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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
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Old June 26th, 2014, 11:38 AM   #4701
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Wow that's great news. Hilarious considering where it's being built though. I just hope people don't find a way to frak this up.
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Old June 26th, 2014, 05:49 PM   #4702
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Wow...maybe they think this train will run on burning coal or wood. Funny that the train won't even be going to San Rafael.
Next thing you know, the Koch brothers will step in, and sue over the cleanness of "emissions" involved with the project.
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Old June 26th, 2014, 08:03 PM   #4703
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Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes? Plans for 205-MPH bullet train speed up



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The proposed high-speed train project between Houston and Dallas is about to cross into new territory. The much-discussed transportation option is finally headed for a major review, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement examining the effects of construction and operation of a high-speed rail system. The statement will include an evaluation of the presumed method (a sealed high-speed rail corridor) as well as alternatives.

Texas Central High Speed Railway, a private company, has been developing plans for the train system since 2009. Using the same Japanese bullet train model as the one that connects Tokyo and Osaka, Texas Central says the train would reach speeds of 205 miles per hour and complete the Dallas-Houston route in just 90 minutes. The company plans to raise $10 billion in private capital to fund the line.

Although Texas Central appears to be planning a route along existing north-south freight lines, others are exploring options along the state's highway system.

A UTA study released in 2013 recommends further detailed investigation into four corridors — I-45 from Houston to Dallas, I-20 between Dallas and Fort Worth, I-35 from DFW to Laredo (though San Antonio and Austin), and Route 6 from Houston to Waco (through College Station).

The Dallas-Houston rail, with its visions of being completed by 2021, is part of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association's proposed 14,000-mile, high-speed rail system that would connect dozens of the nation's major cities.
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Old June 26th, 2014, 11:41 PM   #4704
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Am I reading this correctly? Texas, yeah, that's "obviously" the place to start HSR in the US.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 12:40 AM   #4705
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I think Dallas-Houston is a great place to start 186 mph+ HSR in the US. I hope they can get this line built quickly with stations near the heart of the cities. The drive from Dallas to Houston is just loooooooooong. I see this line opening up awesome economic opportunities and I hope they can do something like they're doing in Wuhan area within Dallas and Houston, a local high speed commuter line but that's a current fantasy of mine.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 02:12 AM   #4706
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Originally Posted by CNB30 View Post
Am I reading this correctly? Texas, yeah, that's "obviously" the place to start HSR in the US.
It is though. A good number of people already travel between Houston and Dallas, where the geography and climate for the most part would make ti easy for rails in the region. It also has no rail competition and there are many towns between for stops. With it planned to be privately funded there isn't much reason Texas is a bad place for it.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 02:27 AM   #4707
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It is though. A good number of people already travel between Houston and Dallas, where the geography and climate for the most part would make ti easy for rails in the region. It also has no rail competition and there are many towns between for stops. With it planned to be privately funded there isn't much reason Texas is a bad place for it.
It won't make intermediate stops. It will only stop in Dallas and Houston. They're "exploring" other stations, but they so far don't seem very open to the idea at the moment.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 04:08 AM   #4708
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Given the lack of comprehensive transit systems on both ends of the system and the sprawl of the cities the train would connect, I also have to wonder how this'd deal with the last-mile issue (or maybe in Texas' case, the last-5-mile issue).
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Old June 27th, 2014, 05:33 AM   #4709
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Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
Would there be any difference between an ACS64 with a string of carriages and a freight train hitting something at a railroad crossing? Not really. Both will be substancially heavier then anything they are likely to hit. And it's not the weight, but the front shape that really makes the difference: If you make sure nothing can come underneath your train, it's very unlikely to derail from a collision with any kind of road traffic.

The only time the freight train has a safety advantage over the passenger train is when they hit each other. But they shouldn't be able to be on the same track in the first place. Using heavier then necesary construction for this reason is also saying we do not trust our employees and systems to do a good job in keeping enough seperation. The widespread introduction of PTC is a good example of a system that is suposed to guarantee that seperation.
Probably not a huge difference but with a huge EMD leading the train you would probably have to hit something like a mining truck to cause a wreck.

Doesn't mean that light weight trains aren't safe and crashworthy though, some are very.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 11:21 AM   #4710
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It won't make intermediate stops. It will only stop in Dallas and Houston. They're "exploring" other stations, but they so far don't seem very open to the idea at the moment.
I think the only intermediate stops will be within the Houston or Dallas metro areas. I could see stops in downtown Houston as well as IAH/Beltway 8, The Woodlands, downtown Dallas, Arlington/DFW, and downtown Fort Worth.

This is actually an ideal place to built a highspeed rail line. The geography is flat and the area between Dallas and Houston is sparsely populated (fewer NIMBYs and cheaper land acquisition costs). The drive is long enough (4+ hours) that it makes competition from self driving less likely and anyone who has done that drive knows how much it sucks. There is a huge business market between Dallas and Houston, anyone who has been a SWA flight between the two cities will notice that more than half the flight is business travelers. I don't see SWA putting up the same flight they did last time (although they will probably resist it) since they have grown significantly and their intra-Texas operations now represent a lower % of their overall revenue (ie they feel less threatened by it).

The biggest potential obstacle to this is someone turning it into a political issue for personal gain....and sadly that is real possibility given the current state of politics in the US.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 04:56 PM   #4711
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Given the lack of comprehensive transit systems on both ends of the system and the sprawl of the cities the train would connect, I also have to wonder how this'd deal with the last-mile issue (or maybe in Texas' case, the last-5-mile issue).
TX Central is maintaining that it expects the vast majority of it's targeted customers to be business travelers. Thus, the vast majority will either be visiting the downtown area anyways, or other commercial areas that are increasingly being served by public transit in both cities.


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Originally Posted by sdery View Post
I think the only intermediate stops will be within the Houston or Dallas metro areas. I could see stops in downtown Houston as well as IAH/Beltway 8, The Woodlands, downtown Dallas, Arlington/DFW, and downtown Fort Worth.

This is actually an ideal place to built a highspeed rail line. The geography is flat and the area between Dallas and Houston is sparsely populated (fewer NIMBYs and cheaper land acquisition costs). The drive is long enough (4+ hours) that it makes competition from self driving less likely and anyone who has done that drive knows how much it sucks. There is a huge business market between Dallas and Houston, anyone who has been a SWA flight between the two cities will notice that more than half the flight is business travelers. I don't see SWA putting up the same flight they did last time (although they will probably resist it) since they have grown significantly and their intra-Texas operations now represent a lower % of their overall revenue (ie they feel less threatened by it).

The biggest potential obstacle to this is someone turning it into a political issue for personal gain....and sadly that is real possibility given the current state of politics in the US.


They have specifically stated that they will only serve Downtown Houston and Dallas. TX DOT (or maybe it's the Dallas Transportation Dept.) wants to continue the system out to Fort Worth. As of now, the two projects are being down in conjunction - hence why TX Central is essentially getting a free EIS - even though they are not at all interested in it.

For them, it matters not to their bottom line. I do think they're being a bit shortsighted about not needing to connect to the airports.


The State Government, DOT, FDOT are all pretty enthusiastic about the project, because they aren't idiots. The one thing I will commend TX Central for is realizing they need to speak with residents in Central Texas who will be affected by the line. I think CAHSRA learned the hard way that outreach is vital.

"Politics" isn't really the issue, and that's such a vacuous term anyways.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 10:11 PM   #4712
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I think the only intermediate stops will be within the Houston or Dallas metro areas. I could see stops in downtown Houston as well as IAH/Beltway 8, The Woodlands, downtown Dallas, Arlington/DFW, and downtown Fort Worth.

This is actually an ideal place to built a highspeed rail line. The geography is flat and the area between Dallas and Houston is sparsely populated (fewer NIMBYs and cheaper land acquisition costs). The drive is long enough (4+ hours) that it makes competition from self driving less likely and anyone who has done that drive knows how much it sucks. There is a huge business market between Dallas and Houston, anyone who has been a SWA flight between the two cities will notice that more than half the flight is business travelers. I don't see SWA putting up the same flight they did last time (although they will probably resist it) since they have grown significantly and their intra-Texas operations now represent a lower % of their overall revenue (ie they feel less threatened by it).

The biggest potential obstacle to this is someone turning it into a political issue for personal gain....and sadly that is real possibility given the current state of politics in the US.
This line will make a day trip between the two cities especially for business much easier. I love to fly but there's just something about the airport process for distances like this that are very inefficient. I feel like this Dallas to Houston line will set an example for building high speed rail in the rest of the country. I've done the drive on IH 45 from Houston to Dallas and it's just too damn long and eats up a lot of gas. I pray that this line gets build quickly and efficiently and is well embraced. I too feel that downtown-downtown is the best bet for this line to succeed. The stops you've mentioned also make perfect sense. I could see one more stop for park and ride around IH 20/IH635 but it would be fine without it.

I feel this will be a beautiful ride at 205 mph. I like the drive but it's just too long. I'd love to see Seimens Velaro's on this track but I'm sure since this is more of a Japanese thing, it will be something else. I'm too in love with China's implementation of high speed rail so much that I'd love to see the same thing here at home. It would also be nice if the current Amtrak Stations could be turned into high speed rail stations. Bring them back to their former glory somehow.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 11:31 PM   #4713
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For them, it matters not to their bottom line. I do think they're being a bit shortsighted about not needing to connect to the airports.
If limiting the stops to only downtown Houston and Dallas is what it takes to get it built then so be it. The potential for future infill stations is always a possibility.

Quote:
The one thing I will commend TX Central for is realizing they need to speak with residents in Central Texas who will be affected by the line. I think CAHSRA learned the hard way that outreach is vital.
I irony with the CAHSR project is that the section through the Central Valley cities, where they are facing a lot of problems, was considered a political comprise so the project benefited a large portion of the state (not just LA and SF areas) and helped area that was economically depressed. I think a western route paralleling I-5 would have been cheaper, faster, and encountered far less resistance.

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"Politics" isn't really the issue, and that's such a vacuous term anyways.
The term "Politics" isn't vacuous, it's intentionally vague to avoid taking sides but note the possibility of legal or legislative action by a wide range of groups or individuals with certain narrow political or ideological views that are opposed to the project (or aspects of the project). This could range from cities along the route that try to hold up the project to push for a station in their area, environmentalist claiming disruption or destruction of natural habitats, regulation of ticket pricing, claims that TCR is obtaining excessive benefits/support from the state, etc. I'm sure TCR will try to address all these issues early on but they will not be able to please everyone if they want to maintain the economics of the project.

I truly hope "Politics" will not become an issue and that they are able to move forward.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 02:45 AM   #4714
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I think Dallas-Houston is a great place to start 186 mph+ HSR in the US. I hope they can get this line built quickly with stations near the heart of the cities. The drive from Dallas to Houston is just loooooooooong. I see this line opening up awesome economic opportunities and I hope they can do something like they're doing in Wuhan area within Dallas and Houston, a local high speed commuter line but that's a current fantasy of mine.
Even though I am no fan of much about Texas, I agree if there's a political will to do this, it's a good place. Not only is the Dallas-Houston route potentially one that could have decent ridership but building in Texas, with flat, open terrain, should be relatively cheap and easy.

One problem I foresee: In order to ride HSR or any rail on a regular basis, as opposed to driving, you need good transportation options at the end of the trip. Intercity rail will work best between cities that have good public transportation--so you can hop onto a bus or rail transit to get around the destination city rather than having to rent a car (there often aren't car rental agencies near train stations, at least not yet). I'm not sure either Dallas or Houston meets this test.

Another: You say "they can get this built quickly with stations near the heart of the cities." I can't speak for Dallas, but I have travelled through Houston many times on AMTRAK and the train creeps on a giant loop through the city--the antithesis of "high speed". Are they planning some different route and to eliminate all the grade crossings and other issues that slow down any train?
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Old June 28th, 2014, 03:22 AM   #4715
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When it comes to the airport, I bet airlines will do the following:

Going to destinations that are served by HSR, check-in window reduced to 30 minutes rather than the standard hour or 45 minutes. Priority security will be given as well for those in order to compete. That would make the travel time about equivalent. However, as soon as you hit weather, forget it.

I am curious if connecting flights would still be happening. Even with Paris-Lyon HSR, CDG has 6 flights mainline and Orly has 3 flights on regional aircraft.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 03:23 AM   #4716
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With very fast high-speed rail service on these distance ranges (where trip time length is competitive with flying), last-mile problems can be easily solved same way airports do: taxis, rental car counters, easy access to the nearby freeway etc.

They could also use the opportunity to build some 2 or 3 "new cities" in between Dallas and Houston, along the line, on greenfield locations. Something like clusters of medium and high-rise agglomerations fit around stations.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 03:42 AM   #4717
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Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
One problem I foresee: In order to ride HSR or any rail on a regular basis, as opposed to driving, you need good transportation options at the end of the trip. Intercity rail will work best between cities that have good public transportation--so you can hop onto a bus or rail transit to get around the destination city rather than having to rent a car (there often aren't car rental agencies near train stations, at least not yet). I'm not sure either Dallas or Houston meets this test.
There are these things called "taxis" that would be perfect for that situation.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 04:54 AM   #4718
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Even though I am no fan of much about Texas, I agree if there's a political will to do this, it's a good place. Not only is the Dallas-Houston route potentially one that could have decent ridership but building in Texas, with flat, open terrain, should be relatively cheap and easy.

One problem I foresee: In order to ride HSR or any rail on a regular basis, as opposed to driving, you need good transportation options at the end of the trip. Intercity rail will work best between cities that have good public transportation--so you can hop onto a bus or rail transit to get around the destination city rather than having to rent a car (there often aren't car rental agencies near train stations, at least not yet). I'm not sure either Dallas or Houston meets this test.

Another: You say "they can get this built quickly with stations near the heart of the cities." I can't speak for Dallas, but I have travelled through Houston many times on AMTRAK and the train creeps on a giant loop through the city--the antithesis of "high speed". Are they planning some different route and to eliminate all the grade crossings and other issues that slow down any train?
Yes, people still fly between both cities (and to many others under similar circumstances). For the most part, business travelers will not need to go very far from these stations, and families/tourists will increasingly not need to either. In the end, they will simply rent cars, which is what most travelers int he US currently do if they are in a city without an expansive mass transit system.

Likewise, they are purchasing the entire Shikansen Package from JR Central. They are eager to begin exporting their expertise as potential for expansion domestically subsides. As such, this a completely, grade separated PDL. It will not share tracks. At all. Ever. At any point.

In fact, this is another gripe I have with the project. If they were smart, they'd be working with other agencies (namely, Amtrak) to allow them to operate on the system as well, potentially serving intermediate stops that the main, express service will not.

In any case, this is what you get when the endeavor is a majority private-venture. It's good-enough, but could be a bit better.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 08:13 AM   #4719
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Sensational. I have been waiting years and years for a chance to see a real HSR built in the USA. This proposal actually has legs. That is quite a great thing now. I'm really hoping that Dallas to Houston will take off and usher in more HSR in the USA, especially in the North East.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 10:42 AM   #4720
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Even though I am no fan of much about Texas, I agree if there's a political will to do this, it's a good place. Not only is the Dallas-Houston route potentially one that could have decent ridership but building in Texas, with flat, open terrain, should be relatively cheap and easy.

One problem I foresee: In order to ride HSR or any rail on a regular basis, as opposed to driving, you need good transportation options at the end of the trip. Intercity rail will work best between cities that have good public transportation--so you can hop onto a bus or rail transit to get around the destination city rather than having to rent a car (there often aren't car rental agencies near train stations, at least not yet). I'm not sure either Dallas or Houston meets this test.

Another: You say "they can get this built quickly with stations near the heart of the cities." I can't speak for Dallas, but I have travelled through Houston many times on AMTRAK and the train creeps on a giant loop through the city--the antithesis of "high speed". Are they planning some different route and to eliminate all the grade crossings and other issues that slow down any train?
The approach to Dallas would have very few obstacles, as the city is very sparsely developed within a mile or two of downtown. South Dallas to downtown Dallas might be the easiest part of the route to plan. Especially with a levee that the Army Corps is prepping and testing for a tollway.

i don't know what kind of comprehensive rail you're asking for, but DART radiates from downtown Dallas. It only misses on of the major business corridors in Dallas at present, Hits each of Dallas' major hospitals and airports and even downtown Fort Worth. If it were to only go to the south part of the city, there are 4 possible rail lines for it to connect to. I would suspect downtown dallas will have a stop at some point just because the studied route to Fort Worth is actually down the large median of I-30 between the two cities.
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