Texas Central Railway
|Owner||Texas Central Partners, LLC|
|Character||fully grade separated|
|Rolling stock||N700I Series Shinkansen|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||c. 177 mph (285 km/h)|
Texas Central or Texas Central Partners, LLC is a private railroad company that is proposing a high-speed rail line between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. It plans to use technology based on that used by the Central Japan Railway Company. The company has indicated that the journey time would be less than 90 minutes. This would make it the second high-speed rail service in North America after the Northeast Corridor's Acela Express, and the first dedicated high-speed line.
On August 10, 2015 the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration issued a report that supported the so-called utility corridor for the line.
Entering the Houston area, the train line would run parallel to U.S. 290, Hempstead Highway and a freight rail line, before entering near downtown Houston.
In addition to stations at each end of the line, a station is also planned for unincorporated Grimes County, Texas, in order to serve nearby Texas A&M University. However, Grimes County has opposed the project.
In January 2018, plans for the station in Dallas were released. It will be located on the west side of The Cedars with pedestrian walkways connecting to Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, the preferred location identified by the Federal Railroad Administration in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Construction plans and contractors
In January 2017, President Trump's administration listed the project as a national infrastructure priority.
In June 2017, it was stated that construction would begin in 2018 and would support 10,000 jobs during each year of the construction process and 1,000 jobs in each year after that. Also in June 2017, the company announced that it had reached agreement with Fluor Corporation to advance the preliminary development of the project. Fluor will support the project during the preliminary development by refining the project’s engineering, design-build cost estimate, schedule and construction planning, and potentially further phases of development. Fluor and its partners would be the preferred design-builder of the project. On September 13 2018, the company earned a $300 million loan for permitting, design and engineering. The company selected Salini Impregilo to lead the civil construction consortium that will build the Texas passenger line, to the top of the rails, including viaducts, embankments and drainage. Construction is now slated to begin in 2019 and end in 2024.
As of November 10, 2018[update] the Federal permitting dashboard shows that the date for the Record of Decision is March 27, 2020. Since construction cannot start until the completion of the NEPA process, it would appear that earliest work could start would be late 2019 or early 2020 and would take up to 6 years. the company currently has 30% of needed land acquisitions needed for construction.
In a December 2016 summary judgement, a Harris County court ruled that the Texas Central Railroad does not have the power to require private landowners to allow their land to be surveyed for possible future eminent domain purchases. The case, Texas central Railroad and Infrastructure vs Calvin House, was prosecuted by the railroad against a landowner that refused to allow survey crews onto his land.
In 2017, Grimes County won an injunction against Texas Central Railroad that prevents the company from performing any surveys that damage or alter any county roads or right-of-ways.
In February 2019, a Leon County district judge ruled that Texas Central is not a railroad company and therefore does not have the right to conduct surveys on private land.
In July 2015, the company announced that it had secured $75 million of private funding to allow the project to move forward from feasibility studies to development planning.
In December 2015, the company announced that it had appointed three new executives to help develop the project, all of whom will report to Tim Keith:
- Managing Director, External Affairs – Holly Reed. She was previously Regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T.
- Chief Finance Officer (CFO) – Lori Willox. She is a certified public accountant, and was previously a Senior vice president and CFO for Balfour Beatty’s Central region.
- Managing Director, Design-Build Program – Doug Jones. He has been in the construction industry for 38 years and was previously with Balfour Beatty Construction in Dallas.
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