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  #41  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2014, 4:05 PM
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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
The area between Houston and Dallas is empty enough that this could be built on an entirely greenfield route, one that is also flat and would not cross any major water features either. Nor are there many environmentally vulnerable areas.

If it was acceptable to have Phase 1 end stations in say, Hutchins for Dallas and Cypress or Katy for Houston, this proposal might actually be rather sane. While central city stations would be desirable I think people will still mostly be driving to the stations and catching cabs from the other end, so a suburban location might not be bad to start with.
The intention is to build from downtown to downtown. Last I heard, Texas Central was fully committed to downtown stations.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2014, 5:51 PM
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Haven't they already stated their intentions to do a 2nd phase along I-35? to Austin/SA?


And that suburban station idea would be terrible for ridership. Eliminate it from your mind.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2014, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasonhouse View Post
Haven't they already stated their intentions to do a 2nd phase along I-35? to Austin/SA?

And that suburban station idea would be terrible for ridership. Eliminate it from your mind.
No, Texas Central hasn't stated any intentions to do a 2nd phase anywhere. They have concentrated all the efforts on HSR between Dallas and Houston.

There's three FRA environmental studies underway today in Texas for HSR passenger rail.
TXDOT is studying the HSR central (paralleling near I-35) corridor from the Rio Grande River to the Red River. http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/pr...l/history.html
(study started winter 2013)
Texas Central is studying the HSR eastern corridor (paralleling near I-45) between Dallas and Houston. (story dated June 26, 2014)
http://blog.chron.com/kuffsworld/201...gh-speed-rail/

NCTCOG is studying a HSR corridor (paralleling I-30) between Dallas and Fort Worth.
http://www.progressiverailroading.co...g-speed--40687

There are no other FRA approved environmental studies underway for HSR in Texas today.

Don't confuse government sponsored studies with private enterprise sponsored studies. Texas Central is a private company.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2014, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Yes, the last mile will be a problem in Texas. I think the HSR plan really aims to capture more passengers from air travel than from highways, since air travel has the same last mile problem.

If there is demand to be served at the new HSR station, then taxi drivers, shttke operators, and rental car companies will set up shop there just like they did at the airports, so there are a few easy solutions to the access problem.
EXACTLY!!

HSR is a safer, more convenient and more comfortable alternative to AIR TRAVEL. Yes, there will be some who will switch from driving, but it's designed to take 80% of its traffic from those who would usually fly. It's priced accordingly.

There are some who don't want to/can't drive and will take transit at their destination or who have friends pick them up... or don't want to pay for luggage fees on the plane etc.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2014, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Anyway, the terminal stations may very well be in the suburbs of each city; eg in Houston, building the separated corridor to bring HSR from Loop 610 to downtown may be too expensive, and certainly not worth the investment if you expect your passengers to drive from wealthy northern/western areas like The Woodlands and River Oaks anyway.
The Texas T-Bone configuration maps that I've seen would put stations in some of those suburbs anyhow. Seems like a pretty optimal layout when it comes to station spacing and distances. Seems almost PERFECT for HSR.

http://www.thestarshollowgazette.com...igh-speed-rail
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  #46  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2014, 5:30 AM
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
The Texas T-Bone configuration maps that I've seen would put stations in some of those suburbs anyhow. Seems like a pretty optimal layout when it comes to station spacing and distances. Seems almost PERFECT for HSR.

http://www.thestarshollowgazette.com...igh-speed-rail

The T-Bone strategy leaves Houston as an afterthought with much higher travel times. Any agency or company that would use this would start with an Austin to Dallas service or even Austin to San-Antonio. Then they would add Houston in afterwards. So I highly doubt we will ever see this format especially with so many stations.

HSR stations cost a fairly decent amount of money. If you build one in downtown Houston you get direct access to 2 million passengers who can use public transport to get to your station. If you build a station in the Woodlands you get access to another 200,000 passengers none of which have public transportation. (Out of all of the T-bone proposed stations outside of Waco, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio this one makes the most sense since you also have Conroe nearby). So you have to take into account what ridership boost you would get so plus 10% for proximity minus the amount of people willing to drive downtown to use HSR and minus those who would only use HSR if there was public transportation in the area. For a station that is likely to cost $75 - $100 million the bonus in ridership just doesn't make sense.

In addition to all of these extra costs you are also limiting service to those in the downtown cores. If every train either has to stop at another station you are looking at a 10 minute plus delay. (Estimate of Slowing, Boarding, Gaining speed) A ten minute delay on a trip aimed to be 90 minutes is highly significant. So overall I would guess that by building a station on a direct Dallas to Houston route no matter the city in between would probably not add any more riders than it would take away. All this for slower and more expensive service between Houston and Dallas.

The reason plans like T-bone are thought up with so many uneconomical stations has less to do with money and more to do with voters. If the state of Texas was to help support HSR it would need to eventually reach as many riders as possible. Otherwise why would representatives outside of the major cities allow so much money to be diverted out of their districts? Overall even if the political will was in favor of HSR in Texas it probably still wouldn't happen as a public effort. Too many people live outside of the possible service zone. Those along the border from El Paso to Brownsville would never see service and neither would Lubbock or Amarillo. The metropolitan areas of DFW, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Waco all still only represent ~ 65% of the population. Much of that 65% is also in the suburbs which would not be very well served by such a service.

So as a private effort to establish HSR at low cost (perhaps with some public support) the best and most profitable route is this. One station in downtown Dallas connected directly to one station in downtown Houston. From there the service would expand if successful but starting where I don't really know.
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  #47  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2014, 4:13 PM
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Environmental study on high-speed rail from Houston to Dallas begins

Read More: http://impactnews.com/houston-metro/...on-to-dalla_2/

Quote:
.....

Robert Eckels, president of Texas Central Railway, said the FRA and TxDOT issued a notice of intent June 25 to begin the environmental study. Eckels said the environmental study will consider possible routes for the railway and the effects on the surrounding community as well as possible stops along the way and alternative route options. Depending on how long the environmental process takes, Eckels said the project could break ground by the end of 2016 or early in 2017. The railway would be grade separated, meaning it would not intersect with rail tracks or roadways.

- Three routes are being considered for the train, Eckels said, including rights of way along I-45, north along Hwy. 249 through Tomball and along a Union Pacific path along Hwy. 290. Stops are being considered near Bryan-College Station and possibly along Beltway 8 or the Grand Parkway. --- “All [routes] have their strengths,” Eckels said. “The main thing we’re looking for is the cost of construction and to minimize the impact on the communities.” --- He said public meetings will be held in the next two months to receive input on how the project could affect nearby communities and what residents would like to see. Meetings will likely be held in the north Houston region. --- Eckels said he believes getting the message out to the community about the project could be one of the biggest obstacles in getting it constructed because of how new it is to the United States.

- Eckels said the project will not be constructed with federal or state funding. Instead a number of private investors would fund the multibillion dollar project through debt and equity and be repaid through ticket sales. Tickets would likely cost less than commercial airfare, he said. --- “There’s also some money to be made in transit-oriented developments along the stops,” Eckels said. --- Eckels said a car trip from Houston to Dallas along I-45 today is roughly four hours and could increase to six hours by 2035. Not only could a high-speed rail be an alternative to additional taxpayer-funded construction along I-45, but Eckels said he believes it will aid in economic growth in Texas. --- “Both the Houston and Dallas/Forth Worth areas are the big economic drivers for Texas,” Eckels said. “This will make it so much easier to capitalize on the assets in both communities and continue economic growth for Texas.”

.....



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  #48  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2014, 7:01 AM
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Lightbulb DEIS presentation news

Texas Central HSR looked at several possible routes and has identified two as the most viable for the project.

They are the BNSF (option 1) and Utility corridors. The other BNSF, UP, and I-45 alternatives scored low in three matrixes.

Here's a few pages from the presentation.
Three matrixes

Adding up the various alternatives points:
Utility = 57
BNSF (option 1) = 50
Utility with I-45 = 46
BNSF (option 4) = 46
BNSF (option 3) = 44
BNSF (option 2) = 43
UP = 42
I-45 = 37
I-45 with Hardy = 37

Note: BNSF option 1 corridor is red above, Utility corridor is gray above
Potential Houston station locations

BNSF option 1 corridor is dark brown above, Utility corridor is light brown above
Potential Dallas station locations

BNSF option 1 corridor is dark brown above, Utility corridor joins BNSF around the Dallas-Ellis County line 10 miles or so off the map.

The Utility Corridor follows high voltage lines most of the way between Lancaster and Hockley, avoiding and bypassing every town between them. It basically follows the BNSF tracks into Dallas north of Lancaster, and UP tracks south of Hockley into Houston. BNSF option 1 follows BNSF tracks all the way between Dallas and Houston, what reduces its score somewhat is that the tracks would be routed through towns instead of avoiding them. The I-45 alternatives have the lowest scores - therefore I would place them last and very unlikely to be chosen.

Last edited by electricron; Oct 23, 2014 at 7:26 AM.
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  #49  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2014, 9:09 PM
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Building a stop at Hutchins for Dallas and around beltway 8 for Houston should be considered. At the expense of downtown stations? No, but they should be part of the plan. Route 128(Boston), Metropark(NY), and New Carrolton(DC) are very busy stops along the NEC because they're positioned for suburban commuters to easily access without needing to drive into the central city.
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  #50  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:41 PM
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^ That's one of the big issues when planning for this - the number of stops, travel time, and users. The preferred station is in downtown Dallas where it connects with the existing infrastructure and population density. This also affects DART funding in part when they look at there expansion plans (D2 - second downtown line). Putting additional stops in the burbs will slow the trip times and starts to be less competitive to alternate modes of transportation. Not saying it can't be done, but its a very strategic decision.

Regardless, they recently announced the preferred Dallas station will head to DTD. In the same breath DART is planning its first segment of D2 with this announcement. Here's the article.
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/trans...nsit-plans.ece
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  #51  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2015, 7:36 PM
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  #52  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2015, 1:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TTU Arch View Post
^ That's one of the big issues when planning for this - the number of stops, travel time, and users. The preferred station is in downtown Dallas where it connects with the existing infrastructure and population density. This also affects DART funding in part when they look at there expansion plans (D2 - second downtown line). Putting additional stops in the burbs will slow the trip times and starts to be less competitive to alternate modes of transportation. Not saying it can't be done, but its a very strategic decision.
Why not side track the stations, and have both shuttle and express service?
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  #53  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2015, 4:13 AM
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Lightbulb

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Originally Posted by Jasonhouse View Post
Why not side track the stations, and have both shuttle and express service?
I believe Texas Central sees profits with express services, and losses with shuttle services. Texas Central wants profits, not losses.
But, in both Dallas and Houston, there are transit agencies that could subsidize shuttle services from suburbs to downtown.
While Amtrak's NEC supposedly turns a profit, I wish to point out that MARC, SEPTA, NJT, LIRR, MetroNorth, and T services do not.
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  #54  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2015, 4:32 PM
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Here is an article on the two Dallas station sites still under consideration.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/trans...edars-area.ece
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  #55  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2015, 4:35 PM
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And now there is one Dallas-Houston route being studied.
http://transportationblog.dallasnews...on-route.html/
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  #56  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2015, 8:47 PM
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Senate Bill Targeting Bullet Train Project Advances

Read More: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/...oves-senate-f/

Quote:
A bill that would hobble a private company’s plan to build a $12 billion high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston passed out of a Senate committee Wednesday, spurred by concerns that private landowners would see their land taken against their will for the project. The Senate Transportation Committee voted 5-4 to pass out Senate Bill 1601, from state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, which would strip firms developing high-speed rail projects from eminent domain authority.

- The company has said it hopes to have the train running by 2021 and has vowed to not take any public subsidies. While the project has drawn strong support in Houston and Dallas, officials in the largely rural communities along the proposed route have expressed opposition.

- Kolkhorst said Wednesday that she didn’t want to see private landowners lose their land for a project that she believed is likely to fail. “While I think in some countries it has worked, I don’t see a whole lot of high-speed rail across the United States,” Kolkhorst said. “I just don’t see it, and I’m not sure I want Texas to be the guinea pig on this.”

- Currently, hundreds of private firms have eminent domain authority in Texas, including pipeline companies, utility companies and telecommunication firms. More than a dozen private railroad companies also have that authority, according to an unofficial list maintained by the state comptroller. --- Yet at Wednesday's hearing, Republican senators expressed concern that a private company was going to use eminent domain authority for a for-profit venture.

- Texas Central Chairman and CEO Richard Lawless told the committee he felt his company was being unfairly singled out. --- “All that we ask that this train be treated like any other private train in Texas,” Lawless said. “It does not seem fair to us that this train should be prohibited in Texas just because it goes faster than other trains.”

- Texas Central President Robert Eckels said the company has already been in talks with landowners who could be impacted by the project and acknowledged there have been some holdouts that might require the company to resort to condemning their land through eminent domain. Yet he argued that a private company would be able to compensate those landowners better than the public government.

- Texas Central officials said that they were working to fight against misinformation about the project in various communities, including concerns that the rail line would block roads. They said the train line would have overpasses and underpasses throughout the route. --- “Every road crossing will be separated,” Eckels said. “We cut off no road. We would provide much better access than freight rail.”

.....



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  #57  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2015, 9:34 PM
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Kolkhorst said Wednesday... “While I think in some countries it has worked, I don’t see a whole lot of high-speed rail across the United States..."
This is the definition of a foolish statement. People with so little insight and so much small mindedness like this should not be in a position to steer public policy.
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  #58  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2015, 9:45 PM
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^100% agreed on that.



The HSR guys should have said they were building the world's fastest road, they would have already cleared all regulatory hurdles, instead of having to deal with this ideological nonsense.
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2015, 12:26 AM
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here is another tidbit from the article posted above:

"Kolkhorst’s bill is one of a handful filed this session aimed at impacting Texas Central’s project. A bill from state Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, would require the elected officials of every city and county along the route to approve the project. It has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

I thought we had problems here in Florida with Indian River county suing the Feds over private activity bonds for AAF and they own the tracks already! If that bill passes by Metcalf & Conroe it will be forever before Texas sees HSR.
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  #60  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2015, 1:54 AM
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I thought Texas was supposed to be all about business taking the initiative, not about the government putting more hurdles in their way.
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