The Japanese bullet train now seems to be heading to Texas — for real.
The Kagayaki train
The high-speed Texas bullet train between Houston and Dallas is taking shape. Courtesy JR Central.
When it comes to fighting traffic for hours on the long trips between Dallas and Houston, there may be a new silver bullet— none other than the Texas Bullet Train. This Japanese-inspired downtown Dallas to northwest Houston high-speed rail would be the first of its kind in the United States.
“Would be” because it’s long felt like a rumor — but now it’s looking a lot more like a “will be.” Masaru Yosano, chief general manager of Central Japan Railway Company, tells WFAA that plans are going forward, complete with a specific time frame.
“We will start the construction next year,” Yosano says.
The Texas train is being developed by Central Japan Railway Company, and its partner, Texas Central. The next step — final approval from the Federal Railroad Administration.
Compare that to the three and a half to four hours it takes by car when there’s no traffic. And anyone who regularly drives between Houston and Dallas knows light traffic times are rare. Often the drive stretches out well over four hours.
The only downside to the new bullet train? No trip to Buc-ee’s. But time is money, and beaver nuggets definitely are not.
And just think —according to Texas Central’s research studies, in the next 20 years, the car travel time between Dallas and Houston is projected to spike up to an unbelievable, stomach-churning six and a half hours.
Texas’ Bullet Train
You can thank the Texas train’s breakneck pace of 186 miles per hour for cutting down travel time. The Texas train will start at that speed and could increase up to a crazy-fast 205 mph over time, making for an even faster trip.
The exact model, N700I —with the I standing for International— will have several critical differences from Central Japan Railway’s current N700 train.
Texas’ train will likely be more efficient, lighter and significantly shorter at eight train cars instead of the typical 16.
The Texas take on Shinkansen will probably also feature economy and First Class seat cabins, both of which will boast high ceilings, spacious seats and wide aisles. Either side of the aisle will have two seats. The Japanese trains also have electrical outlets for each row.
The exact cost for this extreme convenience is a question mark. But, Texas Central has shared a useful, if vague, guideline — on the upper end, tickets prices will be competitive with airfare, and on the low end, ticket prices will be competitive with driving costs.
Overall, prices will depend on how far in advance tickets are purchased, which day, the time of day you’re traveling and possible discounts.
For what it’s worth, Bullet trains are said to be safer than both flying and driving, with an impeccable accident-free record. That’s zero recorded collisions, derailments or fatalities on Japanese bullet trains over their 54-year history.
Not to mention there’s no tedious baggage claim and no security lines winding into infinity. Consider the boarding process more like what you’d find on a subway. You will be able to buy tickets either online or at any of the train stations.
It’s looking like during peak hours, trains will run every 30 minutes, and then every hour for off-peak times. Six hours will be set aside each night for inspection.
The locations for the future stations are already set. The Dallas station will be south of Interstate 30 in Cedars neighborhood. Meanwhile, the Houston station will be located just outside 610 between Interstate 10/290 in northwest Houston. And the Brazos Valley Station will be in Grimes County, near Texas 90 and Highway 30.
For more on the bullet train, check out WFAA’s exclusive video report from Japan.