Learn The Facts
Texas Central is the company developing the Texas high-speed train project – a state-of-the-art passenger train system that will connect North Texas and Houston (two of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing economies) in less than 90 minutes and at speeds up to 200 mph, with one stop in the Brazos Valley. The Texas Central team has announced partnerships with its preferred design build companies, civil construction consortium and operators. These technical experts are doing work on the project every day as we gear up from a project employing hundreds of people to the expected 10,000 direct jobs each year during construction it will create.
Yes. Texas Central is incorporated as a railroad with the Texas Secretary of State, and the Federal Railroad Administration has been working through the regulatory approvals and permitting process for the project since 2014. Furthermore, on May 7, 2020, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas ruled in favor of Texas Central, holding that it was both a railroad company and interurban electric railway.
ABOUT THE TEXAS HIGH-SPEED TRAIN
The Texas High-Speed Train system will utilize the safest and most reliable technology in the world today, the Shinkansen N700 system. This project will deploy the international version of the Tokaido Shinkansen total system currently in operation between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. In more than 55+ years, Shinkansen trains have had ZERO fatalities during operations. This international version will feature the core system – passenger train, overhead catenary, tracks, signaling – along with all of its corresponding maintenance and operations procedures to ensure that the system in the United States maintains its stellar safety record.
The N700 system is the safest and most reliable mass transportation system in the world today. It has operated for more than 55 years in Japan with a perfect record of zero passenger fatalities during train operations and an impeccable on-time performance record. In addition to its stellar safety profile, the Series N700 rolling stock operating between Tokyo and Osaka consumes 1/8th the amount of energy per seat and expends 1/12th of the carbon dioxide as a Boeing 777-200*. These passenger trainsets are also among the lightest of their class in production, making them especially well-suited for the soils of Texas. Finally, riders will appreciate the comfortable experience as a result of the space within the trainsets, which are the widest of any passenger trains.
Thanks to this amazing technology, Texans will soon be getting a safe, comfortable and reliable transportation alternative.
*Data from JRC, based on Tokyo-Osaka line.
Shinkansen trains can travel smoothly and comfortably at speeds up to 205 mph. Train service in Texas will likely begin at 186 mph, which will allow for a total trip time of less than 90 minutes between Houston and Dallas. Subject to regulatory approval and market demands, maximum train speeds could be increased up to 205 mph.
Stations will feature ample parking for personal vehicles and will fully integrate with local transportation options, including rental car services, ride share, taxis, etc., similar to an airport. While it’s too early to say exactly how that integration will work and what technologies will enable the seamless experience for our passengers, the Texas high-speed train is committed to providing riders with an easy-to-use, technology-based, booking system that will allow travelers to arrange their trip from door step to door step.
Ticket prices will be based on a variable pricing model, with consumer demand driving price fluctuations. Factors like how far in advance you purchase, what day, what time of day, which discounts you are eligible for, etc., will all influence the price. Furthermore, there may be different classes of service (think first class, business class, etc.) to offer price points for all travelers – regardless of budget. World class ridership studies have been done and continue to inform what travelers want to create a best-in-class experience.
More concisely: on the high end, tickets will be competitive with the cost of flying, and on the low end, they will be competitive with the cost of driving.
Once in operation, you will be able to purchase a ticket online or at any of the train stations, similar to the way you purchase an airline ticket.
Current plans call for trains to run every 30 minutes during peak hours and every hour during off-peak times, with 6 hours reserved each night for maintenance and inspection of the system.
This is the right train, being developed the right way and finally at the right time. Unlike other high-speed train projects in the US, this project is backed by entrepreneurial investors employing a market-led approach to infrastructure construction where every decision is driven by data. No state or federal grants will be used. Specifically, to contrast, the project in California is a public-owned project, while the Texas high-speed train is being developed as an investor-owned system. This investor-led approach to financing the project changes everything. It is the first project to put commercial success at the heart of the project focusing on ridership and the customer experience. It requires fiscal discipline and accountability for every decision made during the development of the project.
THE NORTH TEXAS TO HOUSTON ROUTE
The high-speed train is in Texas on purpose – based on millions of dollars of research to determine the most commercially-successful route in the country. North Texas-to-Houston was identified following an evaluation of more than 90 city pair markets. Several more years of analysis and development have since been invested in the line.
The Federal Railroad Administration(FRA) spent years leading a multi-agency assessment of the numerous potential alternative routes between these regions. In its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), the FRA narrowed the alternatives based on technical data from engineers, scientists and communities to the final route, which was selected as the least impactful on the environment and communities.
To see the full alignment maps, please visit the Alignment Maps page.
Texas Central does not have plans to extend its line to cities beyond its proposed North Texas-to-Houston corridor. However, this project does create a backbone for possible future expansion into other cities.
The passenger stations for the Texas high-speed train will be located in northwest Houston, just south of Downtown Dallas and in the Roans Prairie area of Grimes County in the Brazos Valley – about equidistant between Bryan/College Station and Huntsville.
The passenger station in Dallas will be located in the Cedars Neighborhood, an area south of Interstate 30 from Downtown Dallas. This space is undergoing a remarkable transition from predominately light industrial and manufacturing facilities to a walkable neighborhood featuring repurposed and new-build mixed-use developments. This transition has been fueled in part by the neighborhood’s access to rail transit and the excitement of a future high-speed train station.
The introduction of the high-speed train station to the Cedars will accelerate and enhance the growth of this previously underserved area of Dallas, creating additional opportunities for new residential, office and retail developments. As Dallas’ population continues to soar, this project will attract new residents to the area, encouraging the densification of the Cedars neighborhood and aiding the region’s highway congestion relief efforts.
The station serving downtown Dallas will provide easy interconnection with the North Texas multimodal transportation network including DART light rail.
BRAZOS VALLEY STATION
The Brazos Valley Station in Grimes County will be near Texas 90 and State Highway 30 about equidistant between Bryan/College Station and Huntsville. It would include direct shuttle service to Texas A&M University.
Houston’s passenger station will be located in northwest Houston just outside 610 between Interstate 10/290. This area was recognized by the FRA as the location with the right combination of minimal environmental and community impact. This route allows the train to follow existing rights of way, while providing high-speed train passengers with easy, efficient roadway access and connectivity with planned transit improvements.
To serve the entire Houston market, the station will be located in the area which is surrounded by the Central Business District, the Medical Center, the Galleria, and the Energy Corridor. Studies show the center of the population base in Houston is north and west of the Central Business District.
High-speed train passengers will be able to connect seamlessly with other forms of transportation, whether that be automobile/taxis/ride share or the bus system. The project has ongoing close coordination with Metro and is in discussions with area transportation leaders to ensure the high-speed train works in concert with existing systems in Houston. For example, Metro has its Northwest Transit Center right in this same area.
Texas Central is planting the seed for a new high-tech industry in the United States right here in Texas. The project will inject an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits over its first 25 years in the form of direct spending during construction, employee payroll and spending related to the maintenance and operation of the system.
By creating new jobs and stimulating commerce in and between North Texas, the Brazos Valley and Houston, this project helps to ensure that Texas will continue to be an economic model for the country. This state-of-the-art transportation option has been recognized in economic development circles as a differentiator for companies and employees as they consider moving to the state.
The Texas high-speed train will create an estimated 10,000 direct jobs per year during construction and more than 1,500 direct permanent jobs when the train is fully operational. Current estimates show 25% of the permanent jobs created will be in rural counties between North Texas and Houston, and will be sourced locally. These jobs include highly-skilled labor positions such as electricians, metal workers, and other specialized professionals to maintain and operate the system.
As an investor-owned project, this Railroad will be a significant taxpayer to the state, counties and school districts in communities where tracks, stations and other infrastructure are located. It will pay an estimated $2.5 billion in taxes to the state, counties, local municipalities, school, hospital and community college districts between now and 2040 as a result of the multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investment.
High-speed trains provide Texans a safe, reliable and convenient alternative to driving or flying. Passengers will be able to travel between North Texas and Houston in about 90 minutes without fear of delay, which will help ease traffic and congestion along the I-45 corridor – the 2nd deadliest highway in the U.S. Ridership studies show the average traveler will save over 120 minutes when making this trip compared with driving or flying.
Texas Central is committed to being good neighbors and minimizing the impact to landowners and communities along the 240-mile alignment.
This Railroad recognizes any time there are discussions about purchasing land, it’s an emotional issue and one we take seriously, which is why we have taken a personalized approach and are meeting face-to-face with all landowners along the route. Team members meet with every landowner to listen and have conversations so that we understand each property and all landowner concerns.
The Texas Central team’s planning has emphasized the importance of identifying and using land adjacent to or within existing rights of way in order to minimize negative impacts to landowner property. We operate by these Guiding Principles and fully support and embrace the tenets of the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights, found here.
The Railroad is committed to working with each and every landowner in an open and personalized manner and will use the court system and eminent domain only as a last resort. However, eminent domain powers for railroads like the UP, BNSF and Texas Central are set forth in the Texas Constitution. Texas forefathers passed laws allowing private companies in certain industries that provide a public good the ability to exercise eminent domain in limited cases.
Without eminent domain for infrastructure, Texans would not have the benefit of things like: air conditioning (electric utility providers Oncor/Centerpoint); the internet and telephone services (Verizon/AT&T); gas for vehicles/home heating (pipeline companies); transportation of people and goods (highways and railroads).
Yes. Project engineers and designers have been listening to people who live and work in the counties along the proposed route. As a result, the majority of the route is being designed on an elevated viaduct. These elevated viaducts will have horizontal and vertical clearances similar to those used by TxDOT for highways. This ensures public roads will remain in service, allowing for unobstructed movement alongside and under the elevated tracks.
One of the core commitments of this project is to work in a way that minimizes environmental impact. As part of that commitment, a multi-disciplinary group within Texas Central is focused on developing the project through Low Impact Design. This includes minimizing the project’s environmental footprint, being good stewards of natural resources and working with local communities in a collaborative and respectful manner.
In fact, the high-speed train’s comparatively light environmental impact is one of the plan’s greatest benefits. In addition to providing an alternative to travel by car or airplane, the high-speed train emits 1/12th the carbon dioxide than a Boeing B777-200 per seat.* This is especially important due to the exponential growth in Texas. In fact, four of the counties served by the train are already in air quality non-attainment status: Harris, Waller, Ellis and Dallas.
The trains are also exceptionally quiet and unobtrusive to their neighbors, having been optimized over more than 50 years of service in Japan.
Furthermore, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Texas High-Speed Train project, published on May 29, 2020, is a 10,000-page study of the environment and communities along the 240-mile alignment that is produced by the FRA and informed by six years of work by hundreds of experts from more than 12 federal, state and local agencies in coordination with Texas Central.
The publication of the FEIS was a critical milestone that ensures the state-of-the-art system will be built in a way that minimizes impacts to landowners and the environment along the 240-mile alignment.
*Data from JRC, based on Tokyo-Osaka line.
Traffic and population studies indicate that automobile travel time between Dallas and Houston is expected to increase to over 6.5 hours in the next 20 years. High-speed trains will provide a faster, safer alternative to auto travel, which will help alleviate this congestion by providing an alternative transportation option for the 14 million people traveling between Houston and North Texas annually. This will have an impact on air quality which is already in non-attainment status in Harris, Waller, Ellis and Dallas counties.
High-speed trains have a comparatively light environmental impact. The trains to be deployed in Texas are based on the Tokaido Shinkansen System, which is in operation today between Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, and emits 1/12th the carbon dioxide than a Boeing B777-200 per seat.* The trains are also exceptionally quiet and unobtrusive to their neighbors, having been optimized over more than 50 years of service in Japan.
*Data based on Tokyo-Osaka line.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Travelling on the Shinkansen is the safest and most reliable way to travel in the world. The Texas train will use this technology which has operated for more than 53 years with ZERO fatalities due to operations. It uses a “dedicated system,” meaning no other trains travel on the same tracks. And, since it never crosses a road at grade, it removes any opportunity for intersecting with vehicles. It is a system to avoid crashes as opposed to previous systems designed to survive them.
The Shinkansen system does not move passengers overnight, so that regular system inspection and maintenance can be performed.
One of the key elements to the safe design of the Railroad, is that it will be “grade separated,” which means it will cross over or under all public roads and will have no at-grade intersections with people or vehicles. There will never be cars waiting on trains to pass and there will be no risk of trains interacting with cars. So, no descending arms or clanging bells. In addition, the track itself will be protected to prevent people, domestic animals or wildlife from accessing the rail tracks.
The Texas Central team includes industry experts with extensive experience in transportation security who are already working on security plans and procedures. Members of the project’s security team have ongoing dialogue with the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration to discuss every aspect of the project. Representatives will also work closely with officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the FBI and local law enforcement.
THE RIDER EXPERIENCE
The rider experience on the Texas high-speed train will be unique and different than anything you can experience in Texas, or the nation, today. Once constructed, it will immediately provide the most reliable, technology-enabled and comfortable transportation option in the state.
Reliable/Convenient: Trains leave and arrive on time. In fact, this technology in operation in Japan moves 400,000 people every day and has less than a one-minute annual average delay. High-speed train delays are measured in seconds instead of minutes and hours.
Productive: No other transportation option in Texas today is technology-enabled like these high-speed trains, which will allow continuous safe digital connectivity from station to station and throughout the entire journey.
Comfortable: Two-by-two seating with lots of elbow and leg room provides passengers a “first class experience in every seat.”
Smooth: At nearly 200 miles per hour, you can balance a glass of water on an arm rest.
The Texas high-speed train will meet or exceed existing federal accessibility regulations required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Team members are working closely with communities for persons with disabilities to ensure the ridership experience is the best it can be for everyone – safe, predictable and enjoyable. When you design the trains and stations with the disability community in mind, all riders benefit from the well-designed system.
With multiple doors on each train, the loading and unloading of all passengers including those in need of assistance is facilitated quickly. Those passengers in wheel chairs will be able to roll on and off the trains and up and down the aisles. There will also be wheelchair accessible bathrooms. As a result, these passengers have the freedom to decide whether they require someone to travel with them or can go independently. They also can decide whether to surrender their chair or not, greatly reducing the probability of breaking their equipment.
The Railroad will also be welcoming and accommodating to passengers with service animals.
The leg room provided by most seats will allow those with service animals to select a variety of seating, not just in a bulkhead row. Texas Central recognizes the importance of having service animals accompany persons with disabilities, and we will work hard to develop policies that are as accommodating as possible.
Investors and entrepreneurs. Texas Central is an investor-funded company utilizing a market-led approach to financing, led by a group of primarily Texan investors. The Railroad will not seek grants from the US Government or the State of Texas, nor any operational subsidy once operation begins. The project will be financed with a blend of debt and equity.
The civil infrastructure costs (or hard costs) for the project will be around $20 billion, which includes the construction of the lines, tracks, viaducts, berms, maintenance facilities, power sub stations and three passenger stations.
Following the release of the FEIS on May 29, 2020, Texas Central’s next step is to continue working with our partner organizations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration, to finalize our permits.
Texas Central Railroad has achieved several critical regulatory approvals in 2020, bringing the project closer to fruition – and closer to bringing thousands of new jobs to Texas. Texas Central 2020 milestones include:
May 21: US Army Corps of Engineers issued its preliminary designation affirming the FRA
selected route as the Least Environmentally Damaging Proposed Alternative (LEDPA), agreeing with FRA on the chosen alignment
May 29: FRA released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)
July 17 Surface Transportation Board (STB) confirmed jurisdiction over the Texas Central project
Sep. 10 FRA issued the Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) establishing Federal safety standards under which Texas Central Railroad will operate the high-speed train and giving environmental clearance for the selected alignment from Dallas to Houston
The next step for the project is to continue working toward the finalization of the permit process, financial close and the beginning of physical construction.
ABOUT THE CENTRAL JAPAN RAIL COMPANY
Central Japan Railway Company (JRC) is a publicly traded, private company that operates 323 high-speed passenger trains each day on the line between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. JRC’s Tokaido Shinkansen total system is the world’s premier high-speed train technology that uses leading-edge technologies to ensure system safety, an exceptional passenger experience, efficiency and reliability that is second to none. To read more about JRC, please see their website.
Texas Central, with its preferred design build partners, are collaborating with JRC to do the knowledge transfer to deploy the world’s safest technology in the United States. By introducing the N700-S technology as a “total system solution”, JRC provides long-term and continuous technical support and process improvement for the system, which means they will apply their years of experience to act in an advisory capacity to ensure the success of the project.