View Full Version : Texas High Speed Rail



Plutonic Panda
01-13-2020, 07:35 PM
I am going to keep a close eye on this one as I’m pretty excited for it. What an embarrassment for California if Texas really pulls it off but what a great first step for the country. If Texas really makes this happen, I believe if this model works we will see a domino effect around the country which could lead to a true revival of passenger rail around the country. I will keep this updated as much as possible.

Here is their website: https://www.texascentral.com/

Plutonic Panda
01-13-2020, 07:39 PM
Some quick facts from their website:

“ Nearly 50,000 Texans, sometimes called “super-commuters,” travel back and forth between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth more than once a week. Many others make the trip very regularly. The approximately 240-mile high-speed rail line will offer a total travel time of less than 90 minutes, with convenient departures every 30 minutes during peak periods each day, and every hour during off-peak periods – with 6 hours reserved each night for system maintenance and inspection.”

“ Capable of operating at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour and moving passengers between Dallas and Houston in less than 90 minutes
Substantive, wide-bodied seats, arranged “two-by-two” and separated by an aisle, ensuring sufficient leg, head and elbow room with no “middle-seat squeeze.”
Choice of service levels, with quiet, work-friendly cabins and food and beverage options to fit your needs and budget.
Plentiful Wi-Fi and power outlets, so passengers can get down to business, read, enjoy a movie, talk or catch a quick nap.
Fares highly competitive with the cost of travel by auto or commercial air service
A variety of retail stores, restaurants and shops located in passenger stations, each with a distinctly Texas style of service provided by well-trained staff who are eager to please.
Departures every 30 minutes during peak travel periods, with passengers able to review schedules, select seats, purchase tickets, change travel plans, order on-board food and drinks, reserve rental vehicles at their destination and book onward travel connections online or via mobile apps.
Stations located with easy access to major roadways, connections to public transit options, and plenty of on-site parking.”

Plutonic Panda
01-13-2020, 07:43 PM
The project is expected to cost around 12 billion USD and should break ground this year.

They will use Japan’s Shinkansen N700-S Train:


https://youtu.be/uX-_fJi0MJk

Plutonic Panda
01-13-2020, 07:47 PM
Some conceptual renderings:

Dallas Station

https://www.texascentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/DALLAS-EXTERIOR_v1-1024x553.png

Houston Station

https://www.texascentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/5000p_EXT-HOUSTON-HSR-1024x553.png

There are more renderings on their website.

Hopefully Dallas and Houston can get on the ball with a major mass transit package to provide ease of access to this system without the need of a car.

Plutonic Panda
01-13-2020, 07:54 PM
Also to alleviate traffic congestion along I-45 TxDOT is widening it to six lanes, IIRC. Hopefully I-45 gets extended to Tulsa soon.

Realistically it would be nice to see upgrades to Heartland Flyer so it could at least average around 110MPH. Given the troubles Amtrak has had getting the St. Louis to Chicago Line moving faster after spending a decade and billions of dollars and still aren’t able to make it travel faster than 80 MPH, I don’t have a lot of hope for Amtrak.

gopokes88
01-13-2020, 08:26 PM
I’d be very surprised if it broke ground before 2025 or even at all.

DKG
01-13-2020, 08:51 PM
https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/477766-proposed-texas-rail-line-has-the-look-of-a-high-speed-fail

According to this opinion article, now projected cost at $19 billion by the Federal Railroad Administration. This isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Plutonic Panda
01-13-2020, 11:53 PM
Damn shame if it doesn’t. If it didn’t work in California and Texas can’t do it either that isn’t good.

Laramie
01-14-2020, 10:01 AM
Texans are very good about projections and getting things done. Predict this will get completed at a cost of $22 billion and rolled out by 2023.

You have two mega communities with in excess of 6.5 million each; good scenario for demand & supply.

amocore
01-14-2020, 10:02 AM
Welcome to the 20th Century ! We are 50 years behind but that is a great project !

Zorba
01-14-2020, 06:35 PM
This would be a cool project. I wish we could get better about funding and completing non-car/aircraft infrastructure. But we've also got to figure out how to get the cost of infrastructure down. We pay far more per mile than other countries and it really holds back needed infrastructure.

mugofbeer
01-14-2020, 06:44 PM
Damn shame if it doesn’t. If it didn’t work in California and Texas can’t do it either that isn’t good.

I think it would have to be some sort of public-private partnership on the Federal level. In a perfect world, the Texas Triangle would just be a piece of a long-term nationwide plan.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 07:31 AM
It seems like this project is moving forward though I won’t be too excited until it actually breaks ground.


The high-speed train that promises to transport passengers between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes has been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration, according to Texas Central Railroad, the company in charge of the project.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration issued the two key rulings, which provide the regulatory framework and the environmental review for the high-speed train, that Texas officials were waiting on to move forward with the project, according to the company. The announcement was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Central expects to start construction in the first half of 2021.The federal Surface Transportation Board still must approve the project before construction can begin.

- https://www.texastribune.org/2020/09/21/dallas-houston-high-speed-train/

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 07:33 AM
If this thing really does happen it will be an absolute game changer for the entire country if it is successful and will likely launch HSR here. Meanwhile Oklahoma can’t even be bothered to improve its one and only rail line and our two major cities aren’t even connected by traditional rail. What a joke.

Rover
10-16-2020, 07:39 AM
If this thing really does happen it will be an absolute game changer for the entire country if it is successful and will likely launch HSR here. Meanwhile Oklahoma can’t even be bothered to improve its one and only rail line and our two major cities aren’t even connected by traditional rail. What a joke.
HUGE difference in Texas and OK. Houston-Dallas connects two metros with approximately 12.75 MILLION people. Okc-Tulsa is 2.25. If you add population between the metros the chasm is even wider. The ability to spread infrastructure costs is wildly different. Itís like you playing H.O.R.S.E with Steph Curry. I know who Iím betting on.

Rover
10-16-2020, 07:41 AM
If this thing really does happen it will be an absolute game changer for the entire country if it is successful and will likely launch HSR here. Meanwhile Oklahoma can’t even be bothered to improve its one and only rail line and our two major cities aren’t even connected by traditional rail. What a joke.
HUGE difference in Texas and OK. Houston-Dallas connects two metros with approximately 12.75 MILLION people. Okc-Tulsa is 2.25. If you add population between the metros the chasm is even wider. The ability to spread infrastructure costs is wildly different. A credible argument must be based on realistic assumptions.

Itís like you playing H.O.R.S.E with Steph Curry. I know who Iím betting on.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 08:06 AM
HUGE difference in Texas and OK. Houston-Dallas connects two metros with approximately 12.75 MILLION people. Okc-Tulsa is 2.25. If you add population between the metros the chasm is even wider. The ability to spread infrastructure costs is wildly different. It’s like you playing H.O.R.S.E with Steph Curry. I know who I’m betting on.
True but what frustrates me is we can’t even get conventional train service between the two cities. New Mexico was even able to build a passenger train line between its two cities which are smaller than OKC and Tulsa are respectively.

Rover
10-16-2020, 09:07 AM
True but what frustrates me is we can’t even get conventional train service between the two cities. New Mexico was even able to build a passenger train line between its two cities which are smaller than OKC and Tulsa are respectively.

Playing devils advocate....
Weíve had service to DFW for years and the ridership is pitiful. What makes us think OKC-Tulsa will even be that much? Subsidizing something that is used is one thing, but subsidizing something that isnít used and doesnít grow is quite another.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 09:27 AM
Playing devils advocate....
We’ve had service to DFW for years and the ridership is pitiful. What makes us think OKC-Tulsa will even be that much? Subsidizing something that is used is one thing, but subsidizing something that isn’t used and doesn’t grow is quite another.
Transportation is a necessity and should be built for the greater good, not for profit. I wouldn’t call Heartland Flyers ridership pitful given the circumstances. Obviously it doesn’t touch NE corridor lines numbers. A broader system would put more riders on.

Alternative transportation options open up new opportunities for the state.

shawnw
10-16-2020, 09:55 AM
Playing devils advocate....
Weíve had service to DFW for years and the ridership is pitiful. What makes us think OKC-Tulsa will even be that much? Subsidizing something that is used is one thing, but subsidizing something that isnít used and doesnít grow is quite another.

I've taken the flyer many times and have not observed this pitiful ridership you speak of

RustytheBailiff
10-16-2020, 09:59 AM
Transportation is a necessity and should be built for the greater good, not for profit. I wouldn’t call Heartland Flyers ridership pitful given the circumstances. Obviously it doesn’t touch NE corridor lines numbers. A broader system would put more riders on.

Alternative transportation options open up new opportunities for the state.

Really? Someone needs to tell American Airlines that (among others)....

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 10:03 AM
Really? Someone needs to tell American Airlines that (among others)....
Airlines are the exception, IMO.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 10:05 AM
I've taken the flyer many times and have not observed this pitiful ridership you speak of
I use it a few times a year and usually it is pretty full but not packed. I’ve turned about a dozen people into it who didn’t even know it existed. They all loved it but said it could have been a little faster. I wish OkDOT would invest a couple hundred million and increase its speed and daily trains

gopokes88
10-16-2020, 10:44 AM
True but what frustrates me is we canít even get conventional train service between the two cities. New Mexico was even able to build a passenger train line between its two cities which are smaller than OKC and Tulsa are respectively.

New Mexico also reduced service on the rail runner many times and will likely be permanently shut down post COVID.

Not a huge market for making a 40min drive 1.5 hour train ride.

shawnw
10-16-2020, 11:46 AM
aw man, was wanting to try the rail runner next time I was in NM

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 11:53 AM
New Mexico also reduced service on the rail runner many times and will likely be permanently shut down post COVID.

Not a huge market for making a 40min drive 1.5 hour train ride.
Lots of rail lines are likely to be shut down for awhile. Bad move on NMs part to shut it and I bet it comes back down the road,

Edmond Hausfrau
10-16-2020, 12:12 PM
aw man, was wanting to try the rail runner next time I was in NM

I used to ride it when I was based in ABQ for work. The conductors slash ambassadors said it was heavily subsidized by government funds and usually ran in the red. The trains were clean when I was there, as were the stations, but it was faster to drive. Main benefit was not having to park in Santa Fe.

Rover
10-16-2020, 12:22 PM
I've taken the flyer many times and have not observed this pitiful ridership you speak of

67,000 total riders a year is pretty pitiful. That's a total of 185 passengers a day or an average of about 92 each way. Serving 8 cities, that's pitiful.

Rover
10-16-2020, 12:25 PM
Transportation is a necessity and should be built for the greater good, not for profit. I wouldn’t call Heartland Flyers ridership pitful given the circumstances. Obviously it doesn’t touch NE corridor lines numbers. A broader system would put more riders on.

Alternative transportation options open up new opportunities for the state.

Since 2013, ridership has continued to slide and was off 20% through 2019. I'm not aware of any new opportunities that have been created by it. Please tell me what has been created or is even being proposed.

Don't get me wrong. I use the trains extensively in the northeast from Boston to Washington DC. I use them extensively in Europe. Would love to have those kind of trains and schedules, but we don't have the same kind of population dispersion and cultural propensity. Plus, in those places there is a historic population dispersement that is only now occurring in many parts of the US.

dankrutka
10-16-2020, 12:42 PM
67,000 total riders a year is pretty pitiful. That's a total of 185 passengers a day or an average of about 92 each way. Serving 8 cities, that's pitiful.

I don't know, that seems reasonable. The Flyer serves two cities (OKC & Fort Worth), 1 medium sized town (Norman), and 5 very small towns. In short, one train leaves from OKC for Fort Worth a day and it has 92 passengers on it. That seems completely reasonable and that's about what it feels like when I've ridden it.

P.S. It's absurd they haven't added a Sanger/Denton stop. I live in Denton and would love to take this more, but I have to drive an hour north (Gainesville) or southwest (Fort Worth) to catch it. A stop in Sanger/Denton would also provide a good way for people to get to Forth Worth. That could add some riders.

shawnw
10-16-2020, 01:45 PM
67,000 total riders a year is pretty pitiful. That's a total of 185 passengers a day or an average of about 92 each way. Serving 8 cities, that's pitiful.

I guess what I'm getting at is, having ridden multiple Amtrak lines around the country (plus Canada's VIA rail system), anecdotally obvs, our ridership seems comparable to other lines. I realize it's not apples to apples, for example the lines in the NW have greater frequency. But I've never gotten on a train here and thought, oh boy, these guys are in trouble.

Laramie
10-16-2020, 01:50 PM
Oklahoma City & Tulsa aren't ready for HSR; however if the grant money is there--take advantage of building the rail line infrastructure to connect both of Oklahoma's two largest metro CBDs.

It's probably going to take 7 years to get the line thru the planning and construction stages which means it would be available around 2030 at the earliest.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 02:41 PM
Since 2013, ridership has continued to slide and was off 20% through 2019. I'm not aware of any new opportunities that have been created by it. Please tell me what has been created or is even being proposed.

Don't get me wrong. I use the trains extensively in the northeast from Boston to Washington DC. I use them extensively in Europe. Would love to have those kind of trains and schedules, but we don't have the same kind of population dispersion and cultural propensity. Plus, in those places there is a historic population dispersement that is only now occurring in many parts of the US.
I can’t give you specifics because I’m unaware of them but just speaking in generality that there are usually economic benefits that come with trains. I think it would help immensely if upgraded the line, extended it Tulsa and Newton, and had better frequencies running at least 4 trains a day. As Dan said, a stop in Denton would be prudent along with a stop in Thackerville at the casino.

If we double tracked the line, added 4 daily trains each way, maintained an average speed around 90-100MPH, I bet many riders would be induced. That also comes with new trains and again, extended service to Tulsa(and eventually connecting Tulsa to Kansas City and STL) and Newton.

If I were in charge I’d do this

Phase 1(2023-2025):

New Siemens diesel trains(I don’t know the model but I believe they are manufactured in Sacramento)

Revamped stations throughout the state

Added station at Winstar

Daily increase of trains to 4 each way

Double tracked in certain places along 60 percent of the line

Phase two(2025-2029):

Extension to Newton

New train line running to Tulsa down I-44 ROW

Heartland Flyer average speed 100MPH

Double tracked the entire route

Phase 3(2030s)

Extension from Tulsa to Missouri

Couple that with improvements to active transportation and improvements to local alternative transportation and I guarantee ridership increases. I don’t think any of that is unreasonable or unrealistic. Even all of that still doesn’t compare to Europe or the NE but provides for a decent alternative to car transportation.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 02:45 PM
Oklahoma City & Tulsa aren't ready for HSR; however if the grant money is there--take advantage of building the rail line infrastructure to connect both of Oklahoma's two largest metro CBDs.

It's probably going to take 7 years to get the line thru the planning and construction stages which means it would be available around 2030 at the earliest.
Don’t hold your breath. From what I understand it’s a miracle that Oklahoma has kept it’s only train, heartland flyer, operating. Commuter rail seems like it isn’t happening anytime soon and, IIRC, was supposed to come online in OKC in a year or two but you can forget that. Every attempt at increasing passenger rail in Oklahoma seems to be derailed. I’m just speaking for fun. Very little chance any of this happens with current leadership.

shawnw
10-16-2020, 03:10 PM
I can’t give you specifics because I’m unaware of them but just speaking in generality that there are usually economic benefits that come with trains. I think it would help immensely if upgraded the line, extended it Tulsa and Newton, and had better frequencies running at least 4 trains a day. As Dan said, a stop in Denton would be prudent along with a stop in Thackerville at the casino.

If we double tracked the line, added 4 daily trains each way, maintained an average speed around 90-100MPH, I bet many riders would be induced. That also comes with new trains and again, extended service to Tulsa(and eventually connecting Tulsa to Kansas City and STL) and Newton

Based on their current direction, It would be OKC-Newton, not Tulsa-Newton.

I think much of what you want won't be doable until we are operational to Newton and ridership proves the investment is worthy, which I think it will be.

Personally I'd be happy to start with if they would just come back and go down at least one more time per day to give some flexibility. In other words when it gets down to FTW, it loads up and comes back. Then takes another load down. I realize this would require another train because of the timing. But right now once the train is down there, it stays until the 5:30 return.



If I were in charge I’d do this

Phase 1(2023-2025):

New Siemens diesel trains(I don’t know the model but I believe they are manufactured in Sacramento)

Revamped stations throughout the state

Added station at Winstar

Daily increase of trains to 4 each way

Double tracked in certain places along 60 percent of the line

Phase two(2025-2029):

Extension to Newton

New train line running to Tulsa down I-44 ROW

Heartland Flyer average speed 100MPH

Double tracked the entire route

Phase 3(2030s)

Extension from Tulsa to Missouri

Couple that with improvements to active transportation and improvements to local alternative transportation and I guarantee ridership increases. I don’t think any of that is unreasonable or unrealistic. Even all of that still doesn’t compare to Europe or the NE but provides for a decent alternative to car transportation.

You may or may not realize that the flyer is 100% Oklahoma-Texas funded. Unlike some other routes, we don't get any federal assistance. This is based on a map I've seen that shows 100% federally funded lines, lines that are fed/state funded, and lines that are state only, and we were the latter. I'll see if I can find that map. Point is, I don't see the states of Oklahoma or Texas doing any of what you're asking for (maybe Texas would be interested after the high speed train is in place, who knows). Now what I _could_ see is getting some federal funds to help us get online to Newton, and once we're online there, if it were going well, I could see the FTW-Newton full line becoming partially federal funded. But we've got such a long way to go. Again, I want everything you want. But there are fiscal realities to face.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 03:13 PM
I understand completely. Very slim chance we get of any of it and it’ll be a miracle if we do get an OKC-Newton line. Hell, there’s a good chance the heartland flyer could see the chopping block with the way things are going.

Rover
10-16-2020, 05:03 PM
Don’t hold your breath. From what I understand it’s a miracle that Oklahoma has kept it’s only train, heartland flyer, operating. Commuter rail seems like it isn’t happening anytime soon and, IIRC, was supposed to come online in OKC in a year or two but you can forget that. Every attempt at increasing passenger rail in Oklahoma seems to be derailed. I’m just speaking for fun. Very little chance any of this happens with current leadership.

I appreciate your enthusiasm. But, there are no studies I am aware of that project any induced demand on these kind of routes. Nor any that show that there would be increased investments along the way or addition development. Perhaps an excursion train to Windstar would get some daily traffic, but I have seen no studies that show that or quantify the demand.

Problem is you still need a car when you get to your destination. And, even at 90 mph, with 6 or seven stops along the way, it will take longer than driving.

It would be easy to go do polling at a few places along !-35 at popular stops like Love's etc. and ask how many drivers would forgo driving if there was a train available. You could check price elasticity, requirements of schedules, etc. A real study can be done if anyone really wants to know.

Plutonic Panda
10-16-2020, 05:20 PM
I thought a feasibility study happened or is underway on a Windstar station?

mugofbeer
10-17-2020, 10:00 AM
I don't know, that seems reasonable. The Flyer serves two cities (OKC & Fort Worth), 1 medium sized town (Norman), and 5 very small towns. In short, one train leaves from OKC for Fort Worth a day and it has 92 passengers on it. That seems completely reasonable and that's about what it feels like when I've ridden it.

P.S. It's absurd they haven't added a Sanger/Denton stop. I live in Denton and would love to take this more, but I have to drive an hour north (Gainesville) or southwest (Fort Worth) to catch it. A stop in Sanger/Denton would also provide a good way for people to get to Forth Worth. That could add some riders.

I was shocked at how much growth had taken place in those areas last time l was through l35. A stop doesn't need to be more than a couple of minutes. Plus, there could be a way to connect the Denton county light rail into Dallas to it.

Plutonic Panda
06-19-2021, 06:05 AM
Update:

https://www.equipmentworld.com/better-roads/article/15066112/texas-bullet-train-plans-advance-says-developer

Plutonic Panda
07-14-2021, 08:16 PM
Early operator has been named:

https://www.kbtx.com/2021/07/14/texas-central-names-early-operator-high-speed-rail/?fbclid=IwAR2vAnrc3LYx7D2vm_qCb9A_WIW9uvf9e3pl9Ewr y0l8UmyhJHF5gKp7sL4

Triggerman
07-16-2021, 09:19 AM
Build that train!

SEMIweather
07-16-2021, 10:38 PM
If this ever actually gets built and is truly high speed rail, I would for sure ride it at least once for the experience, if nothing else.

baralheia
07-19-2021, 12:00 PM
If this ever actually gets built and is truly high speed rail, I would for sure ride it at least once for the experience, if nothing else.

It will be true high speed rail. Texas Central will be using Japanese N700 Shinkansen trainsets. Top speed for the line is expected to be 200mph and one-way travel time from Dallas to Houston is expected to be under 90 minutes.

gopokes88
07-19-2021, 01:05 PM
It is way to easy to sue and stop projects in this country.

SEMIweather
07-19-2021, 01:40 PM
It is way to easy to sue and stop projects in this country.

Yep. IMO this is the #1 reason that the housing market is out of control right now in any area that’s halfway desirable to live in. NIMBY’s have way too much influence on local politics, and the end result is that metros with rapidly increasing population levels are simply not building enough homes/apartments to keep up.

To tie my mini-rant back into this thread, this is essentially the reason for my cynicism in post #43. I’ll believe this project is actually going to completed at a high-quality level when I see it. Look at how mediocre California’s HSR project is setting up to be relative to when it was first announced years and years ago.

gopokes88
07-19-2021, 01:42 PM
Yep. IMO this is the #1 reason that the housing market is out of control right now in any area that’s halfway desirable to live in. NIMBY’s have way too much influence on local politics, and the end result is that metros with rapidly increasing population levels are simply not building enough homes/apartments to keep up.

To tie my mini-rant back into this thread, this is essentially the reason for my cynicism in post #43. I’ll believe this project is actually going to completed at a high-quality level when I see it. Look at how mediocre California’s HSR project is setting up to be relative to when it was first announced years and years ago.

Its everything. Pipelines, roads, homes, any infrastructure

Mott
07-19-2021, 08:42 PM
There is a light rail connection from Denton to DART. As a rail fan, parked car in Denton and rode it down to DART, and then to Dallas, very nice system.

Rover
07-21-2021, 07:42 AM
If this ever actually gets built and is truly high speed rail, I would for sure ride it at least once for the experience, if nothing else.
You canít build a system like this for people riding it once.

Rover
07-21-2021, 07:43 AM
Yep. IMO this is the #1 reason that the housing market is out of control right now in any area thatís halfway desirable to live in. NIMBYís have way too much influence on local politics, and the end result is that metros with rapidly increasing population levels are simply not building enough homes/apartments to keep up.

To tie my mini-rant back into this thread, this is essentially the reason for my cynicism in post #43. Iíll believe this project is actually going to completed at a high-quality level when I see it. Look at how mediocre Californiaís HSR project is setting up to be relative to when it was first announced years and years ago.
So, people living in an area have too much say over the things that influence their lives? And the answer is to build more cheap apartments? More sprawl?

shawnw
07-21-2021, 07:44 AM
I would personally use it for trips to Houston, after taking the flyer to FTW and the TRE to Dallas.

baralheia
07-21-2021, 01:00 PM
I would personally use it for trips to Houston, after taking the flyer to FTW and the TRE to Dallas.

It might have just been rumor because I can't find anything in writing, but I remember hearing at one point that TC was at least exploring the idea of integrating ticket sales with Amtrak. I think it's an idea with merit, enabling the use of Amtrak as a feeder to get TC riders to the northern and southern terminus of the high-speed line and simplifying ticketing for passengers traveling farther than just between Dallas and Houston.

shawnw
07-21-2021, 01:47 PM
Years ago, I went to a public meeting with TXDOT and ODOT officials. They were saying that there was possibly going to be a high speed rail built from Houston to Texas and they were gauging interest in continuing that line into Oklahoma. Maybe connecting via Amtrak instead was their takeaway after that meeting.