• 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

  by eolesen
 
Judge Nora Longoria issued the appellate ruling. She's quite infamous in Texas...

https://noralongoria.com/

And... she's a Democrat, which may be important here as they don't tend to be originalists. It would be interesting to know how many of her rulings have been upheld by SCOTX...

Studies, funding, etc. are all great, but as of today, TCR isn't FRA approved, thus not a railroad. Once they pass regulatory review, there's an argument to be made they will be operating in the future. Right now, it's still a speculative real estate venture.

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  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:27 pm Studies, funding, etc. are all great, but as of today, TCR isn't FRA approved, thus not a railroad. Once they pass regulatory review, there's an argument to be made they will be operating in the future. Right now, it's still a speculative real estate venture.
I did not think a plain reading of the text as written arises with a different meaning depending upon party affiliation. "Jack and Jill went up the hill" means exactly the same thing to a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. So whatever party the judge belongs to is really immaterial.

FRA has approved Texas Central.
https://www.texascentral.com/posts/texa ... ilestones/
Your Texas High-Speed Train is two steps closer to construction as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the pre-publication version of the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and the Record of Decision (ROD), marking major achievements for this historic project.
The RPA provides the regulatory framework for Texas Central Railroad, establishing a comprehensive set of safety requirements that will govern the high-speed train system’s signal and trainset control, track, rolling stock, operating rules and practices, system qualifications, and maintenance. This RPA is based on a systems approach to safety which incorporates accident avoidance measures that are significantly more stringent than those required for conventional U.S. rail operations.
The ROD completes the FRA’s environmental review process that began in 2014 as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and culminated with the publication of the 10,000+ page Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) that was released on May 29, 2020. The ROD also formally selects the alignment that Texas Central Railroad will follow between Dallas and Houston.
Both the RPA and ROD were released by the USDOT and the FRA on September 10, 2021.

I'm assuming Texas Central will eventually have to display proper operations and maintenance for the tracks, signals, trains, and operators before being allowed to carry passengers on any trains, but before they can actually do that they have to build it first. :-D
  by eolesen
 
electricron wrote: I did not think a plain reading of the text as written arises with a different meaning depending upon party affiliation. "Jack and Jill went up the hill" means exactly the same thing to a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. So whatever party the judge belongs to is really immaterial.
If that were truly the case, nobody would ever object to a specific individual being nominated as a justice by a sitting President... And yet the past four years saw violent opposition to multiple individuals based solely on assumed party affiliation.

Like it or not, there are differences.

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  by Scalziand
 
Are there any dinky shortlines or disused charters that TC could buy to cut the gordian knot of whether they are a railroad company or not?
  by eolesen
 
Yeah, that's not the roadblock. It's more about the money right now.
“FRA does not grant any kind of construction approval or permit. Neither does this final rule, by itself, grant any permission or authority for TCRR [Texas Central] to operate.”
– excerpt from FRA’s pre-published final RPA and ROD, page 15
STB ultimately has to rule the owners fit to operate a railroad, which means adequate financing in place, and that's still questionable and part of the claim over whether or not the railroad can exercise eminent domain powers.

Buying up a short line to try and win one ruling now would simply eat up money they need elsewhere.

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  by ziggyzack1234
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 1:34 pm Yeah, that's not the roadblock. It's more about the money right now.
“FRA does not grant any kind of construction approval or permit. Neither does this final rule, by itself, grant any permission or authority for TCRR [Texas Central] to operate.”
– excerpt from FRA’s pre-published final RPA and ROD, page 15
STB ultimately has to rule the owners fit to operate a railroad, which means adequate financing in place, and that's still questionable and part of the claim over whether or not the railroad can exercise eminent domain powers.

Buying up a short line to try and win one ruling now would simply eat up money they need elsewhere.
That's my theory as to why their STB application has not yet been submitted, they need to have all the money lined up in order to submit and get approval. Should it get submitted, and more importantly pass, then its status as a railroad would be much more concrete.

For all we know, the financing could come through before the next session of the eminent domain case, which would be something to see for sure.
  by eolesen
 
It's an interesting twist. Condemnation powers granted to interurban railroads were given because they would arguably provide a local public service and good. Same thing with state roads and interstate highways that have exits every couple miles... the people giving up their land derive some benefit from having it available.

There is no local good being provided by a railroad that doesn't stop and only benefits three communities along the 200+ mile run.

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  by ziggyzack1234
 
The thing about local good is the need for resources to make it happen. Given the low density and strength of the opposition, adding a few stations along the way would be both burdensome on the RRs budget and useless to most of the few people living there. Now NIMBYs have changed their mind in the case of Brightline, but the opposition in Texas is much more solid in their position. Giving them a station won't change a thing.

I think there could be a few station additions, first and foremost near Cypress where 99 meets 290, capture the crowd from the west and coming along the loop highway, but the very rural areas would be expensive ventures for the company.
  by eolesen
 
The locals don't want the train service. What they want is a fair value for their land, as opposed to condemnation.
  by RandallW
 
Condemnation does have to compensate with fair value for the land. (I say this having sat on a jury that had to determine the fair value of land in a condemnation proceeding where the original owner and the condemner could not agree on the fair value.)
  by eolesen
 
RandallW wrote:Condemnation does have to compensate with fair value for the land. (I say this having sat on a jury that had to determine the fair value of land in a condemnation proceeding where the original owner and the condemner could not agree on the fair value.)
That's the crux of the problem. Land owners don't want uninterested third parties determining what the land is worth. This is private for-profit development that wont improve the area values for a hundred miles in either direction. Owners should be able to name their price.

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  by scratchyX1
 
This is what, farmland for animal grazing? With a lot of viaducts, so the actual land lost for feeding, not much.
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