2019 will go down in history as a monumental year for the Texas high-speed train – a year marked by many significant milestones. When you reflect on the addition of the world-class partners to the team this year, you can see the strategic, integrated approach we are taking to ensure your train is safe, efficient and affordable.
Texas Central announced that it had signed a design-build contract with the joint venture of Salini Impregilo, one of the largest civil engineering contractors in the world, and its U.S. subsidiary, Lane Construction Company. This is the largest of the project’s design-build contracts and covers the civil infrastructure from the ground up to the rails. Also joining the team in 2019 was Kiewit, Mass. Electric Construction, which will help prepare for the installation of the high-speed train, focusing on the core system and critical safety elements of the train, and our environmental partner, Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), which will be the provider of ecological mitigation services to help protect and enhance natural ecosystems and the environment throughout construction and operations. All of this while Citi and MUFG work to help our financial team. Of course, this is in addition to our existing principal partners: Program Manager, Bechtel Infrastructure and Power, Operating Partner, Renfe, and many other important contributors to the development of your high-speed train.
Also, we had a very successful presence at the Texas Legislature where we were able to strengthen relationships and provide information about the benefits the train brings to Texas and the nation. Thanks to the tremendous support from YOU, and other Texans, who sent letters and emails, posted to social media and called your legislators – or traveled to Austin – to voice your support during the 86th Legislative Session, the Texas High-Speed Train has more momentum than ever. This was evident as legislators once again ensured the project will continue to move forward with no onerous or ambiguous regulation or legislation impacting the project.
Another successful legislative session for the high-speed train!
Read the full legislative wrap-up, here.
This year, Texas Central’s petition for rulemaking to issue a Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) was granted by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The RPA is a set of custom, comprehensive rules governing the safety and operations of the high-speed train system we are bringing to Texas. The FRA moving forward with rulemaking means that we continue to focus on getting federal approvals next year, with construction quickly following.
On the cultural front, Texas Central was proud to unveil this incredible piece by Houston graffiti artist Gozno247. He captured the essence of connecting Texans in this giant, wall-sized mural of the high-speed train in our Downtown Houston office. A native Houstonian and wildly popular urban graffiti artist, Gonzo247 paints areas of the city with his hometown style, including the famous “Houston is Inspired” mural near Market Square Park in downtown Houston.
Watch Gonzo talk about how this project inspired his mural, here.
Thank you to all of the Texas university students who worked so hard to produce some amazing short films for the film contest! We were overwhelmed by the quality of the work on display. From inspirational and heartwarming to funny and quirky, these films truly captured the excitement and enthusiasm that continues to build for the Texas High-Speed Train! Here are three videos selected by a panel of industry professional judges in conjunction with an online voting campaign.
If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed some fun (and poignant!) elements from our new RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN campaign recently. This aims to show how high-speed trains are light-years beyond car and air travel in customer experience, safety, comfort, reliability and SPEED. As you will see, pain points disappear when you remove the roadblocks and hassles of travel and replace them with big, cozy chairs, high-speed connectivity, and then you max out the legroom, ditch the middle seats and leave uncertainty and delays to highways and airports.
Please send us your fun images, videos and examples so we can use them to help others RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN.
We had a lot of fun introducing you to some of our more technical subject matter experts through the magic of video this year! Thousands of you enjoyed the Train Talk Podcast.
Check out one of our favorite episodes with Texas Central’s Civil Infrastructure Director Linda Miller here.
We are so thankful for your enthusiasm shown in all aspects of the project including social media. Thank you to those of you who have commented, joined and reposted content. You are in good company! This year, our Facebook page surpassed 145,000 followers and more than 7,000 of you have now followed the project on Twitter and 6,500 on Instagram. You have viewed nearly 100,000 minutes of Texas Central videos and our posts reached over 7 million sets of eyes.
In 2020, we look forward to reaching even more milestones, and with your help, they will happen!
IT IS AN HONOR TO BE BUILDING YOUR TRAIN!