Texas Firm Moves Forward on Bullet Train
High-speed rail company Texas Central last week signed a memorandum of understanding with the mayor of Houston to move forward with a plan for a bullet train that would connect that city with the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
According to the agreement, Texas Central, a private firm, will work with the city to plan the system, integrating it with public transit services. The company will also recruit Houston residents to help bring the system into operation.
Texas Central is seeking to bring the project, with an estimated price tag greater than $10 billion, to fruition using private investment. The company announced Aug. 14 that it has entered agreements with Fluor Enterprises, of Irving, Texas, and The Lane Construction Corporation, a Cheshire, Connecticut-based subsidiary of Salini-Impregilo, to work on design during the development phase of the project.
Fluor and Lane will be the preferred design-build contractor if and when the project moves forward out of the development phase. Texas Central hopes to begin construction as early as late 2018, pending permits and environmental assessments.
The high-speed rail project would connect the two largest metropolitan areas in the state, with one stop west of Houston in the Brazos Valley. The trip from Dallas to Houston would take about 90 minutes, according to Texas Central, saving 50 minutes compared with the average flight between the two cities, or 70 minutes over driving.
The bullet train would travel up to 205 mph, according to Texas Central; it would be based on the “Shinkansen” system, operated in Japan. The Central Japan Railway Company announced in 2010 that it intended to enter the U.S. market with its N700-I Shinkansen rail system, which Texas Central plans to employ.
Texas Central commissioned a study last year that found that nearly 5 million people would use the bullet train by 2026.