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Texas Goes After HSR $ for Dallas-Houston Line

Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:25 PM

(Houston--Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is hoping to snag a portion of Florida’s unwanted high-speed rail money. TxDOT, which submitted its application to the Federal Railroad Administration this week, is hoping to secure nearly $43 million of the $2.4 billion dollars that’s available. The agency wants to spend $18 million on preliminary engineering and environmental studies for the proposed Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line, which is considered the most economically viable route in the state—not surprising given that, with a combined population of 3.3 million people, they’re two of the most populated cities in the country. “We feel like it’s time to connect those two,” said Jennifer Moczygemba, the rail system director with TxDOT’s Rail Division. There’s not a whole lot going on in between the two cities though, which is why Moczygemba says it would likely operate as an express service with speeds up to 150 miles per hour and few or no stops.

TxDOT wants to spend the remaining $24.8 million on the final design and construction of a federally-mandated safety system (called Positive Train Control) for the Trinity Rail Express corridor, which operates between Dallas and Fort Worth. The safety technology monitors train movements to prevent rail collisions and derailments on tracks that carry both passenger and freight trains.

But Texas isn’t the only one chasing the money. California, the District of Columbia, and 23 other states are all vying for the heavily sought-after funds too. And it’s hard to say how Texas will stack up against all that competition. Moczygemba says TxDOT put in “a pretty good application and we’ll just have to see how everything plays out.”

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Comments [6]

gblatham

Another comment, if I may:

We don't need to be thinking about a "Dallas/Houston" service as much as, say, a DENTON/GALVESTON service!

Offer direct connections on the north end with DART/D.C.T.A. (probably in Carrollton). Serve some of Dallas' burgeoning suburbs, and, perhaps, at least one of the area's airports. Expand and improve Union Terminal. Get away from the airline industry's "end-point mentality."

On the south end, use the new route as a catalyst for the [re]development of a major downtown Houston terminal station. Once again, include the commercial airports in planning efforts. Effectively tie Galveston Island to the mainland.

This isn't rocket science; it's RAILROADING...which, apparently, is an even more challenging field!

Garl

Apr. 18 2011 10:14 PM
gblatham

Justin,

I don't question the need for such a service. I question the approach being taken.

Garl

Apr. 18 2011 03:55 PM
Justin

ive been saying this needs to happen for years. it just makes sense. plus, houston and dallas have been investing into light rail around their cities, and this high speed rail would be a great opportunity to link up to the light rail systems to increase riders.

Apr. 17 2011 05:34 AM
gblatham

"...I don't believe the best way to allocate limited capital resources for an improved/expanded North American passenger train network is through the establishment of true high speed railway services. The idea of U.S. H.S.R. is dramatically overplayed and, although I have no doubt it would be successful, spending even the smallest amount of funds toward dedicated, passenger-only rights-of-way and infrastructure without FIRST creating a comprehensive domestic transportation/energy/environmental policy is sheer folly!

"...before we embrace the H.S.R. concept, we should accept the various intermediate steps necessary to make high-speed projects work.

"...we must realise that there is not a single location in the world where true high-speed train transportation has been developed prior to the buildout and maximisation of its conventional railway network. Not one! In order for H.S.R. to be successful, passengers must have access to local transit, commuter and regional services, and a healthy intercity system, so their trips may be completed in an efficient and timely fashion."

From my column: "High Speed Rail is not the starting point"

http://myprogressiverailroading.com/blogs/gblatham/archive/2010/06/30/high-speed-rail-is-not-the-starting-point.aspx

Garl B. Latham
Dallas

Apr. 13 2011 10:53 PM
gblatham

"Here in Dallas, our service to Houston was once quite enviable. Quick reading of a mid-century Guide can make a profound impression: multiple daily trains - safe, dependable, comfortable - each operating on an approximate four hour carding. Even now, such timing would be competitive with the always difficult and sometimes excruciating drive along Interstate 45. Offer such trains to an iPod and MP3 crowd, along with the current-day equivalent of traditional on-board amenities such as dining, club-lounge and parlor observation cars, and you probably couldn't schedule enough daily departures to satisfy the demand!

"[Please note my use of the phrase 'modern day equivalent.' A secretary/stenographer might be a needless extravagance, but computer 'Wi-Fi' could be immensely popular.]

"Now, of course, we can only busy ourselves studying shiny 'T-Bone' brochures and reading the latest government proposals, while those who would patronise the railroads find that Amtrak doesn't even offer one train at any speed between the two cities."

From my column: "The myth of 'Higher Speed Rail'"

http://myprogressiverailroading.com/blogs/gblatham/archive/2010/07/09/the-myth-of-quot-higher-speed-rail-quot.aspx

Garl B. Latham
Dallas

Apr. 13 2011 10:30 PM
gblatham

Well, isn't this fascinating...

We have "transportation planners" in positions of authority who're convinced trains will best serve the market if they don't stop!

Eliminating for a moment cities like Corsicana and Waxahachie - even Waco (which has been shown on previous maps as a possible intermediate point), what about COLLEGE STATION?!

A "non-stop" train will essentially duplicate the Houston/Dallas "corridor" we already have in place, namely Southwest Airlines.

Heaven help us when self-proclaimed railroad experts begin drawing lines on a map!

Garl B. Latham
Dallas

Apr. 13 2011 10:12 PM

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