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Old May 12th, 2017, 06:23 AM   #6821
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May Construction updates.

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Old May 15th, 2017, 08:45 AM   #6822
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Gov. Brown asks President Trump for help on the California bullet train

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Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appealed to President Trump for help on the California bullet train, which would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Brown’s letter asks the president to transfer federal oversight of environmental reviews on the $64-billion project to the state rail authority.


It also seems to search for common ground between two leaders who have little other than an appreciation for high-speed rail and a disdain for what some would call “red tape.”
Brown has made the construction of a bullet train a cornerstone of his vision for the state’s future transportation system, while Trump has touted the need for fast trains nationwide.


So far, Brown hasn’t gained any demonstrable traction with the Trump Administration, but the letter appears to be his biggest bet yet that he can do business with the president — even while the Trump administration battles California over sanctuary cities and other hot-button issues.
Brown’s request for “delegation of federal authority” under the National Environmental Protection Act is far from symbolic.
The bullet train project’s environmental review process is behind schedule. Earlier this year, the state’s rail authority said it would not meet its long-stated goal to have all of its reviews done this year and that they would slip into 2018.
“The authority has had ongoing discussions with the administration about streamlining the environmental process,” rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said in an email Friday.
Brown made his request because he believes the state can handle the environmental workload faster than federal regulators, according to officials close to the project.
The rail project is broken into a series of regional segments for environmental review, each requiring the designation of routes, station locations and many other matters.
Teams of state consultants prepare the massive documents that the rail authority board submits to the Federal Railroad Administration for final approval.
The two segments in the Central Valley that have completed reviews so far were amended to leave out the most complex parts, including how the bullet train would go through Bakersfield and how it would complete a complex rail junction north of Madera.
Those reviews have been subject to a number of amendments, each of which must be forwarded to the Federal Railroad Administration for approval.
Alley said those amendments are not extensive. But Elizabeth Alexis, co-founder of a Bay Area group that has been a longtime critic of the project, said many parts of approved environmental documents have undergone revisions and must pass through federal regulators, which causes delays.
Brown is seeking to shortcut that process so that the rail authority board makes the final decision on the reviews and the changes.
In his letter, he tells Trump that getting waivers from federal environmental oversight has allowed California to “cut the regulatory burden on thousands of road projects.”
And he noted that Trump’s own White House Council on Environmental Quality has outlined a process to expedite such reviews.
Several years ago, Brown had discussed putting the rail project on a “fast track” approval process for environmental review, similar to the abbreviated procedures that are sometimes granted to such projects as sports stadiums.
But environmental groups opposed watering down environmental protections even while supporting the bullet train.
The state’s Republican delegation in the House has sought to initiate a major financial audit of the project and delay funding.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 06:30 AM   #6823
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Trump administration approved $650M for Caltrain electrification.

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The Trump administration announced Monday that it will fully fund a $650 million federal grant for electrification of a San Francisco Bay Area train system that also would help California's high-speed rail project.
The government previously delayed a decision when congressional Republicans objected. But the Federal Transit Administration said in a statement that the Caltrain project had "met all of the statutory requirements" for the funding.
Members of California's GOP delegation had asked President Donald Trump's administration to block approval of the grant to electrify a major commuter line, Caltrain, between San Jose and San Francisco until an audit of the bullet train's finances is completed.
They said providing additional funding to help the $64 billion high-speed rail project would be an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars.
Future bullet trains would need electrified rails and high-speed rail's business plan calls for the two systems to share lines along the Peninsula Corridor in the Bay Area.
Monday's announcement includes $100 million already allocated for Caltrain this fiscal year and an additional $547 million over the next five years.
"This is exactly the type of infrastructure investment our country needs," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said in a statement.
Caltrain officials say the $2 billion project will create as many as 10,000 jobs in half a dozen states, including 500 in Utah where a manufacturer is set to open a facility to build more rail cars.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who lobbied Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to release the funding, said it will expand service on a congested corridor, improve air quality and put thousands of people to work.
"Secretary Chao did the right thing on Caltrain. This is not only good for California, it's good for America," Brown said in a statement.
Congressional Republicans who pushed for the funding delay did not immediately issue statements on the funding.
Trump has spoken favorably of high-speed rail and lamented that the United States is behind many other countries that have bullet trains.

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Old May 24th, 2017, 11:31 PM   #6824
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Trump seems to dislike how many countries he finds inferior have better infrastructure. He's alluded to that several times. I don't find it surprising he found the money to fund it.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 03:53 AM   #6825
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siamu maharaj View Post
Trump seems to dislike how many countries he finds inferior have better infrastructure. He's alluded to that several times. I don't find it surprising he found the money to fund it.
Here's hoping that becomes one of the few good things to come out of the Trump administration.

He *is* a New York property developer after all, I would expect him to be well aware of the benefits of infrastructure and mass transit...
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Old May 25th, 2017, 04:26 AM   #6826
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I'm not sure I expect him to be aware of anything, but who can complain about the administration not reneging on promises for funding for good projects?
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Old May 25th, 2017, 11:09 PM   #6827
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California Bullet Train Construction Update

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Old May 28th, 2017, 07:35 PM   #6828
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M II A II R II K
A 3-Part Plan to Rebuild New York's Old Penn Station


May 4th, 2015

By ERIC JAFFE

Read More: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/...tation/392261/





















Source: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=216940
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Old June 8th, 2017, 06:16 PM   #6829
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Could New York's Pennsylvania Station actually get rebuilt the way it was?

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Originally Posted by treehugger
I usually dislike reproductions and reconstructions, and believe that one can mix new and old. But Penn Station is a different case; it is righting a wrong, giving us back something that should never have been taken away. I wonder what Ada Louise Huxtable would have thought. What do you think?


Read More: https://www.treehugger.com/green-arc...ay-it-was.html
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Old June 8th, 2017, 06:25 PM   #6830
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Old June 14th, 2017, 01:23 PM   #6831
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Texas

Interesting and extensive article on the future of this infrastructure:
Biting the bullet: Is Texas ready to embrace high-speed rail? Railway Technology May 22 2017.

Quote:
The Texas bullet train proposal is dividing opinion across the Lone Star State, but recent reports suggest that President Trump has earmarked it as one of the country’s key infrastructure projects. Could this be the boost the project needs, or simply hot air? Ross Davies looks at the arguments.
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Old June 15th, 2017, 08:25 AM   #6832
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gusiluz View Post
Interesting and extensive article on the future of this infrastructure:
Biting the bullet: Is Texas ready to embrace high-speed rail? Railway Technology May 22 2017.


Wow. That workman guy is a total tool. The instant he says... Make America Great again... we have Amtrak... this is a bad deal... he loses all credibility. A private operator and builder will obviously use the the most profitable and lowest risk. Building a system and trains from scratch when you have no hsr industry is the definition of risk.

China has used technology from Japan, Germany, and France to build its system In a quick and efficient manner. No need to reinvent the wheel here.

I'm confident the Texan system and the California are two systems that show two radically different approaches. The California system is a very custom highly subsidized but essential people transport system that needs subsidizing due to a heavily built of state and lots of building restrictions. The Texas system is a for profit route that I think will compete directly with business air travel between the two cities that can be built profitably due to big spaces. Both are essential. California to prove that you can overcome major political and geological challenges and Texas to prove that you can overcome financial and eminent domain challenges.
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Old June 15th, 2017, 12:57 PM   #6833
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemeansgo View Post
I'm confident the Texan system and the California are two systems that show two radically different approaches. The California system is a very custom highly subsidized but essential people transport system that needs subsidizing due to a heavily built of state and lots of building restrictions. The Texas system is a for profit route that I think will compete directly with business air travel between the two cities that can be built profitably due to big spaces. Both are essential. California to prove that you can overcome major political and geological challenges and Texas to prove that you can overcome financial and eminent domain challenges.
As someone who's pretty familiar with CAHSR but only has a passing knowledge of the Texas Central system, I have a few questions I haven't been able to figure out:
  • As a private company, how is Texas Central able to exercise eminent domain to complete the corridor?
  • How is Texas Central able to get electrified HSR-compatible tracks to downtown Dallas and Houston? CAHSR is partnering with Caltrain and Metrolink in SF and LA to share tracks into LA Union and the Transbay Terminal. Is Texas Central going to build a new alignmemt through downtown into new stations, or are they going to "blend" with existing commuter rail tracks and use existing stations?
  • To what extent is JR involved in the project? It seems to me that Texas Central is in charge of administration whereas JR will supply the trainsets and wayside equipment and provide a bulk of the engineering services. Is that a fair statement? Is JR making financial commitments to the project beyond simply as a supplier?
  • The quoted $15B total buildout cost seems quite low compared to the CAHSR amount. Is this simply because the corridor is flat and rural?
  • Of all places, I wouldn't expect Texas to be one of the first to have a true privately-funded HSR system. Is there any other example of a fully private system being built like this (not a private operator utilizing public tracks/trains)?
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Old June 16th, 2017, 08:59 AM   #6834
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California High-Speed Rail drills into Pacheco pass in preparation for tunnel boring.

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The geological secrets of Pacheco Pass are buried up to 1,500 feet below the brown and rounded hills of the Diablo Range east of Gilroy.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is several weeks into a project to dig those secrets out before boring a pair of 28-foot diameter tunnels scheduled to carry 200 mph trains between San Jose and the San Joaquin Valley within eight years.


“We want it completed so we can start laying tracks and get into our revenue service as quick as we can,” said Randy Anderson, the authority’s engineering manager and its tunneling expert. The construction schedule for the tunnels calls for hiring a design-build contractor next year.
High-speed trains don’t mix well with the steep grades and sharp turns of conventional mountain railroads, so what will become North America’s longest rail tunnels at completion will maintain a relatively level and straight path in their 13 miles underground. A shorter 1½-mile tunnel is also planned at the Gilroy end to lift the rail line into the valley near the Casa de Fruta.
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Old June 16th, 2017, 10:48 AM   #6835
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSMEX View Post
As someone who's pretty familiar with CAHSR but only has a passing knowledge of the Texas Central system, I have a few questions I haven't been able to figure out:
  • As a private company, how is Texas Central able to exercise eminent domain to complete the corridor?
  • How is Texas Central able to get electrified HSR-compatible tracks to downtown Dallas and Houston? CAHSR is partnering with Caltrain and Metrolink in SF and LA to share tracks into LA Union and the Transbay Terminal. Is Texas Central going to build a new alignmemt through downtown into new stations, or are they going to "blend" with existing commuter rail tracks and use existing stations?
  • To what extent is JR involved in the project? It seems to me that Texas Central is in charge of administration whereas JR will supply the trainsets and wayside equipment and provide a bulk of the engineering services. Is that a fair statement? Is JR making financial commitments to the project beyond simply as a supplier?
  • The quoted $15B total buildout cost seems quite low compared to the CAHSR amount. Is this simply because the corridor is flat and rural?
  • Of all places, I wouldn't expect Texas to be one of the first to have a true privately-funded HSR system. Is there any other example of a fully private system being built like this (not a private operator utilizing public tracks/trains)?
I don't have all the answers, and I'm not intimately familiar with the Texas system. However, I am very familiar with the Japanese system being used.

The alignment will be on dedicated tracks. Much of it will likely be built on viaducts, like the Japanese system. This preserves land below and allows the train to have no level crossings. Much of the alignment will follow existing rail ROWs where possible. Stations will not go all the way into downtown, they will stop short. This helps greatly to keep the costs down. At a future date, it can always be extended, but this is primarily an intercity transport system designed 1st to compete with Air, not the car.


Japanese systems favor this kind of system. In Japan, much of the local rail runs on narrow gauge tracks, so is incompatible with bullet trains anyhow... however, they do have some mixed systems like the Joetsu mini-Shinkansen where standard gauge tracks exist. The Seikan tunnel is also shared. Note that Japanese law prohibits trains from running faster than 140km/h ( if I'm not mistaken ) if there are ANY level crossings.

JR is supplying technology and guidance. They're essentially a partner and supplier, but I'm sure there will be a long ongoing relationship for things like trainsets and other lines. JR really wants a line in the USA to prove its technology and built relationships and hopefully get other contracts in the USA. JR Central is massively profitable in Japan and is currently financing the build of a Mag Lev line called the Chuo Shinkansen.

Is the $15B low, or is the California quote high? The California system is really complex, runs through a fault zone, has WAY more red tape, is bound by strict environmental restrictions, has to deal with much more NIMBY-type entitlement and due to it's funding (public) has to please more masters. The Texas system runs for a large part of its alignment through existing ROWs, like electrical ROWs and, yes, has a MUCH less challenging terrain to navigate. Land is also a LOT cheaper in Texas.

When it comes to costs, much can be saved with you have people working TOWARDS a goal instead of fighting it tooth and nail. In Japan, the Chuo Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nagoya is forecast to cost $50B and it's 286km long. Of note... the Chuo line will be 90% in tunnels!!!! some of which are under 40m underground. This is a massive undertaking... but required due to the speeds of the MagLev. At 500km/h noise and safety become serious issues. Much of the tunneling will happen through the Japanese Alps!! Despite it being a massive intercity subway using a brand-new technology with hovering trains from the future... it is estimated to cost $175M / km.

The Dallas Houston route is about 375km or so (~$40M/km).

At first glance this seems low compared to California, but consider a recently completed project, the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It was completed for ¥1.7 Trillion ($15B USD). This is about $60M / km. So... does the $40M / km estimate for Texas HSR seem overly optimistic? Not necessarily. MOST of the cost of these lines are when you start to put them underground. This is why the Chuo line will be so expensive. The Hokuriku line was about 50% in tunnels, due to Nagano being a mountain city (where the Winter Olympics were held).

source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/201...ourists-abuzz/


source: http://www.apta.com/mc/hsr/previous/...ines-Japan.pdf

Because the route in Texas is along a utility corridor, above a freight ROW and not right into downtown, the cost seems reasonable assuming it doesn't hit law suits and legal disputes along the way. It's probably somewhat underpriced, but not overly so.

The real question is: Why is the California system so expensive? Personally, I think that system is biting off more than it can chew, but I also don't see how it could be any other way. It seems like California was trying to gold plate the system and serve every single Californian along the corridor instead of treating it like a San Francisco - LA connector. It's pretty common knowledge that the VAST majority of ridership comes from travelers going from one major city to the other. Smaller cities and towns along the way really don't use the line NEARLY as much. This is why, for example, out of 18 hourly trains between Tokyo and Osaka... one ONE train makes all stops. MOST trains ONLY stop at the Major cities of Yokohama and Nagoya.
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Old June 16th, 2017, 02:14 PM   #6836
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Pretty funny how they try to point out why the HSR is built with very gentle slopes, but the truth from Europe is that no railways can be laid so steeply as HSR ones because of the lack of goods trains. At once 5% is very reasonable where we shouldn't even try it on normal tracks.
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Old June 16th, 2017, 03:08 PM   #6837
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Old June 16th, 2017, 04:10 PM   #6838
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of course it doesn't really show any details. However, the shift to private companies was ongoing already with the increasing number of turnpikes and also the Texas HST plan. It is good on one side as it finally enables parts of the USA to good transport options, with which I mean different than by car, but regulation is also important to prevent the projects to become only for the rich.
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Old June 16th, 2017, 07:56 PM   #6839
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemeansgo View Post
I don't have all the answers, and I'm not intimately familiar with the Texas system. However, I am very familiar with the Japanese system being used.

The alignment will be on dedicated tracks. Much of it will likely be built on viaducts, like the Japanese system. This preserves land below and allows the train to have no level crossings. Much of the alignment will follow existing rail ROWs where possible. Stations will not go all the way into downtown, they will stop short. This helps greatly to keep the costs down. At a future date, it can always be extended, but this is primarily an intercity transport system designed 1st to compete with Air, not the car.


Japanese systems favor this kind of system. In Japan, much of the local rail runs on narrow gauge tracks, so is incompatible with bullet trains anyhow... however, they do have some mixed systems like the Joetsu mini-Shinkansen where standard gauge tracks exist. The Seikan tunnel is also shared. Note that Japanese law prohibits trains from running faster than 140km/h ( if I'm not mistaken ) if there are ANY level crossings.

JR is supplying technology and guidance. They're essentially a partner and supplier, but I'm sure there will be a long ongoing relationship for things like trainsets and other lines. JR really wants a line in the USA to prove its technology and built relationships and hopefully get other contracts in the USA. JR Central is massively profitable in Japan and is currently financing the build of a Mag Lev line called the Chuo Shinkansen.

Is the $15B low, or is the California quote high? The California system is really complex, runs through a fault zone, has WAY more red tape, is bound by strict environmental restrictions, has to deal with much more NIMBY-type entitlement and due to it's funding (public) has to please more masters. The Texas system runs for a large part of its alignment through existing ROWs, like electrical ROWs and, yes, has a MUCH less challenging terrain to navigate. Land is also a LOT cheaper in Texas.

When it comes to costs, much can be saved with you have people working TOWARDS a goal instead of fighting it tooth and nail. In Japan, the Chuo Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nagoya is forecast to cost $50B and it's 286km long. Of note... the Chuo line will be 90% in tunnels!!!! some of which are under 40m underground. This is a massive undertaking... but required due to the speeds of the MagLev. At 500km/h noise and safety become serious issues. Much of the tunneling will happen through the Japanese Alps!! Despite it being a massive intercity subway using a brand-new technology with hovering trains from the future... it is estimated to cost $175M / km.

The Dallas Houston route is about 375km or so (~$40M/km).

At first glance this seems low compared to California, but consider a recently completed project, the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It was completed for ¥1.7 Trillion ($15B USD). This is about $60M / km. So... does the $40M / km estimate for Texas HSR seem overly optimistic? Not necessarily. MOST of the cost of these lines are when you start to put them underground. This is why the Chuo line will be so expensive. The Hokuriku line was about 50% in tunnels, due to Nagano being a mountain city (where the Winter Olympics were held).

source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/201...ourists-abuzz/


source: http://www.apta.com/mc/hsr/previous/...ines-Japan.pdf

Because the route in Texas is along a utility corridor, above a freight ROW and not right into downtown, the cost seems reasonable assuming it doesn't hit law suits and legal disputes along the way. It's probably somewhat underpriced, but not overly so.

The real question is: Why is the California system so expensive? Personally, I think that system is biting off more than it can chew, but I also don't see how it could be any other way. It seems like California was trying to gold plate the system and serve every single Californian along the corridor instead of treating it like a San Francisco - LA connector. It's pretty common knowledge that the VAST majority of ridership comes from travelers going from one major city to the other. Smaller cities and towns along the way really don't use the line NEARLY as much. This is why, for example, out of 18 hourly trains between Tokyo and Osaka... one ONE train makes all stops. MOST trains ONLY stop at the Major cities of Yokohama and Nagoya.
Infrastructure in Texas is cheap (for whatever reason). In the US highways thread, there was a mention of a highway interchange replacement somewhere in New England for $12 billion. If you look at the cost of highways interchanges in Texas, even the most complex ones run below a billion.
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Old June 16th, 2017, 09:26 PM   #6840
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[QUOTE=SSMEX;140660652]As someone who's pretty familiar with CAHSR but only has a passing knowledge of the Texas Central system, I have a few questions I haven't been able to figure out:
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSMEX
  • As a private company, how is Texas Central able to exercise eminent domain to complete the corridor?

  • They aren't using eminent domain at this point, but rather doing private deals. Part of the line is using a wide utility corridor that they have been approved to use where it works most effectively. Should they need ED, there's plenty of precedence of private companies using ED for infrastructure ROW in Texas against landowners wishes.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSMEX
  • How is Texas Central able to get electrified HSR-compatible tracks to downtown Dallas and Houston? CAHSR is partnering with Caltrain and Metrolink in SF and LA to share tracks into LA Union and the Transbay Terminal. Is Texas Central going to build a new alignmemt through downtown into new stations, or are they going to "blend" with existing commuter rail tracks and use existing stations?
  • In Houston the line will follow a utility corridor to a station on loop 610, which isn't downtown. In Dallas, though, the ultility corridor runs close to downtown, then there is a wide river/flood plain corridor that runs all the way to the western edge of downtown, allowing an easy route to connect with light, commuter and other rail and bus systems downtown via a planned station just south of Union Station.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSMEX
  • To what extent is JR involved in the project? It seems to me that Texas Central is in charge of administration whereas JR will supply the trainsets and wayside equipment and provide a bulk of the engineering services. Is that a fair statement? Is JR making financial commitments to the project beyond simply as a supplier?
  • JR is financing the project. TCR is basically a political arm/consultant to negotiate and navigate the logistics of making it happens. They've been purchasing the infrastructure and basically in Texas trying to keep the state out of things as much as possible. Delicate dance in Texas. As small as the rural population has become compared to the urban population, the rural population still has a ton of power and many things at the state level bow to their interests. TCR has to basically work around that.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSMEX
  • The quoted $15B total buildout cost seems quite low compared to the CAHSR amount. Is this simply because the corridor is flat and rural?
  • Of all places, I wouldn't expect Texas to be one of the first to have a true privately-funded HSR system. Is there any other example of a fully private system being built like this (not a private operator utilizing public tracks/trains)?
Infrastructure in Texas is cheap because of cheaper, flatter land, lower labor costs and easy proximity to cheap, raw materials.

Having said all of that, I'll be shocked if this happens. I think there's this perception that rural Texas is filled with a bunch of simpletons. Instead, you have some of the most politically savvy business people in the country. Many cattle ranchers, larger companies with distribution centers or factories and natural resource extractors, who have decades of experience with manipulating and maneuvering state policy to work on their side. If this happens it will be a miracle.

With all of that, you have two of the 3 largest air carriers in North America headquartered in DFW and a fourth that merged with United in Houston. They have stopped competitors before. Prediction: Good luck with that.
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