The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in cooperation with Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Central Texas High-Speed Rail Corridor. The proposed corridor will connect Dallas and Houston with a dedicated High Speed Rail (HSR) system proposed by a private company, Texas Central Railway (TCR). TCR plans a HSR system that will allow easy and convenient connections with other transportation services in Houston and Dallas. As part of the EIS, the impacts of various alternative HSR route alignments will be analyzed including shared corridors with an existing rail line and along electric utility lines. The TCR’s proposed high speed line will operate on a dedicated right-of-way and would not share track or infrastructure with existing trains and rail lines. In addition, the EIS will analyze the potential impacts of stations, power or fueling stations, and maintenance facilities to support HSR operations.
TCR is a Texas-based company formed in 2009 to bring HSR to Texas as a private-sector venture. Working closely with Central Japan Railway Company (JRC), TCR is proposing the deployment of JRC’s N700-I Bullet System based on the world’s safest, most reliable, lowest emission, electric-powered, HSR systems, the Tokaido Shinkansen System. Developed and operated by JRC and the former Japan National Railways, the Tokaido Shinkansen has operated safely for almost 50 years and carries over 400,000 daily passengers. The most current generation Shinkansen train, the Series N700, runs at speeds up to 186 miles per hour.
FRA published a Notice of Intent on June 25, 2014 and hosted an agency coordination meeting in Austin on the same date. Public scoping meetings will be announced shortly.
The Texas Department of Transportation is a co-lead for this NEPA project and has information on their website: http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/rail.html
More information on the train system is available at TCR’s website: http://www.texascentral.com/