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 Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby ziggyzack1234 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:44 pm

Andrew -

The DEIS stated it was using the JR Central complete system, and everything in the DEIS is built around the N700 being the train used. They are bringing in Renfe simply to run the trains. At its core it's like many other operations in the US in which the railroad owns the equipment and a contractor operates it. Many of the commuter railroads have contracted operators, the MBTA commuter rail is run by Keolis (a subsidiary of SNCF) using MBTA/MassDOT owned equipment.

I was on that bandwagon that assumed JR Central was going to operate it given their depth of involvement with the project, but I guess they put it out to bid and Renfe was the winner.

Also, Renfe and Talgo are completely separate beings. Alstom also has nearly as heavy presence on the Renfe Spain roster as Talgo does, so equating Renfe with Talgo isn't really accurate.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby Jadebenn » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:00 am

ziggyzack1234 wrote:Andrew -

The DEIS stated it was using the JR Central complete system, and everything in the DEIS is built around the N700 being the train used. They are bringing in Renfe simply to run the trains. At its core it's like many other operations in the US in which the railroad owns the equipment and a contractor operates it. Many of the commuter railroads have contracted operators, the MBTA commuter rail is run by Keolis (a subsidiary of SNCF) using MBTA/MassDOT owned equipment.

I was on that bandwagon that assumed JR Central was going to operate it given their depth of involvement with the project, but I guess they put it out to bid and Renfe was the winner.

Also, Renfe and Talgo are completely separate beings. Alstom also has nearly as heavy presence on the Renfe Spain roster as Talgo does, so equating Renfe with Talgo isn't really accurate.

I assumed JR Central would operate it as well. Contracting it out to Renfe is certainly a move I didn't see coming. The only thing that could have possibly surprised me more would be another surprise takeover by a certain upstart American passenger train operator that's previously expressed interest in the corridor (hint-hint, nudge-nudge).

Back on topic, whatever behind-the-scenes agreement TCR's worked out with JR Central and the movers-and-shakers of the Japanese government still seems to be in play, leading me to assume that the deal was always meant to merely export the Shinkansen technology. It appears the JRs are more interested in marketing their technology to the States than actually running it there, and that's fine by me! This is still a win-win for both of us in the end. We get a cutting-edge train, they get a foot in the door.

My only concern is how well Renfe will adapt to this unique mix of technologies and cultural practices. They'll be operating an American railroad that was conceived by Texans, designed by Italians, teched out by the Japanese, and managed by Spaniards!

And people say the American melting pot is dead. :wink:
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby frequentflyer » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:51 pm

electricron wrote:Recent Texas Central news of note:
1) October 10, 2018 — Texas Central names global railway company Renfe as its high-speed train operating partner
2) October 04, 2018 — Texas Central Reaches Another Milestone With Addition of Salini Impregilo for Limited Notice to Proceed
3) September 13, 2018 - Texas Central Partners has secured a $300 million loan which Texas Central will use to move ahead on permitting, design and engineering, as well as other preliminary work needed to launch.
4) May 04, 2018 — Texas Central, Amtrak reach agreement to link Bullet Train and Amtrak’s interstate passenger network
5) May 02, 2018 — Texas Central Names Bechtel Project Manager for Bullet Train
6) February 5, 2018 — Texas Central picks preferred high-speed train passenger station in Houston
7) January 29, 2018 — Texas high-speed train unveils passenger station in Dallas
8) January 17, 2018 — Texas high-speed train unveils passenger station in Brazos Valley
9) December 15, 2017 — Texas Bullet Train moves ahead with federal environmental report
10) October 05, 2017 —Texas Central announces design-engineering firm WSP to join Texas Bullet Train team.

Recent Dallas City Council presentation about new intermodal hub near Texas Central station.
https://dallascityhall.com/government/C ... 100818.pdf


Looks like this project is proceeding along slowly, but it appears steps are being made to start building it soon.


So Amtrak gets moved out of Union? Is Union station on any historical registry? If not, I can see it being torn down, its on valuable real estate.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:01 pm

frequentflyer wrote:So Amtrak gets moved out of Union? Is Union station on any historical registry? If not, I can see it being torn down, its on valuable real estate.

#32 alphabetically on the list, but second-oldest on the National Register from Dallas County: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ ... nty,_Texas

Even if it weren't on the Register it would be a valuable convention or redevelopment space. Amtrak probably will take its sweet time moving as well, so there will be passenger service to Dallas Union Terminal for quite a while.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby electricron » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:07 am

Dallas' Union Station is owned by the city, and is used by DART light rail, TRE, and Amtrak trains.
If Amtrak decided to move to the potential new HSR station with its two trains a day service, there would be plenty of other trains to keep Union Station busy and open for business.
There would be no reason at all to tear it down and replace it with another structure.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby CHTT1 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:09 am

There's no reason to believe Amtrak will be leaving Dallas Union Station. The linkup between Texas Central and Amtrak involves through ticketing, not an actual physical connection.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby electricron » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:26 am

CHTT1 wrote:There's no reason to believe Amtrak will be leaving Dallas Union Station. The linkup between Texas Central and Amtrak involves through ticketing, not an actual physical connection.

If the City of Dallas did build a new transit hub next to the new HSR station, they just might want Amtrak to move to it. Dallas does not have to lease space to Amtrak at Union Station. Amtrak doe not have to lease space from Dallas either, and could just skip Dallas and base all their operations in Fort Worth. Where about 10 years ago Fort Worth built a new transit hub and Amtrak quickly moved in. What happens in Fort Worth does not have to happen in Dallas, and vice versa.

We're discussing ifs - there's only one thing I am certain about, Amtrak will not spend an extra penny either way. Someone else would have to build every facility they will need and want at either location without any money from Amtrak.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:14 pm

I know the value is in brownfield redevelopment for Texas Central, but it’s a shame they can’t just include Union Terminal in a new adaptive-reuse complex. Such is life in Texas, I guess.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby Jadebenn » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:59 pm

mtuandrew wrote:I know the value is in brownfield redevelopment for Texas Central, but it’s a shame they can’t just include Union Terminal in a new adaptive-reuse complex. Such is life in Texas, I guess.
Agreed. As a former Denver resident, I would've loved to see Dallas redevelop Union Station into their central transportation hub of the area like Denver did with theirs. But I think the problem is there's just not enough space. If you want a vibrant, viable transportation hub, it needs to be in the center of a neighborhood that can support and nurture it. If there's not one already, you need to build it. Dallas Union station doesn't have the former, and the station is really too geographically constrained for the latter to be an option either.

The Texas Central Station might be off the beaten path currently, but that will definitely change if the project goes through. Developers will be foaming at the mouth to put "easy access to high-speed rail station" on their building ads. And if Denver's experience is anything to go by, that can result in a whole new section of the city sprouting up where nothing but dirt and weeds existed before.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby electricron » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:27 am

mtuandrew wrote:I know the value is in brownfield redevelopment for Texas Central, but it’s a shame they can’t just include Union Terminal in a new adaptive-reuse complex. Such is life in Texas, I guess.

Union Station in Dallas has already been refurbished or renewed once and Amtrak is using it.
Amtrak and Dallas are not the reasons why Texas Central needs to build an entirely new train station.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby ziggyzack1234 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:22 pm

electricron wrote:Union Station in Dallas has already been refurbished or renewed once and Amtrak is using it.
Amtrak and Dallas are not the reasons why Texas Central needs to build an entirely new train station.


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.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby Jadebenn » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:08 pm

ziggyzack1234 wrote: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.

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.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby ziggyzack1234 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:24 pm

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.
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:16 am

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:
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Re: Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

Postby electricron » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:45 am

Backshophoss wrote: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:

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.
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