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Culture / Travel

Texas Bullet Train Makes Major Move to Meet Environmental Requirements — a Green Rail Awaits?

90-Minute Zooms Between Houston and Dallas Will Keep Cars Off I-45

BY // 02.06.19

The hotly anticipated high-speed Texas bullet train is speeding further ahead. Construction still isn’t set to begin until late this year, but a new piece of information has been revealed: the high-tech Houston to Dallas train is moving to be ecologically and environmentally friendly.

This high-speed N700 Supreme Shinkansen train wants to be the most environmentally conscious travel option for people to get from Houston to Dallas. The train’s developers claim that its 90-minute dashes (at speeds up to 205 MPH) between Houston and Dallas will potentially remove more than 14,630 cars from I-45 per day.

Calling all day trippers, businesspeople and hippies alike. Things are right on track.

Texas Central, the all-electric train’s developer, is partnering with Resource Environmental Solutions, otherwise known as RES, to enhance and protect the environment and natural ecosystems throughout the construction process and operations.

The Environmental Specialists

Houston-based RES has made a big impact in the last 10 years, enhancing 290-plus miles of streams, planting more than 14 million restorative trees and restoring more than 58,000 acres of wetlands. RES is the United States’ largest ecosystem restoration provider, responsible for projects such as the Robinson Fork Stream Mitigation Bank and the Maurepas Swamp in Louisiana.

Now, RES is being tasked with meeting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s requirements of enhancing, preserving and restoring wetlands, environmentally sensitive habitats and streams all along the train’s route.

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It’s set to be a proactive process, with RES seeking out and collaborating with community leaders to find opportunities for local and regional conservation.

“As Texans, RES understands the importance that Texans place on preserving the natural beauty of our great state, and we are confident that this systematic approach to restoring and preserving sensitive ecosystems will result in widespread improvements across the region and beyond,” Bill Trucker, project delivery director at Texas Central, says in a statement.

RES is responsible for identifying entire complexes of wetlands and streams in need of improvement and conservation and isolated areas along the train’s route that need restoration. The areas span the Navasota River, Trinity River, Cypress Creek and Spring Creek. The ultimate goal is augmenting and joining wildlife habitat corridors, enhancing flood resiliency and improving the water quality along the route.

A significant portion of the train’s route follows existing right-of-way corridors, resulting in lessened natural, physical, cultural and socioeconomic impact in the developer’s estimation.

“The Texas high-speed train is an excellent example of how a modern, green infrastructure approach can be harnessed for both ecological and economic benefits,”RES CEO Elliott Bouillon says in a statement.

There are a lot of concrete benefits of this Texas Central – RES partnership for the electric train, which will use green tech, including regenerative braking systems. For every mile of the train’s railroad tracks, RES will preserve 450 acres of farmland and the train will offset emissions in the four-country area.

The particular train model that the Texas bullet train will deploy weighs seven tons less and consumes seven times less energy than the one that preceded it. That translates to fewer impacts on land and materials, less vibration and less noise.

It’s a little less long strange trip, and a little more short responsible one.

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