Texas Central Railway

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Texas Central
Texas Central logo.png
Overview
StatusPlanned
Locale Texas
Termini Houston
Dallas
Stations3
Website TexasCentral.com
Service
Type High-speed rail
Services1
Operator(s)Texas Central Partners, LLC
Rolling stock N700S Series Shinkansen
History
Planned opening2026
Technical
Line length240 mi (390 km)
Number of tracks2
Characterfully grade separated
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV 60 Hz AC Overhead catenary [1]
Operating speed186–205 mph (299–330 km/h) [2]
Route map

Dallas
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Brazos Valley
Houston

Texas Central or Texas Central Partners, LLC is a private railroad company that is proposing a high-speed rail line between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. [3] It plans to use technology based on that used by the Central Japan Railway Company and trains based on an international version of the N700 Series Shinkansen. [4] [5] The company has indicated that the journey time would be less than 90 minutes, [6] [7] with service beginning as early as 2026. [8] [9] [10]

Company

Lone Star High-Speed Rail LLC was founded was founded in 2009, changing its name to Texas Central Railway in 2012. [11] Texas Central Partners, LLC (TCP) was founded on September 24, 2013 [12] as the company to build and operate the service, with the rail line itself owned by the separate Texas Central Railway (TCR). [11] Texas Central Partners is working with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and TxDOT to develop the Environmental Impact Statement required by NEPA. [13] In July 2015 the company announced that it had secured $75 million of private funding to allow the project to move forward from feasibility studies to development planning. [14]

The President and CEO of Texas Central Partners is Carlos F. Aguilar, and he is responsible for the company's finance, development, construction and eventual operations. [15] In December 2015 the company announced that it had appointed two new executives to help develop the project, both reporting to the CEO. The appointments are as follows:

  • Managing Director, External Affairs – Holly Reed. She was previously Regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T. [16]
  • Chief Finance Officer (CFO) – Lori Willox. She is a certified public accountant, and was previously a Senior vice president and CFO for Balfour Beatty’s Central region. [17]

Route

On August 10, 2015 the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a report that supported the so-called utility corridor for the line. [18] In December 2017, the FRA further released their draft environment impact statement for the High-Speed Rail that proposed the preferred route. [19]

From the station in Dallas, located on the west side of The Cedars with pedestrian walkways connecting to Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, [20] the route runs on elevated tracks parallel to a BNSF Railway line leaving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The line then proceeds through Ellis, Navarro, Freestone, Limestone, Leon, and Madison Counties. One intermediate station is planned for unincorporated Grimes County in order to serve the cities of Bryan-College Station and Huntsville, Texas, which includes more than 90,000 students at Texas A&M University (the state's largest), Blinn College and Sam Houston State University. The line then passes through Waller County before entering Harris County and the Houston area. The train line would run parallel to U.S. 290, Hempstead Highway and another Union Pacific Railroad freight line before ending at the Houston station, [21] site of the former Northwest Mall.

Rolling stock

The line was expected to use a variation of the N700 Series Shinkansen modified for export, referred to as the N700-I. [22] However, following the launch of the N700S in Japan, focus has shifted onto this newer model. [2] Its modular buildup makes it easier to change the train length from the 16 cars used in Japan and it is tested for higher top speeds, removing the need to perform expensive modifications. Trains in the US will consist of eight cars and are expected to have a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h), whereas their top speed in Japan is 300 km/h (190 mph) due to stricter noise regulations. [2]

Signalling

The signalling of the line is likely to be a replica of the digital ATC system used on Tokaido Shinkansen. [23]

Construction plans and contractors

In January 2017, President Donald Trump's administration listed the project as a national transportation infrastructure priority. [24]

In June 2017, it was stated that construction would begin in 2019 and would support 10,000 jobs during each year of the construction process and 1,500 permanent jobs once operations begin. [25] In May 2018, Texas Central announced that global engineering firm Bechtel will work with bullet train developer Texas Central on project management. [26] On September 13 2018, the company earned a $300 million loan for permitting, design and engineering. [27] The company selected Salini Impregilo and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction Company to lead the civil construction consortium that will build the Texas passenger line, to the top of the rails, including viaducts, embankments and drainage. [28]

In January 2018, plans for the station in Dallas were released as the preferred location identified by the Federal Railroad Administration in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement. [20]

In October 2018, Texas Central named Spanish railway company Renfe Operadora as the train's operating partner. The operator will run the trains; maintain system components, such as the engines, signals and other equipment; oversee ticketing, passenger loyalty programs and other services. [29] In September 2019, Texas Central signed a further design-build contract with the joint venture Salini-Lane to lead the effort to supply the civil infrastructure scope of design, construction and installation as well as the design and construction of the viaduct and embankment sections along the entire route, the installation of the track system and the alignment and construction of all buildings and services along the route that will house maintenance and other rail system equipment. Construction is slated to begin as early as 2020 and end in 2026. [30] [31]

In February 2019, Texas Central announced that it had contracted Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) for ecological mitigation services to help protect and enhance natural ecosystems and the environmental throughout construction and operations. [32] Also that month, Texas Central named Citi and MUFG as its financial advisers to spearhead its capital-raising efforts. [33] The Federal permitting the Record of Decision was due by March 27, 2020, [34] and a $5.9 billion construction deal was awarded to Renfein in February 2020. [35] FRA regulatory approvals came in September 2020, with construction expected to commence shortly thereafter. [36]

Legal issues

The right-of-way to be acquired from private property owners is a significant factor for the project. Ranchers living along the proposed route have challenged the company's attempts to survey and construct the line, [37] questioning their right to eminent domain. Grimes County has opposed the project. [38][ failed verification]

Texas Central Railroad filed a lawsuit against a landowner that refused to allow survey crews onto his land. The railroad filed for summary judgment in the case, Texas Central Railroad and Infrastructure vs Calvin House, arguing that it was entitled to require private landowners to allow land surveys for possible future eminent domain purchases under Texas state law. However, in a December 2016 ruling, the Harris County, Texas court denied the railroad's petition for summary judgment. [39]

In February 2019, a Leon County District Judge ruled that Texas Central is not a railroad company and therefore does not have the right to conduct surveys on private land. [40]

In July 2019, The 14th Court of the Texas Courts of Appeals in Houston reversed a previous decision by a lower court which granted summary judgement and issued a permanent injunction in Grimes County's public-nuisance suit against Texas Central and Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers, Inc. [41]

In May 2020, The 13th Court of the Texas Court of Appeals in Leon County ruled that Texas Central Railroad and Infrastructure, Inc. and Integrated Texas Logistics, Inc.) are both railroad companies and interurban electric railways. [42]

On July 16, 2020, The Surface Transportation Board in Washington, DC ruled that Texas Central Railroad is part of the interstate rail network based on its through-ticketing with Amtrak, and therefore subject to the STB's jurisdiction. [43]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Final Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). FRA.gov. Federal Rilroad Administration. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Learn The Facts". Texas Central. Retrieved 4 July 2019. ... Shinkansen trains can travel smoothly and comfortably at speeds up to 205 mph. Train service in Texas will likely begin at 186 mph, which will allow for a total trip time of less than 90 minutes between Houston and Dallas. Subject to regulatory approval and market demands, maximum train speeds could be increased up to 205 mph. ...'
  3. ^ "Texas Central Partners, LLC". Texas Central.
  4. ^ Whitely, Jason (November 29, 2018). "The Texas bullet train now looks likely. Here's what to expect". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Batheja, Aman; Smith, Stephen J. (August 18, 2014). "The Bullet Train That Could Change Everything". The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune.
  6. ^ Texas Central. "Learn the Facts". Texas Central Railway.
  7. ^ Begley, Dug (May 10, 2016). "Houston really wants the proposed bullet train to make a stop downtown". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Texas Central Media Center". April 27, 2020.
  9. ^ Briginshaw, David (13 May 2020). "Texas Central wins four-year legal fight with landowners". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  10. ^ Murray, Lance (25 February 2020). "Texas Central Makes $5.9B Deal With Spanish Firm to Develop, Operate High-Speed Rail Line". Dallas Innovates. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  11. ^ a b Martin, Joe (15 February 2017). "Texas Central Partners faces complicated legal battle over access to land". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Texas Central Partners LLC". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  13. ^ TexDOT. "Dallas-Houston High-Speed Rail Project". Texas Department of Transport.
  14. ^ Baddour, Dylan (July 23, 2015). "Texas high speed rail passes major milestone with first fundraising announcement". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers, LLC.
  15. ^ "Texas Central Partners, LLC". Texas Central.
  16. ^ Butler, Anna (August 27, 2017). "Holly Reed wants to help you get across Texas – by high-speed rail". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  17. ^ Bloomberg. "Executive Profile - Lori Willox". Bloomberg.
  18. ^ Green, Stephen (August 28, 2015). "Utility corridor gets nod for high-speed rail". The Courier of Montgomery County. Your Houston News.
  19. ^ "Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Appendix G TCRR FDCE v7 DWGS VOLUME 1". Federal Railroad Administration. December 15, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Leszcynski, Ray (January 29, 2018). "Texas Central picks downtown Dallas station site for its $15 billion high-speed rail proposal". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Formby, Brandon (February 5, 2018). "Bullet train developers want to turn Houston's Northwest Mall into major transit hub". The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune.
  22. ^ Gubbins, Teresa (16 September 2019). "The high-speed train planning a Houston-Dallas route now has a builder on board the project". Innovation Map - Houston.
  23. ^ "Texas Central Railroad High-Speed Rail Safety Standards". Federal Railroad Administration. 2020-03-10. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  24. ^ Global Construction Review Staff (August 15, 2017). "Italian firm to help build Japan-style bullet train in Texas". Global Construction Review.
  25. ^ Quirke, Joe (June 16, 2017). "Texas to begin work on Dallas–Houston bullet train next year". Global Construction Review.
  26. ^ Hethcock, Bill (May 2, 2018). "Engineering giant Bechtel named project manager for Texas Bullet Train". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  27. ^ Leszcynski, Ray (September 13, 2018). "Texas Central "Texas Central lands $300 million loan for Dallas-to-Houston bullet train project". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Slowey, Kim (September 15, 2019). "Texas Central signs design-build agreement with Salini Impregilo-Lane JV for $20B high-speed rail project". Construction Dive. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  29. ^ Staff (October 12, 2018). "RENFE and ADIF to support Texas Central high speed service". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  30. ^ "Texas central selects Renfe as operating partner". www.rtands.com. 2018-10-11.
  31. ^ "High speed rail moves ahead: Texas Central proceeds with addition of Italian engineering, construction group". Corsicana Daily Sun. October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  32. ^ Hethcock, Bill (February 4, 2019). "Texas Central picks up another partner for bullet train project". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  33. ^ "Citi, Mitsubishi Tapped to Raise Money for Texas Rail". Bloomberg. 21 February 2019.
  34. ^ "FRA Permitting Dashboard". 2017-08-22.
  35. ^ https://dallasinnovates.com/texas-central-makes-5-9b-deal-with-spanish-firm-to-develop-operate-high-speed-rail-line/
  36. ^ "FRA approvals pave way for Texas high speed line construction". Railway Gazette. 23 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  37. ^ Unger, Todd (2020-02-26). "Ranchers still fighting Texas bullet train". KXXV. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  38. ^ Gruenling, Jessica (January 18, 2018). "First look at proposed Brazos Valley high-speed rail station". KBTX-TV. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  39. ^ "Texas high-speed rail plan suffers eminent-domain setback in court". star-telegram.
  40. ^ Falls, Clay. "Leon County residents celebrate judge's ruling on proposed bullet train". www.kbtx.com. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  41. ^ LeCody, Peter (28 July 2018). "Court of Appeals reverses Grimes County nuisance suit against Texas Central Railway". Texas Rail Advocates.
  42. ^ https://www.texascentral.com/posts/texas-thirteenth-court-of-appeals-rules-in-favor-of-texas-central/. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  43. ^ Hoopfer, Evan (16 July 2020). "Texas Central's high-speed rail project just got easier to build, but hurdles still remain". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 24 July 2020.

External links