Texas High-Speed Rail Project Gets Approval to Leave the Station

Train Railway

The Texas Central Railroad has received federal approval to move forward with its Houston-to-Dallas high-speed rail line. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has completed its environmental review of the project and issued the safety requirements that will govern the rail system. 

“This is the moment we have been working towards,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central Railroad. 

The Rule of Particular Applicability provides the regulatory framework for Texas Central Railroad, establishing a comprehensive set of safety requirements that will govern the high-speed rail system’s signal and train set control, track, rolling stock, operating rules and practices, system qualifications and maintenance. This RPA is based on a systems approach to safety that incorporates accident avoidance measures that are significantly more stringent than those required for conventional U.S. rail operations. 

The system Texas Central Railroad proposes to build in Texas will replicate Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed rail system. That has had zero accidents and zero passenger fatalities in its 55 years of operation. 

The federal approvals have not quieted opposition. 

“This project has been flawed from the beginning, and the FRA has ignored calls from concerned property owners, safety professionals, and even other rail companies,” ReRoute the Route spokesperson Taylor Ward told the Houston Chronicle.

Construction could begin as soon as 2021, but that date could be delayed by further legal challenges from opponents. 

The project, which will cut travel time between Dallas and Houston to 90 minutes, is privately funded by Japanese investors. The price is $20 billion. 

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