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Texas Central Railway - Proposed Bullet Train


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#1 johnfwd

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:23 PM

This NBC 5 news report about a possible high-speed train from Fort Worth to Houston (205 miles per hour) is probably fanciful thinking. And it wouldn’t be something Southwest Airlines would be thrilled about. But I’d like to see it.

http://www.nbcdfw.co...-149923285.html

#2 Corsicana33

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:38 PM

Might be a good economic boost to the area

#3 renamerusk

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:55 PM

..... And it wouldn't be something Southwest Airlines would be thrilled about. But I'd like to see it.


Since Southwest Airlines does not serve the Fort Worth/Arlington Metropolitan Area, it has no moral or tangible reason to object, except that we all know that Southwest Airlines will do its best to derail any high speed intrastate rail originating, passing through or ending at Fort Worth. I think that these guys have an intriguing idea, especially, if they can get Tarrant County, Johnson County and the other counties between Fort Worth and Harris County (Houston) on board.

Hope that they can pull it off.

#4 RD Milhollin

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:15 PM

The organizers of the "Texas Central Railroad" (better check to see if that historic but defunct Texas railroad has any surviving claims to its name) want to do this project with all private money, Ten Billion Dollars. I don't think this is realistic for at least one good reason.

In order to build the sort of track they would need for 200+ MPH service it must be flat and STRAIGHT. The flat just takes bucks, cuts where needed, and viaduct where needed. The straight is going to need eminent domain to pull off. That is usually, and constitutionally, a government power or function. If you are a massive energy corporation you get some of those powers. But a private railroad is going to have a hard time getting land for their straight track ROW at reasonable/market prices. If the organizers were willing to approach the state about a partnership in which the government would own the ROW and track, and the private concern could own and operate the trains, they might be able to construct this line for what they are projecting.

Some things they should be considering: In addition to the massive startup costs, electrical energy is going to be a major ongoing expense. In Germany and Spain those costs are at least partially offset by miles of solar panels installed along the ROW that feed the system. Another consideration is that with increasing costs of fuel and shorter times between city centers for the planed rail service, the airlines serving this route, primarily Southwest, AA, and NW/CO are going to be interested in at least looking at the possibility of investing their resources and abilities (booking, service, maintenance, etc.) into the system, relieving them of having to service what is going to become a less profitable route segment over time (assuming continually rising fuel prices, I think a good assumption). For Southwest this would probably require stops on the line at DAL and HOU airports, for AA and NW/CO at DFW and IAH, these in addition to Downtown Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, and maybe Galveston (COOL!).

Best wishes to this venture, but I am sure they are aware it is going to be an uphill struggle.

#5 renamerusk

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:07 AM

Another consideration is that with increasing costs of fuel and shorter times between city centers for the planed rail service, the airlines serving this route, primarily Southwest, AA, and NW/CO are going to be interested in at least looking at the possibility of investing their resources and abilities (booking, service, maintenance, etc.) into the system, relieving them of having to service what is going to become a less profitable route segment over time (assuming continually rising fuel prices, I think a good assumption). For Southwest this would probably require stops on the line at DAL and HOU airports, for AA and NW/CO at DFW and IAH, these in addition to Downtown Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, and maybe Galveston (COOL!).


I must disagree with airlines having input, requirements or making demands; or even Downtown Dallas for that matter. The proposal is Fort Worth to Houston.

I say it is wiser to stay clear of any alliances with the airlines. Airlines, in particular Southwest Airlines, are the natural enemies of rail service. Why in heaven would SWA, AA or other airlines divert revenue passengers on to a train?

Keep it simple: no airports or multiple downtown stations. Fort Worth to Houston with a station in Waco and a station in Bryan/College Station. Trying to connect all the dots to satisfy the competing special interests is a recipe for failure.

Less obstacles = Greater chance for success.

#6 AndyN

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:44 AM

In order to build the sort of track they would need for 200+ MPH service it must be flat and STRAIGHT. The flat just takes bucks, cuts where needed, and viaduct where needed. The straight is going to need eminent domain to pull off. That is usually, and constitutionally, a government power or function.


Actually, I believe railroads do in fact have eminent domain powers.
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#7 Keller Pirate

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:35 AM

Long way to go to make this happen. The NBC story said the train would run Ft Worth to Houston, the only other coverage I could find was from CBS and they said the train would run from DFW to Houston. It wasn't clear if DFW meant the region or the airport. It is too bad the S-T didn't cover the story, they might have had room to include more details than the TV stations did. I am doubtful of some of the statements in the story. How can they spend $10 billion on a startup and charge 70% less for a ticket than the airlines? Today, if you wanted to buy Southwest, the market cap is $6.2 billion, you could probably get American for less. Then you could slash fares. I'm pretty sure you could lease a couple of planes and get in the business for a low figure.

Amtrak reserves their highest fares for the higher speed Acela trains. You can buy cheaper tickets for the same route on slower trains. How many 1,000 passenger capacity trains for Houston can you load in Ft. Worth everyday? The TSA is a pain in the butt at the airport, they are looking to expand into other modes and already do spot inspections at train stations. Hijacking is not really a threat anymore, even for airlines, the real threat is bombs and terrorists love to blowup trains in Europe, where you have to pass through security to get on a high speed train. I think Andy is right, railroads have had the right of eminent domain in the past. I don't know if the changes some states enacted after the Supreme Court ruling a few years ago have changed that in Texas. It may be only the TRV has that right now.

All said, if they did manage to build it, I would ride the train to Houston, haven't been there since 1988.

#8 360texas

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:40 AM

Following up on your question regarding Texas railroads, you might find this article an interesting read.

http://stateimpact.n...check-this-box/


Part way down the page I read - Partial quote - maybe out of context.


"But while the Railroad Commission of Texas issues "common carrier" status, they don't regulate the use of eminent domain, as we've reported earlier. "Eminent domain issues are a private party issue," John Tintera, executive director of the commission, told State Impact Texas in February. "Beyond that 'common carrier' declaration, the role of the Railroad Commission is limited after that."

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#9 AndyN

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 01:20 PM

That article is primarily about eminent domain for pipelines since the Railroad Commission doesn't really regulate railroads anymore.

The relevant statute from years past is the good old Texas Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes, specifically Article 6336. I'm not sure if Vernon's is still the law of the land anymore, though. Rights of railroads including E.D. are also defined in the Transportation Code, Title 5, Sub C, Ch. 112 Sec. 002 (B) 5. which might be the modern day rights are defined.
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#10 Electricron

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:13 AM

I hope they can find the $10 Billion from private sources, because I don't think TXDOT nor FRA will have much to contribute - the best hope maybe Federally backed infrastructure loans/bonds.
It's a long way between Fort Worth and Houston, approximately 260 miles. I'm not so sure a HSR line could be built for just $10 Billion. A similar privately funded DesertXpress HSR line between Victorville and Las Vegas, approximately 186 miles, with max speeds around 150 mph is projected to cost $4 to $5 Billion the last I've read. So, I guess $10 Billion is close. Never-the-less, DesertXpress will be built immediately adjacent to I-15 mostly on property already owned by the two states, saving lots of money because less land needs to be purchased. I'm not so sure a Texas HSR corridor will be so lucky.

#11 johnfwd

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:51 AM

Here is an updated Star-Telegram story (by Gordon Dickson) about the proposed bullet train. A major point in the article is that the only terminal station in our area may be located either at the DFW Airport or...in Dallas. We Fort Worthians had better press for the former rather than the latter site option. Or else, Dallas will win out again...not only passenger air traffic out of Love Field, but high-speed passenger train traffic from there to Houston and back.


http://www.star-tele...adlines-default

#12 Keller Pirate

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:42 PM

The only thing I really question in the article was the statement that some argue putting the station in Dallas would be cheaper than DFW. I wonder why? I'm sure it is a few miles closer to Houston, but there would be higher costs associated with building a grade separated right of way in a congested urban center. DFW has room for a station, more parking available now and a less congested shot toward Houston. To me, it makes more sense to centrally locate your one station, if you want to serve the entire metroplex. One more thing why will fares "in some cases," be lower than airfares? It's not like there are very many destinations for riders, either they will or won't be less than airfare. With the Japanese behind this I give it a better shot at success than any other plans we have seen.

#13 elpingüino

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:03 PM

Dickson has an update on his Honkin' Mad blog:
Once bullet train riders arrive, they'll need a car - not enough mass transit here

"The tracks would likely be built on existing rail corridors and possibly some highway right-of-way, running roughly parallel to Interstate 45."

Since I-45 runs into downtown Dallas, maybe that's why it's cheaper. But this part makes it sound like a central location is more likely:

"Many elected officials favor putting a high-speed rail hub in or near Dallas Fort Worth Airport, or CentrePort development just south of the airport."

#14 Electricron

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:01 AM

Dickson has an update on his Honkin' Mad blog:
Once bullet train riders arrive, they'll need a car - not enough mass transit here

"The tracks would likely be built on existing rail corridors and possibly some highway right-of-way, running roughly parallel to Interstate 45."

Since I-45 runs into downtown Dallas, maybe that's why it's cheaper. But this part makes it sound like a central location is more likely:

"Many elected officials favor putting a high-speed rail hub in or near Dallas Fort Worth Airport, or CentrePort development just south of the airport."

Why do local officials, whether elected politicians or appointed planners, have any input where a privately ran and supported railroad runs? If they plan to follow the UP corridor or I-45 between Dallas and Houston, they'll be approaching Dallas through the Trinity River wetlands. If we can build a toll road between the levees, surely they could build a railroad there too. Downtown Dallas has far more public transportation available than anywhere else in the metroplex. The freeways supporting DFW Airport are already clogged with traffic, surely they couldn't handle the extra capacity needed to support heavily used trains. If the trains were scheduled to arrive and leave downtown Dallas between rush hours, the freeways, trains, and buses servicing downtown Dallas have additional capacity available for servicing the trains.

If DesertXpress isn't too worried about having public transportation available at either terminus station, I don't think TXHSR will either. DesertXpress will not even reach LA suburbs upon initial service, is it really necessary for TXHSR to enter either Dallas or Houston's outer freeway loops to be viable? DFW Airport and Love Field have survived to date without public transportation. What they have needed in the past were sufficient lanes in the highways and streets. And that's what TXHSR is going to need from local officials, a means for the public to access their stations without gridlock. I'm pretty sure TXHSR will be the one asking where they need that, not the opposite way around with local officials dictating where the stations will be located. At least, that's my opinion...

I think HSR stations at LBJ and I-45 in south Dallas and at HIA parallel to the Hardy Tollroad will be just as feasible initially as stations located in both city's downtowns. There's already sufficient highway lanes available. Considering it would costs DART approximately $1 Billion to build a light rail line to LBJ within urban neighborhoods, the HSR company could save potentially $2 Billion in initial capital costs building a suburbia to suburbia HSR corridor. They could still expand into the downtown districts later, if not further to Fort Worth and Galveston.

But, they still have to find the around $10 Billion to build it, and I'm not sure that's doable with the existing economy. Although Central Japan RR isn't poor and can probably raised the cash if they really wanted to. What I found most interesting in the news articles I've read, is the statement they don't need public funds to run it. I don't think that dismisses using public funds to finance building it, especially low interest government loans they plan to pay back later.

#15 johnfwd

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:57 AM

The planning of this high-speed rail route seems to have evolved from the initial idea that the Texas Central Railway group was trying to raise $10 billion to establish service between Fort Worth and Houston. Now the Japanese have entered the picture and regional planners are moving away from Fort Worth as a rail terminus in favor of DFW Airport or Dallas. Soon it will be Dallas. What's going on here is that regional planners are winning out over competition between Fort Worth and Dallas (as they did when DFW Airport was centrally located between the cities). If people in Fort Worth don't care about the future commercial economical growth of their city, then they will concede once more to Dallas. Let's all give a big cheer for the "Dallas Metroplex."

#16 elpingüino

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 03:31 PM

Now the Japanese have entered the picture and regional planners are moving away from Fort Worth as a rail terminus in favor of DFW Airport or Dallas. Soon it will be Dallas.


It looks like the Japanese company has been involved in this idea for a while:

"Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels spoke about efforts to lure private investment for a high-speed-rail system connecting Dallas-Fort Worth to Austin, Houston and College Station. Eckels is president of Lone Star High Speed Rail Llc., which is working with Japan's railway system to develop superfast trains in Texas." T plans for D/FW Airport rail connection languish, Star-Telegram, Feb. 19, 2011

The S-T article from Wednesday notes that Lone Star High-Speed Rail Llc. is a Japanese-U.S. partnership now known as Texas Central Railway.

#17 Electricron

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

I wanted to add another facet about Japanese operated HSR systems vs European systems. Generally, the Japanese RRs own the train stations, while in Europe the governments do. The Japanese RR companies often build huge developments near their train stations, along with other private companies. Often these developments are physically apart of the train stations. In Europe, the RR companies generally don't participate with these developments, they concentrate mainly on running the trains because they don't own the infrastructure.

So, if Central Texas HSR does build terminus stations in downtown Dallas and Houston, they're most likely going to want to own the stations and surrounding land for developments. In Dallas, there's the vacant Reunion property, likewise vacant land at the southern borders of DFW airport that might be enticing. I'm not sure where they could build a HSR terminating station in downtown Fort Worth. Neither the T&P or ITC stations in Fort Worth have lots of vacant space nearby, or easy exclusive access available for HSR tracks.

#18 renamerusk

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 01:29 PM

The Japanese RR companies often build huge developments near their train stations, along with other private companies. Often these developments are physically apart of the train stations.....they're most likely going to want to own the stations and surrounding land for developments....I'm not sure where they could build a HSR terminating station in downtown Fort Worth. Neither the T&P or ITC stations in Fort Worth have lots of vacant space nearby, or easy exclusive access available for HSR tracks.


I disagree with your observations. Are you,at all, familiar with Downtown Fort Worth?

The availability of land in Downtown Fort Worth is far less an issue than in Downtown Dallas (Reunion Station/Victory Park).  Without a doubt, there is ample room (a 5 city block stretch) for a HSR Transit/Retail project fronting Jones Street between 12th Street and Lancaster Ave. Land will not be an issue.

The issue that will favor Fort Worth and will become a deterrent for Dallas is a political one and can not be underestimated. Fort Worth/Tarrant County will not have the intense political blowback that Dallas/Dallas County will have from Southwest Airlines who very likely has already started up its effort to repeat their successful lobbying strategy over a decade ago against the Texas T-Bone HSR plans. Texas Central Railway, having gone through the Texas T-Bone battle, is well aware of the lobbying efforts of SWA; and this probably explains their reason for focusing on Tarrant County (Downtown Fort Worth/DFW-Centerport)

Here are my odds: DFW/Centerport or Downtown Fort Worth: Strong; Dallas: far less likely.

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#19 Electricron

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 09:59 PM

I disagree with your observations. Are you entirely familiar with Downtown Fort Worth?
The availability of land in Downtown Fort Worth is far less an issue than in Downtown Dallas (Reunion Station/Victory Park).
Without a doubt, there is ample room (a 5 city block stretch) for a HSR Transit/Retail project fronting Jones Street between 12th Street and Lancaster Ave. Land will not be an issue.
Here are my odds: DFW/Centerport or Downtown Fort Worth: Strong; Dallas: far less likely.


Fort Worth would have to overcome Tower 55 gridlock, and I don't see any access available for an additional dedicated HSR double track corridor. The building along Jones Street, the old Santa Fe station and sheds are Historic, and will not be as easy as you think to tear down. The TRE tracks blocks tracks to them skyways, although tracks to the east of the TRE and Amtrak tracks might be available. TRE uses old Rock Island corridor tracks to gain access into downtown Fort Worth, which will most likely not be available for non FRA compliant Central Texas HSR trains.

Meanwhile, the immediate rail corridor to the south of Union Station in Dallas is owned by the City. There's plenty of room to even use the existing viaduct over I-30 for more than two new tracks. Sure, it gets tight under the Convention Center- but that's precisely where I would place the HSR terminal in Dallas. There's plenty of public transportation access, available parking lots, and vacant lots nearby that could be used to build a fairly large TOD. That rail corridor was shared by MKT, Cotton Belt, T&P, SF, SP, KCS, RI; well by every passenger train servicing Union Station. Central Texas HSR should be able to get corridor access into Union Station area easier than into Fort Worth. Once the HSR tracks cross I-30 at grade, they could elevate them using the existing freight corridor or swing into the river floodway to get out of Dallas towards the south, towards Houston.

I don't see that easy an access corridor into downtown Fort Worth, just too many trains at Tower 55, and no easy and cheap way to bypass it either. Therefore, I strongly disagree with you.

#20 renamerusk

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:54 PM

Fort Worth would have to overcome Tower 55 gridlock, and I don't see any access available for an additional dedicated HSR double track corridor....the old Santa Fe station and sheds are Historic, and will not be as easy as you think to tear down.

Meanwhile, the immediate rail corridor to the south of Union Station in Dallas....... use the existing viaduct over I-30 for more than two new tracks....Convention Center... I would place the HSR terminal in Dallas.... Central Texas HSR should be able to get corridor access into Union Station area easier than into Fort Worth. Once the HSR tracks cross I-30 at grade, they could elevate them using the existing freight corridor or swing into the river floodway to get out of Dallas towards the south, towards Houston.

I don't see that easy an access corridor into downtown Fort Worth, just too many trains at Tower 55, and no easy and cheap way to bypass it either.


Lots here to chew upon; so lets start:

Let's see, Fort Worth is known as Cowtown, Panther City; and yes Tarantula City (railroad corridors). Fort Worth has never lacked sufficient RR corridor accessibility from any direction easily dispelling that issue.

DOT funds are already allocated for a new designed of the Tower 55 (T-55). I am unaware of any funding allocated for any similar railroad project in Dallas. This in itself is an incomparable advantage favoring Fort Worth and places its far ahead in the race. It is almost certain that Central Texas HSR (CT-HSR) is aware of the T-55 project and will be seeking to tap into the project's final design for obvious reasons.

Suggesting that historic buildings be torn down instead of being incorporated in a new project [see Sundance Square] is either short sighted thinking or hoping for an obstacle which would favor Dallas. If required or desired, the design engineers/planners can and will easily address the issues of historic structures.

I will suggest a closer look by you of the Southeast/Convention Center Sector of Downtown Fort Worth. There one will find a sizeable block of primed undeveloped land bound by Calhoun and Jones Streets. This area is a developer's dream ready for development. One can envisioned this relatively quiet and generally neglected sector of Downtown Fort Worth having the potential of being an unparalleled downtown complex of +40 and +60 story high rise associated and owned by CT-HSR that will have HSR connections to Houston and Oklahoma City and become the city's nexus of commuter rail and transit activity to the region well within the 2020 prospectus.

One may speculate about Dallas' HSR potential in the years to come and its is a nice wish list of unfunded elevated trackage and floodway control. Good luck in securing additional public funding. In the case of Fort Worth, one will actually see funded concrete action of new trackage and tunneling taking place at T- 55 in a year or so. It is a savvy move by CT-HSR who also sees the same concrete action, thus their timing to get their plans out now to take advantage of the T-55 project before it gets into high gear.

Its is a lot easier for CT-HSR to point to the T-55 construction that is soon to be underway than to pitch what could be done, if ever, along the Elm Branch of the Trinity River or along viaducts in Dallas when one is seeking to raise $10B from potential investors.

Keep Fort Worth folksy

#21 RD Milhollin

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:32 PM

DOT funds are already allocated for a new designed of the Tower 55 (T-55). I am unaware of any funding allocated for any similar railroad project in Dallas. This in itself is an incomparable advantage favoring Fort Worth and places its far ahead in the race. It is almost certain that Central Texas HSR (CT-HSR) is aware of the T-55 project and will be seeking to tap into the project's final design for obvious reasons.

I will suggest a closer look by you of the Southeast/Convention Center Sector of Downtown Fort Worth. There one will find a sizeable block of primed undeveloped land bound by Calhoun and Jones Streets. This area is a developer's dream ready for development. One can envisioned this relatively quiet and generally neglected sector of Downtown Fort Worth having the potential of being an unparalleled downtown complex of +40 and +60 story high rise associated and owned by CT-HSR that will have HSR connections to Houston and Oklahoma City and become the city's nexus of commuter rail and transit activity to the region well within the 2020 prospectus.

Keep Fort Worth folksy


Unless I missed something, the only substantial change approved for Tower 55 is adding a third North/South set of racks through the mess. This is going to be a temporary, costly, and ineffective solution to a real problem. The gridlock at Tower 55 will have to be addressed by a completely different set of businessmen and bureaucrats in about 10 to 15 years. Either of the alternate plans proposed to the immediate situation (trenches either N/S or less preferred, E/W) would have helped pave the way for HS rail entering into the downtown district: HS rail must operate above or below grade in heavy traffic areas. At this point in time it would be wise to try to factor into the plans regional commuter rail along a Fort Worth-Arlington-Dallas axis but that is not even a part of the current scheme. This is a shame, for as RR pointed out there is a big hole in the southwest part of downtown Fort Worth just covered over with old asphalt. There is a lot of potential there, with the local transportation nexus across the street (the enigmatically named ITC); the addition of HS rail would probably make a big impact on the area.

The sad truth is that Dallas has been very successful with new-millenium rail transportation and Fort Worth hasn't. That is going to be a big factor in helping the developers of this venture decide where the northern terminus of the proposed HS line will be. The HS rail is going to be looking to feed off of existing air traffic between the two areas, and that traffic originates in large part from Dallas Love Field and from DFW Airport. I don't hear Fort Worth in that equation. Why would Fort Worth be a terminus, bypassing both central Dallas and DFW? The only reason I could possibly imagine would be (sometime in the future when we are all relying on rail transit more routinely than today) if Fort Worth was THE regional rail (AMTRAK) hub, with routes from and to LA via El Paso, Shreveport to Atlanta, Denver to Salt Lake City, and OKC/KC/Chicago. Connecting into a regional network like that would be an advantage, but that potential is currently a pipe dream.

As much as I would like to have the convenience of HS rail transit from downtown Fort Worth to Houston, I would be VERY surprised to see that happen, except as a final stop on a system that included DFW, Downtown D, IAH, Downtown Houston, HOU, and possibly Galveston. To their credit, the leaders of Dallas have worked hard and smart for many years to develop an infrastructure and a culture that supports rail transit. The leaders of Fort Worth have completely dropped the ball and our city is decades behind. I continue to suggest that the ONLY way that we can hope to catch up anytime soon is to dissolve the T system and join DART. Perhaps in 10 to 15 years we would have some of the advantages Dallas has developed that would be attractive to developers of HS rail.

#22 renamerusk

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:44 AM

Unless I missed something, the only substantial change approved for Tower 55 is adding a third North/South set of racks through the mess. This is going to be a temporary, costly, and ineffective solution to a real problem. The gridlock at Tower 55 will have to be addressed by a completely different set of businessmen and bureaucrats in about 10 to 15 years. Either of the alternate plans proposed to the immediate situation (trenches either N/S or less preferred, E/W) would have helped pave the way for HS rail entering into the downtown district... The HS rail is going to be looking to feed off of existing air traffic between the two areas, and that traffic originates in large part from Dallas Love Field and from DFW Airport. I don't hear Fort Worth in that equation. Why would Fort Worth be a terminus, bypassing both central Dallas and DFW?....To their credit, the leaders of Dallas have worked hard and smart for many years to develop an infrastructure and a culture that supports rail transit.



As usual, Fort Worth is thought to have to assume the subordinate position in respect to Dallas. A report in The Fort Worth Business Press (5/4/12), may lead one to reasonably argue that the presumption of "Dallas and then Fort Worth" should not be necessarily so in this case.


There is still a strong desire in D.C. encouraging HSR. I imagine funding could be and would be found to accommodate HSR through Tower 55.

Nowhere in the report does Texas Railway Project express a need or a desire to connect with air service as is being speculated here. My guess is that HSR will be touted as a direct stand alone competitor to the airlines that serve the Metroplex-Houston corridor; and not as a coordinated companion to the airlines. HSR is not as attractive an alternative to air when it makes multiple stops within a region. (airports/downtowns/suburbs). Modeled like an airport, a HSR-port works more effectively and becomes more attractive when it travels point to point having two end terminals and perhaps a mid terminal. It is to be remembered that HSR is an intercity service and not a metropolitan transit system. Ideally, patrons arrive and board at one end terminal in a region and disembark at the end terminal in the destination region.

Here follows some parts of the report in the Fort Worth Business Press (5/4/12):

Breaking the news in Fort Worth first
"We're excited about the prospects [HSR]" said Robert Eckels, president of the Texas Railway Project, explaining the concept at the May 2 meeting of the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition in Fort Worth.

Stations
Train station locations in Fort Worth-Dallas and Houston have not been chosen, and a possible mid-point station or stations could be built in Waxahachie/ Midlothian or other sites. "Those are all options down the line," Eckels said. The project currently is undergoing engineering and alignment review before other issues are studied. As for potential station locations, none have been proposed, Eckels emphasized. "I'm agnostic on where the stops are," said Eckels, emphasizing that project representatives want to work with local communities.


Something that is worth noting is the line "stations could be built in Waxahachie, Midlothian…" This suggests to me that a direct route into Downtown Dallas is not a high priority; otherwise, stops along the northern portion of the I-45 corridor, a direct connector into Dallas, would have been mentioned but were not. Instead, Mr Eckels cited Waxahachie/Midlothian as potential stops on the route which suggests to me a more northwesterly oriented line coming into Tarrant County along US 287 corridor from I-45 via (Mansfield/Fort Worth or Grand Prairie/Arlington).


Also, breaking the news in Fort Worth amongst the ITC patrons instead of patrons at Dallas' Union Station should not be overlooked in the message that it sends.

Admittedly, these are intangible indicators, but I believe that Fort Worth may very well be in the forefront of this project.


#23 RD Milhollin

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:30 AM

Article in the S-T concerning RTC plan to study placing high-speed rail tracks in I-30 ROW

"It may never happen"

Interesting article on a far-sighted idea. This is not a plan to build a H-S system, but rather to identify likely routes that a future rail project could use to identify best routes through the region. This proposal intends to look at freeway corridors rather than freight lines as the best place for passenger rail, and wants to focus on east-west (I 30) routing as opposed to the usual north-south (SH 360) concept. It also intends to look at three regional stations (downtown Fort Worth, downtown Dallas, and Arlington Entertainment District) rather than a single central station at or near DFW Airport or in downtown Dallas, the locations most commonly identified in tentative plans.

I like the idea of two urban center stations, but three may be stretching it. H-S transportation systems depend on few stops in order to remain competitive with air travel, and the ability to deliver passengers right into where they actually want to be (in a city, not an airport) could be a deciding factor in which mode passengers choose. There is going to be local rail from both downtown Dallas and Fort Worth in the near future and so that reasoning for an Arlington station would seem to be baseless. I would hate to see the benefits of future H-S rail in this area compromised by an unneeded stop in a city that has consistently rejected modern transportation options. I would like to see the RTC study how future urban highway projects could incorporate planned ROW for passenger rail into their planning. If the recent reconstruction of I-30 between downtown Dallas and Arlington had included this contingency the cost of placing H-S rail lines would have been considerably less, with little additional cost for the highway project. As it is there are paved express/HOV/(toll ?) lanes that were not used for at least 5 years (are they being used yet?) that could have been set aside as part of a rail ROW. I also believe that the refusal of the UP Railroad to work with regional transportation authorities to study sharing ROW with passenger trains should be kept in mind when the UP asks for government funds to improve infrastructure, as in Tower 55 or in a future regional freight rail bypass.

#24 renamerusk

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:34 PM

...It also intends to look at three regional stations (downtown Fort Worth, downtown Dallas, and Arlington Entertainment District) rather than a single central station at or near DFW Airport or in downtown Dallas, the locations most commonly identified in tentative plans.....I also believe that the refusal of the UP Railroad to work with regional transportation authorities to study sharing ROW with passenger trains should be kept in mind when the UP asks for government funds to improve infrastructure, as in Tower 55 or in a future regional freight rail bypass.


Disagree with all but one of the commonly identified sites and agree with some arm twisting pressure upon UPRR; although my preferred HSR route would simply tunnel beneath the UPRR and make it largely irrelevant.

Could you provide more references for your comment "a single central station at or near DFW Airport or in downtown Dallas, the locations most commonly identified in tentative plans". I have been missing those announcements.

What I did read or hear was a press release at the ITC-Fort Worth citing the advantage to downtown Fort Worth with no mention of DFW or downtown Dallas.

This may be wishful thinking, but here are the advantages I took the HSR group might be referencing: the existing Amtrak connection between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth; the potential of a new Tower 55 design that could include ROW tunnel for both freight and HSR with proper lobbying of DOT. I would also hesitant to say, that there is less congestion to accommodate a HSR corridor between Fort Worth and Denton than between Dallas and Denton; and arguably less congestion through Southern Tarrant County than through Southern Dallas County. And sometimes overlook, but just as important, air service and HSR service are direct competitors. You will not get much support from Southwest Airlines or the airlines at DFW either from downtown Dallas or the airport as the German experience will attest to:

http://www.guardian....nds-city-planes

Keep Fort Worth folksy

#25 Electricron

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 12:22 AM


...It also intends to look at three regional stations (downtown Fort Worth, downtown Dallas, and Arlington Entertainment District) rather than a single central station at or near DFW Airport or in downtown Dallas, the locations most commonly identified in tentative plans.....I also believe that the refusal of the UP Railroad to work with regional transportation authorities to study sharing ROW with passenger trains should be kept in mind when the UP asks for government funds to improve infrastructure, as in Tower 55 or in a future regional freight rail bypass.


Disagree with all but one of the commonly identified sites and agree with some arm twisting pressure upon UPRR; although my preferred HSR route would simply tunnel beneath the UPRR and make it largely irrelevant.

Could you provide more references for your comment "a single central station at or near DFW Airport or in downtown Dallas, the locations most commonly identified in tentative plans". I have been missing those announcements.

What I did read or hear was a press release at the ITC-Fort Worth citing the advantage to downtown Fort Worth with no mention of DFW or downtown Dallas.

This may be wishful thinking, but here are the advantages I took the HSR group might be referencing: the existing Amtrak connection between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth; the potential of a new Tower 55 design that could include ROW tunnel for both freight and HSR with proper lobbying of DOT. I would also hesitant to say, that there is less congestion to accommodate a HSR corridor between Fort Worth and Denton than between Dallas and Denton; and arguably less congestion through Southern Tarrant County than through Southern Dallas County. And sometimes overlook, but just as important, air service and HSR service are direct competitors. You will not get much support from Southwest Airlines or the airlines at DFW either from downtown Dallas or the airport as the German experience will attest to:

http://www.guardian....nds-city-planes

Keep Fort Worth folksy


A triple track north to south alignment underpass of the east to west UP mainline at Tower 55 barely accommodates future freight traffic, the three tracks being shared by UP and BNSF freights, and a few commuter rail passenger trains. The proposed underpass will barely clears double stack container trains, there's no way a 25KV catenary wiring system for HSR trains will clear. Therefore, forget real 150+ mph HSR trains being proposed being able to use the half a billion Tower 55 underpass, although diesel powered 80 to 90 mph trains should be able to use it. What I'm suggesting is that one size doesn't fit all trains. I'm not even sure BNSF and UP would want to share the underpass with HSR trains.

Rail between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City most likely will be 90 mph trains over BNSF tracks. Likewise to Temple, and along existing UP tracks further south to Austin and San Antonio. It's the very lucrative, potentially profitable, Dallas to Houston market that's being isolated and privately studied for 150+ mph trains. They're looking at building one leg of the Texas Triangle, at least initially, or the Texas T-Bone.

Don't confuse private and public studies.

#26 renamerusk

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 09:58 PM


.....I also believe that the refusal of the UP Railroad to work with regional transportation authorities to study sharing ROW with passenger trains should be kept in mind when the UP asks for government funds to improve infrastructure, as in Tower 55 or in a future regional freight rail bypass.


What I'm suggesting is that one size doesn't fit all trains. I'm not even sure BNSF and UP would want to share the underpass with HSR trains.....Dallas to Houston market that's being isolated and privately studied for 150+ mph trains. They're looking at building one leg of the Texas Triangle, at least initially, or the Texas T-Bone.

Don't confuse private and public studies.


Maybe you can explain how I may be confusing private and public studies? But for now, here is my take with my rationale -

The point that was being made regarding Tower 55 was that if public money is being used to modernize the interchange, then the public interest should be considered; and that could mean an upgraded Amtrak/HSR ROW designed to be compatible with freight ROW. I strongly suspect that HSR/freight ROW can engineered in a compatible way and is very likely in use in other countries. Leading to the next point in your comments by citing this true and anecdotal headline in a press release:


"Cowboys Stadium in Dallas to host college championship games" –CBS Sports

Much too frequent and to my displeasure, media organizations and outsiders refer to the North Texas Region as "Dallas". As locals, we know better.

I suspect that the private venture group Texas Central Railway is doing just that when it refers to a Houston to "Dallas" HSR. It has been publicized that Fort Worth, Dallas and DFW Airport are potential sites of a HSR station.


Yet, as I read with prejudice the tea leaves, I tend to believe that Fort Worth is actually the best choice of the three for the advantages that it has and which are listed below:

(1) It is the path of least resistance politically (see #4)

(2) It has funding already in the works to modernize the downtown interchange and additional money could be allocated should a design be submitted to include passenger rail service

(3) It is on the existing North/South Passenger Corridor linking Houston to DFW and possibly on to Oklahoma.

(4) Southwest Airlines will, as it did it the past, split Dallas and lobby strongly against Texas Central Railways project, as it did so successfully against the Texas T-Bone. Both Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby are major clogs in Southwest Airlines system and its plans. Southwest Airlines just received approval to build for Houston a new terminal that Southwest Airlines will use for international flights. Southwest rightfully views HSR as a direct competitor to its link between the two regions.

(5) The security process at airports make using HSR out of DFW inconvenient for the last minute hop a train to Houston passenger. Trains have a reputation for being on time; whereas weather and equipment issues regularly disrupt air service; making air to rail connections dubious. In addition, the airlines at DFW are no more sympathetic to HSR than Southwest Airlines.

I suspect that the reason why the initial announcement of the Houston to "Dallas" HSR was held in downtown Fort Worth is that Texas Central Railway (aka Texas T-Bone) remembers their bloody battles with Southwest Airlines and feels that Texas Central Railway is likely to receive yet again a less than enthusiastic reception from Dallas factions; and to my knowledge, that describes their reception from Dallas so far. On the other hand, Fort Worth was very welcoming of the project.

For them to be successful this time, Texas Central Railway must be smarter and will very likely want to pursue the path of least resistance. In this battle to build a successful Texas HSR system, the advantages and the path go to downtown Fort Worth.

Keep Fort Worth folksy

#27 Electricron

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 11:13 PM

Maybe you can explain how I may be confusing private and public studies? But for now, here is my take with my rationale -

The point that was being made regarding Tower 55 was that if public money is being used to modernize the interchange, then the public interest should be considered; and that could mean an upgraded Amtrak/HSR ROW designed to be compatible with freight ROW. I strongly suspect that HSR/freight ROW can engineered in a compatible way and is very likely in use in other countries. Leading to the next point in your comments by citing this true and anecdotal headline in a press release:


"Cowboys Stadium in Dallas to host college championship games" –CBS Sports

Much too frequent and to my displeasure, media organizations and outsiders refer to the North Texas Region as "Dallas". As locals, we know better.

I suspect that the private venture group Texas Central Railway is doing just that when it refers to a Houston to "Dallas" HSR. It has been publicized that Fort Worth, Dallas and DFW Airport are potential sites of a HSR station.


Yet, as I read with prejudice the tea leaves, I tend to believe that Fort Worth is actually the best choice of the three for the advantages that it has and which are listed below:

(1) It is the path of least resistance politically (see #4)

(2) It has funding already in the works to modernize the downtown interchange and additional money could be allocated should a design be submitted to include passenger rail service

(3) It is on the existing North/South Passenger Corridor linking Houston to DFW and possibly on to Oklahoma.

(4) Southwest Airlines will, as it did it the past, split Dallas and lobby strongly against Texas Central Railways project, as it did so successfully against the Texas T-Bone. Both Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby are major clogs in Southwest Airlines system and its plans. Southwest Airlines just received approval to build for Houston a new terminal that Southwest Airlines will use for international flights. Southwest rightfully views HSR as a direct competitor to its link between the two regions.

(5) The security process at airports make using HSR out of DFW inconvenient for the last minute hop a train to Houston passenger. Trains have a reputation for being on time; whereas weather and equipment issues regularly disrupt air service; making air to rail connections dubious. In addition, the airlines at DFW are no more sympathetic to HSR than Southwest Airlines.

I suspect that the reason why the initial announcement of the Houston to "Dallas" HSR was held in downtown Fort Worth is that Texas Central Railway (aka Texas T-Bone) remembers their bloody battles with Southwest Airlines and feels that Texas Central Railway is likely to receive yet again a less than enthusiastic reception from Dallas factions; and to my knowledge, that describes their reception from Dallas so far. On the other hand, Fort Worth was very welcoming of the project.

For them to be successful this time, Texas Central Railway must be smarter and will very likely want to pursue the path of least resistance. In this battle to build a successful Texas HSR system, the advantages and the path go to downtown Fort Worth.

Keep Fort Worth folksy

(1) Is Fort Worth really politically friendly to HSR? Downtown Fort Worth is completely blocked in by freight rail corridors. A true HSR system using electric powered locomotives and non FRA compliant trains would require complete grade separation from the freight lines. That would be an engineering challenge with I-35E to the east and I-30 to the south forcing a third tier of access.
(2) Tower 55 has funding in place to install a third north-south track at Tower 55 at grade. The proposed triple track grade separated ditch has not been funded.
(3) Tower 55 and downtown Fort Worth aren't on the existing passenger line heading for Houston. I-45 doesn't go to Fort Worth either.
(4) SW Airlines was successful preventing government funding for past Texas HSR projects. That's why Central Texas doesn't want any public funds, and are looking at 100% private sourced funding. SW Airlines will have ZERO influence over selling private bonds.
(5) Finally a comment I can agree. Too bad Central Texas isn't planning to go to DFW Airport or Love Field.
Additionally, the new NCTCOG study is along I-30, which goes nowhere near either airport. It also means HSR entering downtown Fort Worth from the east, not from the north or south.

#28 johnfwd

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:11 AM

I’m no expert on the political, engineering, and fiscal ramifications of high-speed rail. But it seems to me that private capital and public planning should focus on the needs of consumer travelers in the major urban areas. The builders of the interstate highway system recognized this regarding the Dallas-Fort Worth area. So they built two Interstate 35s—one through Dallas and the other through Fort Worth. The mergers occurred around Waco to the south and Denton to the north. I know this would be too much money for the economically hard-pressed Japanese underwriters of the Texas Central Railway, but maybe they should consider two north-south railway lines across the great state of Texas—Houston to Dallas to Oklahoma City and points in between, and Houston to Fort Worth to OKC, etc. Fanciful thinking I know, but it wasn’t so when the interstate highways were built.

#29 renamerusk

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:11 PM

(1) Is Fort Worth really politically friendly to HSR?....
(2) Tower 55 has funding in place to install a third north-south track at Tower 55 at grade....
(3) Tower 55 and downtown Fort Worth aren't on the existing passenger line heading for Houston.....
(4) SW Airlines was successful preventing government funding ....SW Airlines will have ZERO influence over selling private bonds.
(5) Finally a comment I can agree. Too bad Central Texas isn't planning to go to DFW Airport or Love Field....Additionally, the new NCTCOG study is along I-30....


(1) Yes without a doubt, Fort Worth is politically friendlier to HSR than Dallas. There is not the airline corporate giant of Southwest Airlines influencing FW as there is influences Dallas. Earlier in this same blog, I included a story from Germany which demonstrates how HSR has become a direct competitor to airlines; and something that SWA is certainly aware of. You can count on SWA not sitting idly as a new competitor enters our market; and that SWA has already placed a call to Dallas City Hall. As to the second point of FW being blocked in by freight rail corridors, I would describe that as being a physical issue than a political issue. You ignore the fact that downtown Dallas is completely blocked in by freeways.


(2) So you believe that funding is not possible for Tower 55 to accommodate both freight and HSR passenger service. I do not believe so. I think that the only thing that would prevent funding is a lack of will; not a lack of imagination. Engineers are capable of making some amazing designs.


(3) Yes Fort Worth is on the existing passenger line to Houston. Today, the only way to travel to Houston from DFW is by way of downtown Fort Worth with connection via San Antonio. Is there passenger service to Houston using rail that parallels I45? Unless you have knowledge that a downtown Dallas station has already been selected over the other options and that you have also concluded that Texas Central Railway would not want to extend their route eventually into Oklahoma, I find I45 north of Corsicana to be a route with a number of disadvantages. Would you suggest that Central Expressway is a potential corridor as well as the SMU/Park Cities area? Fort Worth's current lack of development relative to North Dallas' is again the path of least resistance for extending the HSR northward.


(4) SW Airlines was successful preventing government funding because it persuaded the Dallas delegation that thousands of airline related local jobs in the Dallas Area would be lost. And Dallas was also hoping to re-open Love Field to more and more air service which SW Airlines has done. Though SWA will have as you may believe, zero influence over selling private bonds, it will, as it has demonstrated in the past, mount a vigorous campaign to dissuade potential lenders from investing by using its considerable financial resources to subsidized low cost airfares between Dallas and Houston; a strategy that brought down many, many of its competitors.


(5) A station at DFW Airport is a recipe for failure. The security checks and weather related missed-connections that are plagued airlines is a business plan nightmare for scheduled rail service accustomed to being ontime. What route would you consider politically and financially feasible between downtown Dallas and Love Field? I sometimes believe that the NCTCOG studies are just fancible exercises. One wonders where was the so call vision of the NCTCOG HSR study before or during the redesign and current reshaping of I30 between Dallas and Fort Worth? If one is to accept their latest study, HSR will plow through Southern Dallas, downtown Dallas and then through Grand Prairie/Arlington and end in downtown Fort Worth…WOW! Not only is this unimaginable, it is detrimental to a HSR system which must minimize the number of stop and go points along its route. Their latest study appears to be their natural inclination to include as many of its membership communities in their study as they can.


(6) As to their press release, I am unaware of Central Texas Railway ever mentioning a I30 HSR corridor though they did mention the communities of Waxahachie and Midlothian; and if you connected the dots between Houston and then to Waxahachie and Midlothian and then to North Texas, its would create a straight line towards and into Fort Worth.

#30 RD Milhollin

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:32 PM

Here is a little different perspective on the Texas HSR situation: Houston to DFW (or just Dallas)

http://impactnews.co...team-in-houston

I am sure the several deletions of the "/Fort Worth" when identifying the northern terminus of the HSR link was unintentional, sort of like flight attendants on certain airlines announcing the plane will be on the ground in Dallas in 22 minutes. To me the article does not do a very good job of distinguishing when referring to true high speed (Texas Central and THSRC ideas) versus other, state-supported trains designed to run-on conventional tracks at around 150 mph. The surprise to me was that a Houston to Austin route seems to be at least one of the favored options to get things going in Texas, although this could be a result of reporting to the intended audience (north Houston) what they want to hear. It is a little refreshing to see something in writing about what it would take to get more conventional passenger rail working on a state-wide basis; the HSR rail is very speculative right now, and although expensive will no doubt cost more the longer implementation is delayed. The 150 mph trains could be running on limited routes in less than two years for a fraction of what HSR would cost.

#31 renamerusk

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:35 PM

... The surprise to me was that a Houston to Austin route seems to be at least one of the favored options to get things going in Texas....[TX DOT]


What is more of a surprise to me is that Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT) should be interested at all in an alternative means of transportation for the state that would obviously favor an interest other then its traditional interests: the Highway and Petroleum industries.

Keep Fort Worth folksy

#32 RD Milhollin

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:36 PM

What is more of a surprise to me is that Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT) should be interested at all in an alternative means of transportation for the state that would obviously favor an interest other then its traditional interests: the Highway and Petroleum industries.


Yeah, that too.

#33 Electricron

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:06 PM

Forget 150 mph trains running on freight owned tracks. Not even Obama with Billions of Federal funds can get that for his beloved State of Illinois. The major freight railroads operating in Texas aren't going to support faster than 90 mph trains on their tracks. I've posted links to TXDOT reports before suggesting 90 mph being financially achievable, not 110 or 150 mph on existing freight owned rail corridors.

At best, you might see 150 mph trains on State owned highway corridors. Most Texas highways have curve radii designed for less than 100 mph operations, which means that will also be the max speed limits for HSR in them too. There are tricks trains can have, like higher superelveation of the tracks on curves, than highways, especially tracks for passenger trains only. The basic physics behind curve radii is well known to engineers.

I'm happy that TXDOT has started studying different rail corridors throughout the State, but the idea of having 150 mph trains on existing freight owned corridors are just dreams, physically not possible at any price.

There's a reason why privately funded HSR advocacy organizations suggest building 220 mph trains in brand new corridors. The obvious reason being that HSR, no matter your definition of speed, is impossible on the existing freight owned corridors. I'm getting sick and tired pointing that "TRUTH" out.

#34 FoUTASportscaster

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:35 PM

In several posts, there was reference to Southwest opposing any plans to connect the region with Houston, like they have in past with regards to HSR efforts.

The lifting of the Wright Amendment will likely reduce a lot of those smaller distance flights in favor of the longer, more lucrative flights. Finacially, they just don't have the same dog in the fight they did over 20 years ago.

#35 Volare

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

I'm shocked, just shocked I tell you, to see that removal of Fort Worth from this high speed rail line is already being discussed :rolleyes:

 

http://www.star-tele...rail-study.html



#36 RD Milhollin

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

There is no need to have a stop in-between Fort Worth and Dallas. Putting more stations slows the overall point-to-point time and decreases the "High-Speed" in HSR. In order for this sort of project to work it is going to have to be competitive time-wise with Love-to-Hobby flights. The Mid-Cities attractions and the airport should be served by regional commuter rail (or DART, depending upon which side one is approaching from). Let Arlington deal with their problems separate from the regional question since they have rejected it several times. Taxpayers there are willing to fund private stadiums, they can find a way. HSR works on spoke/distribution networks, and there is no "spoke" potential in the mid-cities.

 

There should have been provision made for rail down the middle of I-30 when it was rebuild in Dallas County several years ago. In fact, ANY TIME an urban freeway is built there should be provision for rail ROW down the center or off to the side, which ever is more feasible. Well, too late now for I-30, except in Tarrant County. That highway will need to be upgraded to match the Dallas County side at some point, and the EIS could be done for both projects simultaneously. It is apparent that from their profit-oriented POV that service to Fort Worth is not feasible without supports. Regional leaders are going to have to get their act together quickly (well, over the next several years anyway) to get a line that connects to Fort Worth. Don't count on Dallas to support this. Otherwise, it will probably be easy to argue that the TRE is a feeder that can connect DTFW to the Central Union Station in Dallas that the planners for TCR are willing to build to.



#37 Electricron

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:37 PM

I'm shocked, just shocked I tell you, to see that removal of Fort Worth from this high speed rail line is already being discussed :rolleyes:

 

http://www.star-tele...rail-study.html

I'm not shocked. We're talking about an 100% private enterprise building the 200 mph HSR line between Dallas and Houston. It's the private enterprise doing this leg of the environmental studies, not NCTCOG, TXDOT, FWTA, or DART. Amtrak doesn't provide New York City with more than one central station for Acela trains, why would anyone think a private enterprise would desire to have more than a public one?

There's one common alternate route to enter Houston and Dallas, that's I-45. NCTCOG, without doing any formal studies, show I-45 being the basic route for a 200 mph train into Dallas. NCTCOG also shows 200 mph trains following the UP corridor or I-30 between Dallas and Fort Worth. The TRE corridor is recommended for train speeds less than 110 mph. There's no way lightweight, Japanese HSR trains will be able to share a corridor with FRA complaint freight or passenger trains without significant modifications. 

 

The alternate 200 mph HSR route into the DFW metroplex is along SH 360 all the way to DFW Airport and placing the HSR terminal there. This route skips both downtowns. The alternate 200 mph HSR route into Houston is along the lightly used UP corridor or US 290. This alternate route would allow HSR lines to both Dallas and Austin to share trackage as far as Hempstead, if not College Station.  If this route was selected, they wouldn't necessarily have to reach downtown Houston, they could locate the HSR terminal at Loop 610. 

 

Costs for purchasing land increases sharply as you enter metropolitan first ring suburbs, and sharply again as you enter the inner cities. A HSR line can avoid significant costs by avoiding the inner cites altogether. There really isn't a great choice to locate a HSR station in downtown Houston. The only place there is room in downtown Dallas is located south of I-30, nearer DART's Cedars Station than Union Station. 

 

Read NCTCOG's initial feasibility study for a commuter rail from Union Station to Waxahachie following the BNSF line. A flyover would be needed to cross from the west side of the UP tracks to the east side, so the trains could use the commuter tracks and platforms at Union Station. NCTCOG's Michael Morris  stopped suggesting a quick implementation of this commuter rail corridor upon learning that stumbling block. 

 

Besides, there's no way Dallas to Houston HSR trains would be satisfied with the sole platform Amtrak's Texas Eagle uses. There isn't room to add more tracks or platforms at Union Station. They, private enterprise, will have to build a new platform anyways, so why not build an entirely new station slightly south, or further south? I believe a HSR station near I-20 would be just as feasible as downtown Dallas, with lots of room for parking, and potentially a connection to DART's Blue Line. That last 10 miles or so north of I-20 could easily cost the HSR line an additional  $Billion$, and likewise an additional $Billion$ could be saved not entering downtown Houston as well, When they're hoping to build the HSR line for $10 Billion, a $2 Billion savings is significant.

 

Which brings up this question, if the private enterprise HSR doesn't reach all the way into downtown Dallas, how is it ever going to enter the I-30 corridor to get to Arlington and Fort Worth? Publicly supported rail lines can sometimes raise the money to reach hard to get places, private enterprises avoid unnecessarily expenditures if they deem it isn't required for their business model to work. Even DART couldn't afford to build the Green Line under Love Field. The Cotton Belt is expected to cost up to $2 Billion, I suggest extending the HSR line from Dallas to Fort Worth could easily top that figure. Do I need to remind you the private enterpise hopes to connect Dallas to Houston for $10 Billion? Not every HSR line in Europe or Asia reach the central business districts, why must they always do so in America?



#38 renamerusk

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:53 AM

I'm shocked, just shocked I tell you, to see that removal of Fort Worth from this high speed rail line is already being discussed :rolleyes:

 

Yes, it is freaking uncanny!  I could not finish reading the article until I had some time to stop fuming.

 

Sadly, this scenario is repeated time and time again whenever regional rail projects, whether streetcars, commuter rail or high speed rail is proposed.  How is it that supposedly bright and visionary people misunderstand what actually are the pieces that comprise the region of North Texas instead of completing an in depth study to arrive at some basic facts and history about  North Texas?   One would think that a dead giveaway would be the designation of the region as “Dallas/Fort Worth” or that our major airport bears the monocle DFW; a regional designation which is almost unique in the country.    

 

So Texas Central Railway (TCR) is surprised already about some of the initial pushback that they are getting from “35W”.   I am glad that they are getting an earful and perhaps getting the feeling that nothing short of a “35W” station is needed for this project to have regional wide support.

 

TCR even envision that the “35W” folks will drive 30-40 mins or take a 55 min sporadic commuter rail to downtown Dallas to board a two hour plus train ride to Houston; or for that matter that riders from a large section of Far North Dallas, Collins and Denton Counties will be more inclined to drive to a downtown station  to travel to Houston instead of taking a flight from Love Field or the McKinney/Collin County regional airport now in the planning.  To be charitable, TCR can be excused as they are new to the region.

 

 

Yet, what is simply appalling and inexcusable is that the Texas Department of Transportation could be so stupid as to think that it could float a Houston to Dallas rail project under the guise of working in the North Texas Region while at the same time setting aside the requirements and interests of Texas’ third most populous county.   The fact that is a private venture will garner little sympathy from Tarrant County and it would be a dereliction of duty for “35W’ to remain silent; and I am betting on and encouraging the Tarrant County Delegation to make its voice heard at Tex DOT.

 

Without a major turn towards a greater inclusive perspective, this project is surely doomed before it ever leaves the station.  To proceed without including “35W’ interests already has the potential to flame increasing discontent for current rail projects and the prospects for regional cooperation now and long into the future.



#39 jefffwd

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

Who wants to go to Houston? :laugh:



#40 Electricron

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

Yet, what is simply appalling and inexcusable is that the Texas Department of Transportation could be so stupid as to think that it could float a Houston to Dallas rail project under the guise of working in the North Texas Region while at the same time setting aside the requirements and interests of Texas third most populous county.   The fact that is a private venture will garner little sympathy from Tarrant County and it would be a dereliction of duty for 35W to remain silent; and I am betting on and encouraging the Tarrant County Delegation to make its voice heard at Tex DOT.
 
Without a major turn towards a greater inclusive perspective, this project is surely doomed before it ever leaves the station.  To proceed without including 35W interests already has the potential to flame increasing discontent for current rail projects and the prospects for regional cooperation now and long into the future.

You've got to be kidding!
Have you ever read potential riders of Amtrak's Heartland Flyer from I-35E regions threatening to not ride because that train terminates at I-35W? You haven't because that's how that cookie crumbled.

Trains have always been built piecemeal, sections at a time. I see nothing wrong with TXDOT breaking up the Dallas to Houston HSR EIS studies into two, three, four, or as many sections needed. Every DART light rail line has been built piecemeal as well, it 's not unusual.

#41 renamerusk

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:15 PM

You've got to be kidding!....that's how that cookie crumbled...I see nothing wrong with TXDOT breaking up the Dallas to Houston HSR EIS studies into two, three, four, or as many sections needed...

 

Who is kidding whom?

 

Aside for not directly addressing the part of my quote singled out, it appears that there are some rogue “brownies” in the ether suggesting that it is just the way that the cookies crumble and with the implications that we should just get over it as the rationale being offered.  Well that is not entirely how this is going to go down.  It is now time for a lesson in some badly needed geography/politics:

 

Dallas, Ennis, Freestone, Harris, Leon, Madison, Montgomery, Navarro and Walker – these are the I-45 Texas Central Railway High-speed Railroad (HSR) Corridor Counties. Where is Tarrant County?; and did Texas Central Railway (TCR) think that we would not notice! 

 

It is worth taking the time to read again the first post in this thread and then to read post #35 for the latest news to appreciate how TCR appeared to use “regionalism” as a “bait and switch” ploy to garner Tarrant County's support to achieve what it seems it wanted all along - a Dallas station only.  Now, TCR and others say that they are in disbelief as to how there can be any indignation coming their way and probably at the way of TXDOT too. Why indignation? Here is what TCR did – it makes its opening announcement of a Houston to Fort Worth HSR at Fort Worth’s Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC) and generates great excitement and anticipation, even utilizing the offices of Harris County Judge and Tarrant County officials.  Why then at ITC and not in Dallas? Why have there ever been any formal announcements about the HSR project held in Dallas County; perhaps someone can be kind enough to provide us with a date of an announcement; and if not, a reason for it not having been done so.

 

Hmmm; could it be that Southwest Airlines is headquartered in Dallas County. We all know too well, SWA is a fierce competitor, it is one of Dallas’ largest corporation and employer; and oh by the way, SWA has opposed every HSR initiatives in the past and it is understood that it will oppose any HSR initiatives now and in the future.  If TCR wants Dallas, then go and slew SWA - Fort Worth and Tarrant County want nothing to do with that battle when there is nothing for them in return.

 

We get it that TCR is funding their project through private investments; and to that point, not our money so no real controversy.  However, TCR should stop misleading officials in Tarrant County; and serve their “cookies” where they will be better appreciated, along the I-45 corridor.  So here lies the rub in my opinion: It was disingenuous for TCR to imply that Tarrant County and Fort Worth/Arlington would be intricate pieces of their plan; they just as well have made their announcement in downtown Weatherford than Fort Worth;  and thus the sense of disappointment and cause for shock.

 

In the end, I don’t believe that the TCR HSR will ever come to fruition for multiple reasons; at the top, strong and unrelenting competition from both SWA and United Airlines; the fact that the total amount of passengers between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth have been declining annually; Southern Dallas Sector's politics; and the extremely car centric culture of Texas overall will be enough to scare away many thoughtful investors. At this point, it almost seems a waste of public money to fund any EIS with such formidable opposition laying in the wake.  And oh by the way, as some of us may remember, the thought of cows refusing to produce milk from fear of the sound of bullet trains.

 

One thing that I hope that this public miscue will finally produce is a real discussion about establishing a regional airport in the western portion of Tarrant County; and idea whose time I believe is rapidly approaching as I have reasoned for in another thread.  If, by some miracle, TCR is successful in building a Dallas to Houston HSR, then I believe the airlines will be fully supportive of regional airports in Collin County and Fort Worth to both increase their service points and to place even greater pressure on the viability of a single station HSR plan.



#42 Electricron

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:57 AM

Aside for not directly addressing the part of my quote singled out, it appears that some rogue “brownies” in the ether suggesting that it is just the way that the cookies crumble; with the implications that we should just get over it is the rationale being offered.  Well that is not entirely how this is going to go down.  It is now time for a lesson in some badly needed geography/politics:

You also did not directly answer my comments about the Heartland Flyer not heading to Dallas every day!

 

What's good for the goose is also good for the gander. Fort Worth can continue to keep a direct train to Oklahoma City, and let Dallas have the direct train to Houston! Fair is Fair!

 

You don't have a leg to stand on!



#43 renamerusk

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:04 AM

You also did not directly answer my comments about the Heartland Flyer not heading to Dallas every day!....What's good for the goose is also good for the gander. Fort Worth can continue to keep a direct train to Oklahoma City, and let Dallas have the direct train to Houston! Fair is Fair!.....

You don't have a leg to stand on!

 

Two points that you seem to find incomprehensible or you choose to simply ignore:

 

First: the issue that you have surrounding the Heartland Flyer is with Amtrak and their agreement to use existing privately owned freight lines as a part of its overall system; not with Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

 

Amtrak uses the best available existing freight tracks under an agreement with private railway companies.  There is no mainline connection between Dallas and Oklahoma City comparable to the BNSF mainline that connects Fort Worth to Oklahoma City, thus the Heartland Flyer via existing mainline freight tracks comes to Fort Worth and not to Dallas to connect to the Texas Eagle in Fort Worth. 

 

While Dallas and Fort Worth are each on the E/W mainline of the Union Pacific, it requires the N/S mainline in Fort Worth to allowing both Dallas and Fort Worth to Austin and San Antonio first via Union Pacific mainlines through Arlington to Fort Worth, then southward again on BNSF mainline to San Antonio and eventually to Houston.  By the way, it Fort Worth it is known as Tower 55 or The Iron Curtain.

 

The difference,  Dallas’ goose is not on the mainline between OKC and Fort Worth’s gander is….one leg down; one leg to go!

 

Second: Texas Central Railway (TCR) proposal for High Speed Rail is for newly constructed non-existing rails to be place within the right of way and parallel to existing freight tracks.  Here is an excerpt taken from a news article outlining TCR plans:

 

"Also undecided is precisely where the tracks would be built. The rail line could be installed in existing freight railroad right of way between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, but it would have to be separate from freight operations, Eckels said. Such a move would require the cooperation of freight companies such as Union Pacific Railroad and Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway, which own many of the tracks in Texas".

 

This explains the need for an EIS.  This fact, newly constructed track, added to the Amtrak fact previously outline makes your comments irrelevant.. second leg down; all legs gone!

 

Perhaps it is time to evaluate your own standings in this matter.



#44 JBB

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

Arguing over this is like arguing over whether or not green beans will prevail over carrots in the next city council election.



#45 johnfwd

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:04 PM

Arguing over this is like arguing over whether or not green beans will prevail over carrots in the next city council election.

 

Green beans versus carrots may be a matter of preference if you can't grow both, for whatever reason. But both vegetables complement a healthy diet   Maybe we as a country will be grappling over the next decade as to whether high-speed rail should replace the interstate highway system and the regional air travel network or decide they are complementary.  I wish we could have all three in the fullness of time but that would cost a lot of money.  And I'm having second thoughts as to whether Fort Worth will lose out or not, because our city is included in the scheme, eventually.  If I recall, I35W was completed long after I35E.  And Loop 820 was completed long after I-635.  And Fort Worth's T rail system is progressing slowly, still far behind DART's, but we'll get there.  It just takes us longer to catch up to Dallas.



#46 JBB

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

My point was that arguing over the planned route is a futile effort.  HSR isn't going to happen.



#47 AndyN

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:26 PM

As page moderator, I feel like this is the point where John, god rest his weary soul, would step in and ask everyone to avoid any appearance of an ad-hominem attack and keep things civil. Thanks.


Www.fortwortharchitecture.com

#48 renamerusk

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

My point was that arguing over the planned route is a futile effort.  HSR isn't going to happen.

 

Okay, pretty much agree with you about it ever happening.  Too much rancor.

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#49 Electricron

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:01 AM

Second: Texas Central Railway (TCR) proposal for High Speed Rail is for newly constructed non-existing rails to be place within the right of way and parallel to existing freight tracks.  Here is an excerpt taken from a news article outlining TCR plans: "Also undecided is precisely where the tracks would be built. The rail line could be installed in existing freight railroad right of way between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, but it would have to be separate from freight operations, Eckels said. Such a move would require the cooperation of freight companies such as Union Pacific Railroad and Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway, which own many of the tracks in Texas".

 

It's UP stated policy that they demand 50 feet clearance between their freight tracks and any tracks carrying passenger trains over 90 mph. Since most rail corridors are usually 100 feet wide, and the existing freight track usually runs in the center, the UP is basically stating they will not allow passenger trains running faster than 90 mph in their corridor. Whereas they don't actually state that outright, that will be the result of UP's stated policy.  It'll take a lot of extra money to make the UP change its mind. The only places within a UP corridor you'll see new passenger train tracks is where the trains will be going slower than 90 mph, for entry and exit of fairly dense cities and at station locations.

 

FEC will be building new 125 mph tracks mostly within a turnpike corridor between Orlando and Cocoa. They will not be purchasing the row, they're planning on leasing it for a nominal fee. I suggest that's what will happen in Texas too. Why purchase a corridor, or pay the freights lots of money to lease, when you should be able to get a lease from TXDOT for far less money? 

 

Here's the latest Intercity Rail Presentation pdf published by NCTCOG. Take a very close look at where the 200 mph HSR corridors are entering Dallas/Fort Worth: Freeway Corridors.

http://www.nctcog.or...e.rtc090811.pdf

The freight rail corridors are suggested for trains speeds of 110 mph or less entering Dallas/Fort Worth.

The three suggested alternates in that presentation between Dallas and Houston are a UP corridor, a BNSF corridor, and the I-45 corridor.

 

While the studies are just beginning, the possibility that Japan East might build and operate the HSR trains using private funding only, up to $10 Billion of investment, they're going to choose the cheapest and most friendly solution, that will be I-45 - for the reasons I stated above. The only TXDOT support they will seek and need will be that cheap lease of as much of the I-45 corridor they can use for ROW. They will not initially build extensions of their line to Fort Worth and Galveston. It'll cost too much to do so.

 

And I definitely would like to point out that I-45 does not enter Tarrant County.

 

The "Higher" Speed Rail line from Oklahoma City to South Texas will probably go through Fort Worth, that's where the existing freight lines run. But that's an entirely different rail project untaken and operated by a different company - Amtrak.



#50 RD Milhollin

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:15 AM

Thanks for posting the link to that presentation. Several individual points in it cause me to ask a couple of questions:

 

Is there any move toward developing a national standard for HSR systems? Will the plans being developed in the different parts of the country allow for seamless integration of tracks, trains, signals, etc. at some future date? There was a similar problem in the 1800s as different companies built lines that used different gauge rails, but I suppose that the possible differences between modern rail systems are much more complicated. I know freight and standard passenger rail are standardized, but what about HSR? I would hope that if federal monies are involved in any way that this would be part of the bargain.

 

The map on p. 32 shows four grades of priority for intercity rail routes within the state, not necessarily HRS (I think that is right, the accompanying chart is unreadable). I wonder if the recommendations arrived at by the TTI analysis is shared by Amtrak, and if there is any ongoing look at moving the Sunset Limited route to parallel I-20 rather than I-10. It seems a shame to pass up the opportunity to serve Midland  (pop. 114k), Odessa (100k), and Abilene  (118k) in order to serve Del Rio (36k), Sanderson (900), and Alpine  (6k). The route from Houston to New Orleans is prone to shutdown from hurricanes on a fairly regular basis, the times when passenger lines could be used for evacuations.






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