The high-speed bullet train between Houston and Dallas is taking shape. Courtesy JR Central.
The much-talked-about Texas bullet train is picking up steam once again after 20 proposed bills threatened to derail the project. As state legislature completed its regular session, it passed only two of the proposed bills – neither of which will block development of the proposed $12 billion rail that would zoom high-speed trains between Houston and Dallas at 205 MPH.
The first bill that passed prevents the use of state funds for the ambitious project, which does force the high-speed train to be completely privately funded. The other bill requires the rail service to meet strict security standards for the safety of passengers.
Texas Central Group, the privately funded rail firm behind the project, applauded the legislature for its cooperation in a public statement. The firm says it is ready to move forward with building the rail the right way – what it is dubbing the “Texas Way.”
“The ‘Texas Way’ means this project will be the SAFEST way to travel in the world, built and operated based on data-driven decisions from free market principles and no state appropriations. The two bills that were approved are rooted in that – safety and fiscal responsibility,” wrote Holly Reed, Texas Central’s managing director of external affairs..
When (and if) it’s finished, the train will whisk passengers between Dallas and Houston in under 90 minutes. Depending on the timing of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, construction on the 240 mile rail could start as early as 2018. Early projections have the build taking five years.
The rail corridor will use the N700-I Bullet total system, an international version of the system currently used in Japan to carry passengers between Tokyo and Osaka. The technology has a spotless safety record, operating for more than half a century in Japan without a single passenger injury or fatality due to train accidents.
The system also uses less energy and expends less carbon dioxide than commercial airplanes. Texas Central says that the bullet train’s ticket prices will be “very competitive with those of airlines.” The high-speed train will pose a major threat to airlines if it ever does get built, but it’s still got a ways to go before it can hit the rails running.