and southwest San Antonio from UP.
(B) UP builds a new rail corridor with the money from the sale.
(C) Operate commuter rail trains at maximum speeds of 79 mph on the now Lone Star rail corridor while allowing UP to run local and service existing freight customers.

It was not high speed rail, or even higher speed rail. Lone Star wants the Federal funds to buy the existing UP owed rail corridor - much like Michigan buying significant sections of a rail corridor to Detroit within Michigan. I suppose if Federal funds were to become available, LSRD will promise higher speed rail to be implemented eventually at some future time. But that certainly wasn't their plans the last 10 years. The project or more akin to moving most of the freight to the outskirts of Austin.
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:55 am

Arlington and Ft. Worth stations in the works, or just wishes?

Texas Central Railway had previously stated an unwillingness to build past their projected Dallas suburban terminus (costs), but comes this bit of news:

Plans call for rail stations in Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas, from which passengers could travel to Houston. Specific station locations have not been decided. More cities statewide could be added to the rail line after the initial route is established, Eckels said.

Though no public funds are part of the project, Jordan said that could change.
“We’re not going to volunteer public funds, but if it were to solve a public issue and it were cost effective, then obviously a public-private partnership would be the correct way to go,” said Jordan, citing right-of-way acquisition as constituting a public issue, for example.
Asked how much passenger tickets would cost, and Eckels said, “as much as we can charge,” emphasizing his company’s private business status.

“It can change your price $500 million to $1 billion just to move a station a half mile,” said Eckels.
Turning a profit is essential for the company due to its private status, Eckels said.
“We have to pay back our debt and our investors. We are particularly sensitive to issues that can drive costs,” said Eckels, referring to station location, alignment and other considerations.


The way the article is written, we don't know how much is old rehashed news and what is new, as far as station location- Mr. Eckels being noncommittal so far.

http://fwbusinesspress.com/fwbp/article ... tails.aspx
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby electricron » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:36 am

kaitoku wrote:The way the article is written, we don't know how much is old rehashed news and what is new, as far as station location- Mr. Eckels being noncommittal so far.

http://fwbusinesspress.com/fwbp/article ... tails.aspx


It's all the same old rehashed news, with Texas Central spokesman Eckels suggesting additional stations could be added later and that as a private enterprise they will seek to spend as little as possible to make as much as possible; while Fort Worth city councilman Jordan suggesting a public private partnership so the trains could be extended to Fort Worth although he wasn't suggesting where that public money was coming from.
I suggest it will not be Fort Worth providing those public funds to extend the train from Dallas to Fort Worth.
I will also suggest that an electric powered 200 mph train will require catenary wires over the tracks and that the existing freight railroads aren't going to like catenary wires over their tracks with double stacked container cars. Any sharing of a railroad corridor is not going to be sharing tracks, the HSR trains will be running over their own tracks although maybe in an existing freight corridor.
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:58 pm

Texas Central Railway president talks to Bryan-College Station officials
The push to get a high-speed rail through Bryan-College Station is picking up steam again among local officials.

Texas Central Railway President Robert Eckels was at the College Station City Council last week to discuss the opportunity for a private, above-ground, for-profit high-speed passenger rail system connecting Dallas/Ft. Worth to Houston in less than 90 minutes.

Eckels, who previously served as a county judge in Harris County, said that although being on the private sector side can be refreshing, it is also frustrating that the TCR cannot rely on taxpayers and city council mandates to help initiatives to move forward.

"Our route will be based on economic factors, and I think that's what you see as the difference between here and other parts of the country: We're backed locally, where other projects may be trying to promote development some place for a political subdivision," Eckels said.


http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/arti ... 45a8d.html

This article has some slides from the presentation by Texas Central Ry.
http://wtaw.com/2013/11/22/cs-council-r ... il-update/
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:27 pm

More news about potential stations in the Metroplex:

A private company that wants to build 220 mph bullet trains in Texas is committed to stopping in downtown Dallas, and is looking at sites near Union Station, the state’s new high-speed rail commission chairman said Wednesday.

Texas Central Railway, a company that aims to open a high-speed rail line from Houston to Dallas by 2021, is also open to the concept of extending the line to Arlington and Fort Worth, said Bill Meadows of Fort Worth, chairman of the North Texas High-Speed Rail Commission.

In Fort Worth, the T&P Station is a logical site for a station, Meadows said.


http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/02/05 ... .html?rh=1
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:09 pm

More about the failed Texas TGV project than the current Texas Central scheme, but interesting reading.
In 1989, former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes joined a group of investors hoping to develop a bullet train system in Texas. The company, Texas TGV, planned to build a 200 mph line between Dallas and Houston and then expand to Austin and San Antonio. After four years and more than $70 million in investments, the project collapsed.

“It’s the closest any state has come to having a high-speed train,” Barnes said. “I’ll spend the rest of my life asking what if.”

More than two decades later, Texas Central Railway is trying to revive a part of that earlier project, a privately financed bullet train connecting Dallas and Houston. As the company prepares to do a federally required environmental impact study and hold public meetings along the planned route, its leaders say they expect to avoid the pitfalls of the earlier project, namely inadequate financing and intense opposition from Southwest Airlines.


more:
http://www.texastribune.org/2014/03/07/ ... -past-pit/
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Re: Texas HSR update

Postby kaitoku » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:07 am

Interesting little debate between SMU economist and Texas Central Railway:

http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnew ... tein.html/
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