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Texas Central Railway - Proposed Bullet Train


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#51 renamerusk

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:09 AM

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

 

"Whew! Lots of fanciful projections but little else to woo the support of Fort Worth or Tarrant County".

 

Of course Japan East and their supporters did not need to point these things out to us; being Fort Worth and Tarrant County, we noticed for ourselves that we were being excluded. Pointing these things out only validates my perspective; and perhaps the perspectives others.

 

Can we acknowledge that the private group’s initial roll-out of their plans in a location, specifically Fort Worth/Tarrant County was calculating and disingenuous in light of the assessment that it will, if these are their words,  “cost too much to do so” and has become a public relations miscue and trust issue. If this is how they hope to build regional support, then I am at a loss. One should only ask for support of an individual or a group when one can say honestly to them that there will be a return for their involvement and their support.  After all, they had been advised that true regional support was contingent upon there being multiple stations if full regional support was to be expected.  It is reported that this was widely agreed by all. If the budgetary ceiling was set too low so that the agreement could not be upheld, then developers should seek to raise $15 Billion or whatever is necessary to build what was earlier agreed upon. Realistically, I think the projected costs will have been shown to have been woefully short along with its ridership as outlined in a scenario of a Dallas to Houston HSR in the New York Times::

 

http://economix.blog...h-speed-trains/

 

Returning and according to the NCTCOG issued “pdf”,  Dallas has by far and away indisputable advantages by having things like freeways and railroads corridors on its side. And accordingly, one ought to willingly accept the biases in a study filled with projections over actual outcomes.  However, knowing the great and proud pioneering history of “The Fort” that never accepts being thought of as a second thought,  I really cannot believe that there will be any significant amount of institutional support or investment originating from Fort Worth/Tarrant County for either Dallas or this single station plan as it has been revealed. 

 

By all means, build the HSR between Dallas and Houston; make your pitch in Dallas and Houston; but why was it necessary to make a pitch in Fort Worth, a place that is held “secondary” to the plans? Again, who thought that we would not notice being left out. When the time comes, if ever, for a direct connection and not simply a promise to Fort Worth,  then that will be the right time for the venture group to make its pitch to our part of the region and to garner support.

 

Shocked yes; but fooled -  never!



#52 johnfwd

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

I would have no particular objection to a plan to link the DFW airport and Houston via high-speed rail.  Maybe DFW airport could act as a rail hub with further connectors to points in Fort Worth, Dallas, and maybe even Arlington.  



#53 Electricron

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

Of course Japan East and their supporters did not need to point these things out to us; being Fort Worth and Tarrant County, we noticed for ourselves that we were being excluded. Pointing these things out only validates my perspective; and perhaps the perspectives others.

 

Can we acknowledge that the private group’s initial roll-out of their plans in a location, specifically Fort Worth/Tarrant County was calculating and disingenuous in light of the assessment that it will, if these are their words,  “cost too much to do so” and has become a public relations miscue and trust issue. If this is how they hope to build regional support, then I am at a loss. One should only ask for support of an individual or a group when one can say honestly to them that there will be a return for their involvement and their support.  After all, they had been advised that true regional support was contingent upon there being multiple stations if full regional support was to be expected.  It is reported that this was widely agreed by all. If the budgetary ceiling was set too low so that the agreement could not be upheld, then developers should seek to raise $15 Billion or whatever is necessary to build what was earlier agreed upon. 

Returning and according to the NCTCOG issued “pdf”,  Dallas has by far and away indisputable advantages by having things like freeways and railroads corridors on its side. And accordingly, one ought to willingly accept the biases in a study filled with projections over actual outcomes.  However, knowing the great and proud pioneering history of “The Fort” that never accepts being thought of as a second thought,  I really cannot believe that there will be any significant amount of institutional support or investment originating from Fort Worth/Tarrant County for either Dallas or this single station plan as it has been revealed. 

 

By all means, build the HSR between Dallas and Houston; make your pitch in Dallas and Houston; but why was it necessary to make a pitch in Fort Worth, a place that is held “secondary” to the plans? Again, who thought that we would not notice being left out. When the time comes, if ever, for a direct connection and not simply a promise to Fort Worth,  then that will be the right time for the venture group to make its pitch to our part of the region and to garner support.

Of course Dallas has more passenger rail services than Fort Worth, they pay for it with a full penny sales tax Fort Worth isn't willing to do! Don't complain about being left out of light rail when you aren't participating with the necessary revenues! You got to pay to ride trains.

New York City, a metro area more than four times larger than DFW, survives with just ONE train station served by Amtrak. It's located on Manhattan, there isn't one for the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens, although Amtrak tracks run through them. Why does DFW need two, three, or four HSR stations?

Never-the-less, Amtrak expects customers from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens - heavens forbid, even from New Jersey - to ride their trains. They have the ability to ride other trains, buses, taxis, and ferries to get to Amtrak's sole train station in NYC. I suggest the same holds true, for HSR in DFW.

 

P.S. Intercity rail and Regional rail are two entirely different types of train services. 



#54 renamerusk

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:32 PM


By all means, build the HSR between Dallas and Houston; make your pitch in Dallas and Houston...

 

Of course Dallas has more passenger rail services than Fort Worth, they pay for it with a full penny sales tax Fort Worth isn't willing to do! Don't complain...you got to pay to ride trains.... Why does DFW need two, three, or four HSR stations?...Amtrak expects their customers - heavens forbid, even from New Jersey - to ride their trains.....I suggest the same holds true, for HSR in DFW.

 

 

We had no idea!  Now the HSR project is to be paid for with a full penny sales tax when all along the project has been described as being privately funded with $10B raised in private investments. 

 

And sure thing, you got to pay to ride; but you sure don’t have to pay for something that you are not getting.  It is as if we in Tarrant County should just hand over what remains of our meager penny sales tax to DART in the spirit of teamwork; and by the way, let’s have a referendum on that too?

 

What part of “go ahead and build the HSR” do you not understand?  Could it be that you don't understand that if we can't play then we won't pay; or that in the starkest of terms, Tarrant County and Fort Worth will not be supporting the project when it does not directly service our political jurisdictions.  

 

And of course, what holds true in NYC does hold true in DFW.  Good heavens, Amtrak operates at least two stations in the New Jersey/NYC Metro Area: EWR and NWK. Clearly a factual point.  Are you making these things up?

 

DFW ought to mean Dallas and Fort Worth, not just Dallas.  Once the first definition, and not the latter one, gets through to those who proscribe to the Dallas is DFW mindset, then a comprehensive and cooperative strategy having direct benefits to all parties will be doable and what is more important, something that can be supported.  For me, DFW Airport stands out as the model.

 

One mistake repeated time after time is that Dallas sees itself as the super city in the region, when actually 4/5th of the region’s population does not actually resides there and do not consider it their home. Many times it seems, Dallas tries to flex its muscle more than it ought to.  Do you remember the Arlington initiative for the Summer Olympics which was ceased upon by Dallas as being their own or as I am reminded of former Arlington Mayor Greene’s pronouncement: “We ain’t nobody’s damned suburb!” after the dedication of Cowboys Stadium.  These were and are statements that ought to be heeded. 

 

At the risk of repeating myself for the umpteenth time: Build the HSR from Houston to Dallas if you can.  And if you do, I can see a real opportunity to checkmate the single station Dallas HSR with a regional airport in West/South Tarrant County will be able to provide daily flights to Houston and beyond.  This will remain my position unless and until the scope of the project is extended.

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#55 cberen1

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

Forgive my ignorance on the subject, but would the HSR's purpose be greater served by a single station in proximity to business or a station in proximity to population centers?  I see both as problematic as business is concentrated in several clusters, and residential is spread thinly across several counties.



#56 Keller Pirate

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:50 PM

This may not answer your exact question, but HSR needs a terminus at locations with local transportation infrastructure.  I attended a seminar last fall and one of the presentations was about countries that have successful HSR.  The presenter said there are only three countries in the world with successful HSR, Japan, France and Germany.  He said all three of these countries had extensive local transportation networks in the urban areas up and running before they decided to link different cities together with HSR.  If you think about what the proposal is here, they want to link Dallas and Houston, both cities that have pretty good local options for mass transit.  With the Japanese doing the planning I am sure they realize that Ft Worth doesn't have anything to connect to if you got off a HS train and wanted to go anywhere except downtown.  

 

The good news is that the TRE will serve as a connection to Dallas for people that really want to take the train to Houston and vice versa.

 

At the seminar in the Q & A session the presenter was asked about Spain and China HSR and he said the Spanish project put the country too deep in debt to be considered a success and it is too early to tell about China because they are building HSR at the same time as local connections.  Also the HSR move in China is driven by the need to get passenger trains off freight lines so that raw and finished products can flow more freely.  So HSR in China has a dual purpose.



#57 RD Milhollin

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:35 PM

Agree that Dallas has significantly better hub-spoke infrastructure than Fort Worth, and that was part of their plan from years ago. We  in Fort Worth are still working to develop a plan. Our existing passenger rail doesn't run often enough for a lot of potential users and doesn't run at all on Sundays. I do believe that HRS needs to get into the serious planning phases now, but I also think that more regional rail (FTW to Waco, Wichita Falls, Sherman, Weatherford, Cleburne, Granbury, etc. would help to solve the problem with end-point connections. Once regional trains are established, express trains between major centers (ex. DTFW-DFW-DTD on the TRE) would help to make the service more convenient for those needing faster transport. Not sure if DART trains could be extended out as far as that, but the "commuter" trains like TRE and the proposed TEXRail probably could.Cooperation between a statewide rail agency and existing railroads could result in improved ROWs for freight and passenger trains. 

 

Interesting conclusion those experts came up with about Spain. I would think they might not have factored in the massive cost bullet they dodged in not having to build new and never-ending massive highways between their cities, at much higher costs over the life of the project than rail. I have never seen an inter-city highway in Spain with more than 4 lanes total for any significant stretch, and to top that off they have an excellent inter-city bus system to compete with the HSR. Might be be a little transportation-mode bellybutton gazing going on at that conference...



#58 renamerusk

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

This may not answer your exact question, but HSR needs a terminus at locations with local transportation infrastructure.... they want to link Dallas and Houston, both cities that have pretty good local options for mass transit... Ft Worth doesn't have anything to connect to if you got off a HS train and wanted to go anywhere except downtown.  

 

The good news is that the TRE will serve as a connection to Dallas for people that really want to take the train to Houston and vice versa. 

 

Two things,

 

What of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority; and is it not transportation infrastructure? Busses are a form of mass transit; and I do believe it allows one to travel beyond downtown.

 

TRE is a commuter system whose primary mission is to serve the morning and evening rush hour commuter.   It does not operate on Sundays and holidays.



#59 AndyN

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:38 AM

I think the Texas Central Railway's business model is not centered on bus riders. They're not trying to compete with Greyhound but with Southwest Airlines. The T's system is woefully inadequate to attract choice riders and allow someone to move about town without a car. And I say that with love in my heart and I ride as often as I can. I have yet to step on a T bus this year.

 

DART, on the other hand, is very handy to me when I am in Dallas and I frequently ride and I have ridden DART this year.


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#60 renamerusk

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:00 PM

I think the Texas Central Railway's business model is not centered on bus riders. They're not trying to compete with Greyhound but with Southwest Airlines.

 

This remark squarely hits the "nail on the head" and makes a case for predicting that TCR will ultimately fail:

 

 1.  TCR is competing with Southwest Airlines

 2.  Southwest Airlines and Dallas are joined at the hip.



#61 Electricron

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

Looking at I-45 traffic counts maintained by NCTCOG, at the southern most point in Ellis County they report 40,000 vehicles per day on I-45. That data point is the best available from NCTCOG for determining Dallas to Houston highway traffic, although I'm sure some of it is still local traffic. Assuming Texas Central HSR could win just 10% of that, that would be 4,000 rider per day, enough to completely fill 5 trains a day. That's without attracting any airline passengers. There could be more demand if people didn't have to drive it. So, there are sufficient potential customers to make that HSR corridor work. 

How much they can charge for fares, and how cheaply they can build and operate the trains, will determine its viability. Building an extra 30+ miles between downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth might be a wise investment, it also might bankrupt the train. Shouldn't that important decision be made by the HSR operator? It's up to NCTCOG to study and find a potential route for a HSR corridor between Fort Worth and Dallas, but that final decision to build and use it or not belongs to Texas Central. 



#62 mmiller2002

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

This may not answer your exact question, but HSR needs a terminus at locations with local transportation infrastructure.  I attended a seminar last fall and one of the presentations was about countries that have successful HSR.  The presenter said there are only three countries in the world with successful HSR, Japan, France and Germany.  He said all three of these countries had extensive local transportation networks in the urban areas up and running before they decided to link different cities together with HSR.  If you think about what the proposal is here, they want to link Dallas and Houston, both cities that have pretty good local options for mass transit.  With the Japanese doing the planning I am sure they realize that Ft Worth doesn't have anything to connect to if you got off a HS train and wanted to go anywhere except downtown.  

 

The good news is that the TRE will serve as a connection to Dallas for people that really want to take the train to Houston and vice versa.

 

At the seminar in the Q & A session the presenter was asked about Spain and China HSR and he said the Spanish project put the country too deep in debt to be considered a success and it is too early to tell about China because they are building HSR at the same time as local connections.  Also the HSR move in China is driven by the need to get passenger trains off freight lines so that raw and finished products can flow more freely.  So HSR in China has a dual purpose.

 

Been to Japan over 30 times, love the bullet trains (shinkansen).  Convenient, fast, on-time.  But Japan's layout is far from Texas'.



#63 RD Milhollin

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:54 PM

The Interstate Highway system was built incrementally, but was built with a national network in mind. Here is what the plan for a national HS Rail network might look like:

 

http://www.businessi...-network-2013-2



#64 renamerusk

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:11 AM

Why is this thread still titled "FW to Houston Bullet Train when it is clear that the proposed project has no intentions of ever coming to Fort Worth?

 

Just wondering.



#65 AndyN

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:06 AM

You have 2 wishes left.


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#66 mmiller2002

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

The Interstate Highway system was built incrementally, but was built with a national network in mind. Here is what the plan for a national HS Rail network might look like:

 

http://www.businessi...-network-2013-2

 

 

My theory, with no other expertise other than riding the Japanese trains more than 30 times, is that the national high speed rail works very well in small countries.  It's much better to ride a train 2-300 miles in 2-3 hours (or less) than to deal with the airports.  That mindset has developed in Japan because of the great train system and their density.  I'm guessing that the Euro HSR systems are similar in the average duration of a person's ride.

 

The US is HUGE.  18 hours on a train would be tough, and not that popular.  I would guess that an American would rather fly 400+ miles than sit on a train that long.  For business, time is money.

 

JMHO.



#67 RD Milhollin

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

My guess would be that few passengers on this sort of rail system would book a trip across long distances; most trips would be within the 400 mile zone where total trip time compares favorably with air travel. Given your Euro and Japanese comparisons: Probably few Europeans book train travel Madrid to Berlin, or in Japan, which is roughly the physical size of California, from Kagoshima to Hachinohe. The same usage pattern probably holds for Interstate highway travel in the US: Few people would choose to drive from San Diego to Boston unless time and expense were not important. 



#68 mmiller2002

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:24 PM

I'm just pointing out that the USA is much more vast and un-dense than Japan and Europe.  Parts of the US, are dense enough to benefit, and make a profit,  That Business Insider map showed lots of rail across the middle of nowhere...

 

I would guess that only parts of the east and west coasts would be profitable.



#69 Austin55

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:35 PM

^But to me, that's why HSR is so appealing, you get from population center to population center very quickly but don't spend a lot of time in the middle of nowhere.



#70 RD Milhollin

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 11:06 PM

Just saw this update on the Texas Central Railroad proposal from several days ago:

 

http://www.star-tele...l-stations.html



#71 Fort Worthology

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:01 AM

It would be a huge mistake in the long run to not have HSR stop in the central city areas.  (I don't even like the idea of a DFW Airport station, to be honest.)



#72 johnfwd

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:31 AM

It would be a huge mistake in the long run to not have HSR stop in the central city areas.  (I don't even like the idea of a DFW Airport station, to be honest.)

Naturally the market for ridership figures into the cost-benefit analysis of where to locate terminals for linkups.  DFW is a big market for ridership, I believe.  Eventually, given the economic feasibility of providing rail service, airport traffic should be linked by rail separately to Fort Worth and to Dallas (maybe even Arlington).  This will take time, Rome not being built in a day, etc. (also financial commitment and political will, of course).



#73 Tacoma

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:51 AM

I agree with Kevin that it would be ideal for this to come to a city center but I think the truth is that if it goes to Dallas, its never coming to Fort Worth.  The cost to build it from downtown to downtown would be too much.  The current plan doesn't have the train going to either downtown Dallas or Houston but rather, the suburbs.  Plus, the benefit to Love Field if this came to downtown Dallas, in the long-term, would be very detrimental to the western half of the metroplex.

 

If they go up 360 to the airport, much of the ROW is easily obtainable, then each area can connect to the airport for more regional transit purposes.  Now, that of course assumes that we will some day have transportation directly to the airport, which isn't guaranteed.  There are many that view the bus from CentrePoint to the Airport as sufficient.



#74 RD Milhollin

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 06:21 AM

FW lawyer and former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer onboard as advisor to Texas Central Railroad; Some discussion of multiple stops for line in North Texas:

 

http://www.star-tele...-ball-with.html



#75 johnfwd

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 06:54 AM

From what I've read, it sounds like Tom Schieffer has entered as a possible broker in a deal with the Japanese group.  I was also struck by the evident rift among North Texas regional planners; the "western metroplex" people wanting a terminal in Fort Worth.  I hope they win out, but it looks like the initial project (given the hefty price tag and limited financial resources) will be Houston to Dallas only. 



#76 Tacoma

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 09:56 AM

 

Schieffer’s presence could address some of those concerns, officials said. Schieffer is coming aboard not only because he knows business people in Japan who can help make the project happen, but also because he is a respected leader in Fort Worth-Arlington who may be able to ensure officials in those cities that they will eventually be served by high-speed rail, even if Texas Central Railway’s initial plan was to serve only Dallas, they said.

Read more here: http://www.star-tele...l#storylink=cpy

 

 

This quote makes me think the project is definitely headed to Dallas.  Everything that has been discussed publicly and published indicates that the cost is too high to go from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth.  If Schieffer's role is to placate the western half of DFW (as I think it is), there may be little left for Tarrant County to add. 

 

What drives me crazy is that the Dallas folks are apparently fine with this line terminating somewhere in southeastern Dallas County.  Who from Collin, Denton and Tarrant County is going to drive to southeast Dallas county for a train to Houston when the drive there will be longer than the flight on Southwest or AA?

 

I'm in favor of a high speed train coming to the area and think a well placed end-point will meet the needs of many throughout the area (even those that say we already have planes).  But not in this location.  And I don't think the addition of Schieffer is intended to help give us a say in the process, but rather to placate Fort Worth and the rest of the western half of DFW.



#77 renamerusk

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 10:37 PM

....If Schieffer's role is to placate the western half of DFW (as I think it is), there may be little left for Tarrant County to add. 

 

What drives me crazy is that the Dallas folks are apparently fine with this line terminating somewhere in southeastern Dallas County.  Who from Collin, Denton and Tarrant County is going to drive to southeast Dallas county for a train to Houston when the drive there will be longer than the flight on Southwest or AA?

 

It is hard to imagine anything that might placate the western half of FWD; not even the Schieffer mystic.

 

This high speed rail project has more political and economic hurdles to overcome than the Fort Worth/ Dallas Inland Sea Port proposed project along the Trinity River.  The railroads saw to making the need for a waterway connection between North Texas and the Gulf of Mexico mute; and I am confident that both the ever more efficient automobile and airlines will make high speed rail mute too.   

 

My hope is that Fort Worth/Tarrant County will break ground on its own regional airport to compete with South East Dallas' High Speed Rail Terminal.  A terminal could be built for a fraction of the cost of HSR and be far less disruptive.



#78 agave1114

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:54 PM

^But to me, that's why HSR is so appealing, you get from population center to population center very quickly but don't spend a lot of time in the middle of nowhere.

 

Austin's statement points out something that is being lost in the discussions: "the middle of nowhere."

 

What many urban dwellers consider the "middle of nowhere" is another person's livelihood, heart, little piece of heaven, and home. Just because you see acres of woods and praries doesn't mean it's a lifeless wasteland. There are people attached to that land.  Everyone has a right to live a lifestyle they please. This includes those that want to live on 100 acres of land surrounded by nobody. Those who want to live 20 miles from the nearest grocery store. Those who love nature, and quiet; walking in their own woods, in their own grassland, on the banks of their own pond. 

 

The more we build out and add infrastructure (which encourages urban sprawl), the more these people - who contribute to our society and economy in ways most people don't think of - suffer. All this talk of regional mobility, HSR, more freeways is great when you already live in the city. But as someone who has long family ties to the country and small town life, urban sprawl is seen as a method of extinction for a way of life.

 

An easy answer? There is none. Maybe restrict development to already developed areas? Maybe we should be like Manhattan and build up instead of out (a good example is north Dallas).  But don't anyone reading this leave here thinking that these rural counties are less important. They deserve to have their home and property unencroached upon.  If we continue to allow the spread of our urban areas go unabated, we're going to lose what makes Texas Texas, and what makes America America.



#79 Russ Graham

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:38 AM

You've got some logical contradictions going on there.

 

For example, "everybody has the right to the lifestyle they please"...

 

Let's say there are 6,000 families in Tarrant County that want to live on "hundreds of acres of grassland, surrounded by nobody".  Each of them claims "the right" to live on 100 acres by themselves, (that's the lifestyle they have chosen, nobody can infringe that right!).  Well, they have now consumed all 897 square miles of Tarrant County all by themselves. 



#80 cberen1

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:17 PM

Well, this conversation took a left turn somewhere...

 

[I'm not a transportation engineer, so go ahead and tell me I'm wrong when I am.] 

 

Couldn't a HSR hub in SE Dallas be connected to various points in the DFW metro area via express intra-urban trains timed to HSR departures for Houston?  ex. There's a HSR leaving SE Dallas at 7:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 2:00 PM, and 5:30 PM every day.  So you can buy a ticket from DTFW at 6:00, 9:30, 1:00 or 4:30 on an express that drops you off behind security like in an airport.  Or you could get on a similiar express train in Plano, DFW Airport, Arlington, or Downtown Dallas. 



#81 Austin55

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:44 PM

Bullet train bound for Fort Worth, officials learn details

 

Surely the title is fluff, but an interesting idea, connecting both cities. 



#82 RD Milhollin

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 10:23 PM

Time to start discussing using the ROW of I-30 for HSR. The Dallas Co. side has toll lanes going in that could be easily by converted to rail space, and at some point in time the Tarrant side is going to be rebuilt… the HSR ROW could be included in those plans from the start. However, since the highway ROW is public and comes with an opportunity cost (foregone tolls) and the rail project is for-profit; nothing wrong with charging the company for a long-term lease on the ROW. That payment could be used by TxDOT for development of more HSR ROW.



#83 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:31 PM

Our freeways are backed up enough already. Removing freeway lanes that tens of thousands of commuters use daily for a rail line that only hundreds (maybe a few thousand) will use a day is a terrible idea. Keep in mind the purpose of the rail line is to connect the Metroplex to Houston (not daily commuting), and there are two RR right of ways between Fort Worth and Dallas.


- Dylan


#84 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:36 PM

Almost forgot to post my thoughts on the news of this rail line coming to Fort Worth... Very happy to hear this! Some of my family lives in Houston, and I go there at least once a year.


- Dylan


#85 Electricron

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:39 PM

Important statements by Texas Central spokesman overlooked by city councilman.

 

"Noting that route selection and station locations could dramatic alter project costs. It can change your price $500 million to $1 billion just to move a station a half mile,” said Eckels.

"Turning a profit is essential for the company due to its private status," Eckels said.

“We have to pay back our debt and our investors. We are particularly sensitive to issues that can drive costs,” said Eckels, referring to station location, alignment and other considerations.

 

Does that sound like a man wishing to extend his HSR line over 30 miles to reach Fort Worth, and to build more than one station in the DFW metro?

 

Instead the councilman jumps upon the statement that the line could be extended, that cities could be added. But I believe Eckels meant doing so "later", which could be a decade or two later or possibly never.



#86 Volare

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:09 AM

Yes, and we have seen how well the eastern half of the metroplex lives up to promises regarding transportation equality. (See also Wright Amendment expiring next year.)

 

There was a reason the entire Texas legislature was kept from adjourning...

 

"In 1876 the 1,600 residents of Fort Worth were frustrated when construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway tracks stalled just sixteen miles to the east at Eagle Ford. Eager to reach Fort Worth before the Texas legislature could revoke its charter and withhold its land subsidy, the T&P hired Jones to complete the line into Fort Worth. The project developed into "a patriotic crusade to bring the railroad home" before the legislature adjourned. Fort Worth businessmen released their employees to work on the railroad, and the workers' wives provided them food and drink on the job. Work continued day and night, while a little more than a mile a day of track was laid. According to legend, Nicholas H. Darnell, state representative from Tarrant County, entered the legislative hall each day on a stretcher to cast his vote against adjournment. A holiday spirit filled the town as, finally, on July 19, 1876, Jones's line reached Fort Worth on time. The success made the Welshman a local hero and marked the beginning of a new era of growth for Fort Worth." http://www.tshaonlin.../articles/fjo60

 

The population of Fort Worth had dropped from 5,000 to 1,600 before this effort was undertaken. You can be assured that had the effort failed none of us would be here discussing a City called Fort Worth.



#87 renamerusk

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:41 AM

Thanks for the historical perspective Volare.

 

I am puzzled why Councilman Jungus Jorgan is considered to be the right person to represent Fort Worth when it comes to transportation issues. 

 

Mr. Jorgan is no Nicholas H. Darnell!



#88 Not Sure

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:23 AM

Our freeways are backed up enough already. Removing freeway lanes that tens of thousands of commuters use daily for a rail line that only hundreds (maybe a few thousand) will use a day is a terrible idea. Keep in mind the purpose of the rail line is to connect the Metroplex to Houston (not daily commuting), and there are two RR right of ways between Fort Worth and Dallas.

 

Both of those rights-of-way (TRE and UP Dallas Sub.) are very heavily used. Good luck getting anything else across either one. Any new rail traffic that doesn't replace either the TRE or Amtrak will probably require new right-of-way. 



#89 johnfwd

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:51 AM

If Eckels is concerned about recouping against costs in the short term, I would think he would want to get his system up and running and generating profits as soon as possible.  It will take far longer to build the Houston-Dallas connection than it will the Dallas-Fort Worth line, and the former will be costlier to complete than the latter (in my layman's opinion).  He should get the DFW metroplex system running and making a profit, then proceed with the connection to Houston. 



#90 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:32 PM

Both of those rights-of-way (TRE and UP Dallas Sub.) are very heavily used. Good luck getting anything else across either one. Any new rail traffic that doesn't replace either the TRE or Amtrak will probably require new right-of-way. 

 

 

Where else are we supposed to build a HSR line from Fort Worth and Dallas? You think it's going to be easier to get a high speed rail line down I-30 than on an existing RR right-of-way? :huh:


- Dylan


#91 Electricron

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:58 AM

 

Where else are we supposed to build a HSR line from Fort Worth and Dallas? You think it's going to be easier to get a high speed rail line down I-30 than on an existing RR right-of-way? :huh:

 

I believe I-30 would be easier. Forget the UP, for trains going faster than 80 mph, the UP will want dedicated passenger tracks 50 feet away from their freight tracks. With 100 feet wide railroad corridors, that means the UP doesn't want HSR tracks in their corridor.  The HSR line doesn't have to go down the median of the freeway, it can be built on one side of the freeway between the main lanes and the service road. It'll probably have to be elevated the entire way like the new express (toll) lanes on I-635 and I-820.

It'll be very difficult for a private enterprise to finance that.  



#92 Not Sure

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:42 AM

 

Both of those rights-of-way (TRE and UP Dallas Sub.) are very heavily used. Good luck getting anything else across either one. Any new rail traffic that doesn't replace either the TRE or Amtrak will probably require new right-of-way. 

 

 

Where else are we supposed to build a HSR line from Fort Worth and Dallas? You think it's going to be easier to get a high speed rail line down I-30 than on an existing RR right-of-way? :huh:

 

 

You may be attributing a thought to me that I didn't express. I only said you aren't likely to see additional rail traffic on the existing TRE and UP Dallas Subdivision. Those routes are pretty much plugged with existing rail traffic. 

 

Personally, I don't think the I-30 corridor is a good candidate for rail, at least not like I've seen in Chicago where the rails are between the opposing lanes of the highway. Too much reconfiguration of the highway infrastructure would be required.



#93 Volare

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:11 PM

...I am puzzled why Councilman Jungus Jorgan is considered to be the right person to represent Fort Worth when it comes to transportation issues. 

 

Mr. Jorgan is no Nicholas H. Darnell!

 

Mr Jordon has no credibility when it comes to Transportation after his ridiculous flip-flip on the streetcar. I'm sure the DOT would look askance at anything with his name attached.



#94 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:52 PM

 

 

 

You may be attributing a thought to me that I didn't express. I only said you aren't likely to see additional rail traffic on the existing TRE and UP Dallas Subdivision. Those routes are pretty much plugged with existing rail traffic. 

 

Personally, I don't think the I-30 corridor is a good candidate for rail, at least not like I've seen in Chicago where the rails are between the opposing lanes of the highway. Too much reconfiguration of the highway infrastructure would be required.

 

 

Oh, ok. So what you're trying to say is there isn't a feasible option for a HSR line between Fort Worth and Dallas?


- Dylan


#95 Not Sure

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:29 PM

 

 

 

 

You may be attributing a thought to me that I didn't express. I only said you aren't likely to see additional rail traffic on the existing TRE and UP Dallas Subdivision. Those routes are pretty much plugged with existing rail traffic. 

 

Personally, I don't think the I-30 corridor is a good candidate for rail, at least not like I've seen in Chicago where the rails are between the opposing lanes of the highway. Too much reconfiguration of the highway infrastructure would be required.

 

 

Oh, ok. So what you're trying to say is there isn't a feasible option for a HSR line between Fort Worth and Dallas?

 

 

Again, I didn't say that. I'm not sure why you are reading more into what I'm writing than what is there.

 

The existing railroad rights-of-way do not support speeds that qualify as high speed rail. The curves, grade crossings and the alignment itself prohibit anything higher than 79 mph for passenger trains, and that's the maximum speed on the tangent tracks. There are numerous speed restrictions for curves, turnouts, bridges and other elements on both the TRE System and the UP Dallas Subdivision. You need broader curves and no grade crossings to get above 79 mph and into HSR territory.

 

As far as I-30 is concerned as a viable route, it might have worked for a commuter line like the TRE where considerations like station location and connectivity to existing transportation are weighted heavily, but that ship has sailed. Instead, the TRE runs on the former Burlington-Rock Island which is in many places along the fringes of developed land. As I said, there are far too many limitations with the I-30 corridor for a high speed route that disqualify it, in my opinion. The curves are too tight, the right-of-way is pretty much filled in along the entire route, there are several overpasses and interchanges any railroad would have to avoid and the surrounding land is very densely developed, leaving no room for the railroad in the places it's not practical to build over, under, next to or in between the existing lanes of I-30. If you're thinking of rail next to a highway in an urban setting, you're probably thinking of commuter rail not high speed rail.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of feasible options for a high speed route. For example, the Trinity River connects Fort Worth to Dallas and flows along mostly undeveloped (and undevelopable) land. Since any viable HSR line would have to be grade separated for its entire length, I don't see any reason why it couldn't be constructed nearest the Trinity River where property values are generally lowest because of flood risk. Without a need for intermediate stations, there's no need to construct it along a busy existing transportation corridor. In fact, these kinds of projects seem to always invite a lot of NIMBY sentiment so locating it out of sight might be a good move for the planning and construction phases.

 

Elevated superstructure may be cost-prohibitive in many cases, but the savings in right-of-way acquisition, the natural near-level grade and the lack of utility or transportation interference could help offset the cost of building elevated structures in a flood-prone area. The current LBJ project demonstrates that having a large proportion of the project built as an elevated superstructure is not out of the question. The TRE viaduct in Irving is a good example of what has to be done to get speeds high enough to make HSR possible, though any viaduct for this purpose likely will not have to be built to support freight rail axle loadings, which could significantly reduce the cost.

 

That's just one example. I think there are plenty of other options besides the one I described. Look at the French TGV or the German ICE trains and how the routes they run on are built. They aren't some afterthought crammed into an existing low speed freight rail or highway corridor. These are large scale infrastructure projects and they must be embraced as such to succeed. Anything less is doomed to fail because the compromises required will keep the costs too high and the speeds too low to be competitive with existing airline and highway alternatives.



#96 cberen1

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:02 PM

Wow.  Right before I read your post I thought that the Trinity could be a good right of way for HSR.  The only substantial hiccup I see is that at 360 you'd need to probably cut through a developed area.  Sharp bend north.  If you could run down North Carrier Parkway I think it gets you there.  Everywhere else you can probably make it work on largely undeveloped land.  Still probably lots of overhead construction.



#97 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

@Not Sure, I never stopped to think about the line being elevated. That makes sense and now I can see how the Trinity River corridor could work.


- Dylan


#98 Austin55

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:29 PM

How much more expensive is it to build in a floodplain versus regular Texas land?

#99 Not Sure

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:36 PM

How much more expensive is it to build in a floodplain versus regular Texas land?

 

I guess it depends on what you want to build. Since you cannot build dwellings or commercial structures without getting the foundation above the 100 year base flood elevation for the area, you'd need to fill in the portion of the floodplain that you want to build on. Of course, it's not exactly that simple, because the floodplain is like a big bowl that holds water during a storm event. If you fill part of it in, it not only decreases the total volume of water the floodplain can temporarily store, it will also raise the level the water will reach during a flood, which impacts other properties. So, it's a pretty big deal to build in a floodplain. 

 

Building a bridge across a floodplain has a much smaller impact because you are installing piers and not filling it in with earth. I'm sure there are places where a raised earthen berm would be the most economical approach and could be located in such a way that it wouldn't affect the function of the floodway. The DART orange line between Northwest Highway and the old Texas Stadium is basically one long bridge built over a floodplain, so there's a precedent locally for this type of rail installation.

 

As far as the comparison to "regular Texas land" is concerned, since so much of the land between Dallas and Fort Worth is developed, there is an added cost over and above the value of just the land, since you'd have to purchase the improvements people have put on the land then remove them in the area where a high speed rail alignment was located. Since the land in a floodplain is either cost-prohibitive to develop or just impossible to develop (since development would adversely affect both nearby and downstream flood prone areas), it is often far less expensive than developed land.



#100 Volare

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:43 AM

An added benefit to this plan would be you could call it the Trinity Rail Express and the name would actually fit.






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