Texas Central High Speed Railway Project Shortlisted by Trump’s Team

Texas Central High Speed Railway Project Shortlisted by Trump’s Team :The newly elected US President Donald Trump’s administration team has reportedly compiled a list of fifty infrastructure projects that the White House is looking at backing in terms of investment priorities.

The 400 km Texas Central High Speed Railway (HSR) project in Texas, in the list of “Emergency & National Security Projects” on page 15, would enable commuters to travel between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth in less than 90 minutes.

Texas Central Railway (TCR), a private company, proposes construction and operation of a private, for‐profit, high speed passenger rail system connecting Dallas and Houston using the Japanese N700‐I Tokaido Shinkansen HSR technology. The Tokaido Shinkansen technology has operated for over 50 years in Japan and boasts a perfect track record of zero passenger fatalities or injuries due to train accidents.

Dark stormy clouds over wheat field. Square panorama from two photos

Central Japan Railway Company (JRC) intends to provide long-term and continuous technical support for the system, applying years of experience to act in an advisory capacity to ensure the success of the project.

The project objective is to implement reliable, safe and economically viable passenger rail transportation using proven HSR technology between Dallas and Houston, thus providing a convenient and competitive alternative to automobile travel on Interstate 45 or air travel between the two major metropolitan areas and introduce rail capacity in the vicinity of the corridor.

Nearly 50,000 already Texans travel back and forth between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth more than once a week. Due to increasing congestion on Interstate 45, automobile travel times between the two regions are projected to increase as travel speeds decrease: from 5 to 6.5 hours by 2035.

Traffic travels along the Pierce Elevated, Monday, April 20, 2015, in Houston. (Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle)

Flights between the two regions take approximately 65 minutes, in addition to the recommended airport arrival time at the gate approximately 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

TCR is currently working with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to develop the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The FRA has identified 6 draft alignment alternatives for further evaluation in the Draft EIS, following a comprehensive analysis of major corridors proposed for the project. The preferred corridor resulting from the analyses to date is the “Utility Corridor”.

A fully sealed, dedicated corridor has been proposed with grade‐separated crossings and dedicated right‐of‐way that is approximately 76 to 200 feet wide in order to accommodate a two‐ track railroad and an access road.

The preliminary operating schedule for service is planned to be 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM with the peak periods occurring from 5:30 AM to 9:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Current plans call for trains to run every 30 minutes during peak hours and every hour during off-peak times, with 6 hours reserved each night for maintenance and inspection of the system.

A fleet of between eleven and fifteen 8-car trainsets will be utilized to support the operating plan. Each trainset will seat approximately 400 passengers.

The proposed HSR system will typically consist of a two-track right-of-way (ROW) with additional tracks added at stations, maintenance of way (MOW) facilities, and maintenance yards. The ROW will be raised slightly above the surrounding grade on an embankment, with elevated sections on viaducts as required to suit topography, to minimize environmental and property impacts and to provide for grade separated rail and road crossings.

The trains will be powered by electricity which would require up to 10 traction power substations distributed along the alignment at approximately 40 km spacing.

A desired and conservative maximum operating speed 330 km/h has been chosen to be consistent with N700-I technology.

Logical termini for the project have been identified as downtown Dallas in the vicinity of Dallas Union Station and downtown Houston in the vicinity of the Houston Amtrak Station. Such identification maximizes opportunities to connect to other existing or proposed intercity, regional and local rail facilities and other transit services, furthering FRA’s connectivity goals for rail network development.

A midway station would also be built in the Brazos Valley near Bryan/College Station.

A congressional aide stated on 25 January 2017 that the “Emergency & National Security Projects” list is a working draft that will be developed with input from the National Governors Association.

More information on the Texas Central High Speed Railway Project can be found here:


Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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