Posts Tagged ‘Texas Central Partners’

Texas Central Signs Contract with Redfre

July 21, 2021

Texas Central recently signed a contract with Renfe to be the early operator of a proposed high-speed rail route between Dallas and Houston.

Renfe will work with Texas Central on the design and development of the commercial aspects of the high-speed rail system as well as provide expertise and support, Texas Central officials said in a news release.

That will include advisory and consulting services to Texas Central on final design, execution, construction, testing and commissioning of civil, station and buildings, installation, core systems and operations and maintenance technology and plans and processes, as well as all commercial aspects of the high-speed rail system.

Based in Spain, Renfe manages 5,000 trains daily on 7,500 miles of track.

The news release did not disclose the financial terms of the contract.

The announces comes a couple of weeks after Texas Central announced it has named the multinational firm Webuild to lead the civil construction consortium that will build the passenger line.

Webuild will be responsible for all work up to the top of the rail, including viaducts, embankments and drainage.

Texas Central Opponents Try New Argument

June 20, 2020

A group seeking to thwart development of the Texas Central line high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas is trying to take advantage of planned Amtrak service reductions as a new way to attack the project.

The opponents of the Texas Central project are citing Amtrak plans to reduce the frequency of operation of long-distance trains as a rational to hinder if not kill the project.

They are calling for Texas Central to submit new ridership projections to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board because connecting service by Amtrak may be sharply reduced if not eliminated.

They cited the letter sent May 25 from Amtrak CEO William Flynn to Congress saying that long-distance routes are at risk unless Congress approves a $1.4 billion supplemental appropriation for fiscal year 2021 on top of the carrier’s funding request.

The foes say connections with Amtrak were part of the rational for Texas Central to receive federal funding because that would make it part of the U.S. interstate passenger rail network.

In response, Texas Central said that whatever actions that Amtrak might take in regards to its long-distance service to Texas is irrelevant.

It noted that it plans to begin service in 2026, six years after the COVID-19 crisis.

Texas Central also said that it will need a three-year period to reach the long term through-passenger volumes projected by Amtrak’s proprietary ridership model.

It also said that Amtrak has said it hopes to restore service quickly, possibly as soon as the summer and has not said coronavirus-driven declines would last five years beyond Fiscal 2021.

FRA Releases Final EIS of Texas High-Speed Route

May 30, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration has released the final environmental impact statement for the proposed Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line.

The review concludes with a draft plan issued in 2017 that building alternative A is preferred and there are no red flags that could stop the project.

However, the review said Texas Central, the company that plans to build and operate the service, will have to pay to relocate 12 businesses and 49 homes on the 240-mile route.

The review said the service is expected to shift 26 percent of travelers in the Dallas-Houston corridor off the highways and divert 2 percent from air travel while generating $14 billion of dollars in economic benefits between the time construction begins and 2040.

Other expected benefits of the project include an increase in property values, a $7.8 million annual increase in property tax revenue and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The FRA is accepting public comment on the study.

Texas Landowner May Appeal Case State High Court in Bid to Thwart Texas Central Plan

May 23, 2020

A Texas landowner seeking to block Texas Central from surveying his land for a planned high-speed rail service has vowed to take his fight to the Texas Surpeme Court.

James Miles contends that Texas Central is not an actual railroad, a claim that was rejected earlier this month by a state appeals court.

The appeals court ruled that not only is Texas Central a railroad but it also an interurban electric railway.

Miles has until July 22 to appeal the ruling against him and there is no guarantee the Texas high court will agree to accept his appeal.

At the center of Miles’ argument is his contention of the meaning of the word “operating” in Texas law.

He has argued that because Texas Central is not yet operating that it is not a railroad under Texas law because it does not have track and stations that would give the outward appearance of a functioning railroad.

The appeals court rejected that argument, citing another law approved by the Texas legislature saying that for purposes of interpreting states statues that court are to read “words in the present tense [to] include the future tense.”

An appellate judge in rejecting Miles appeal said that to accept his argument would mean the courts were ignoring a stated legislative intent.

The judge acknowledged that Texas Central does not yet have railroad infrastructure in place but it has taken steps to create and operate a railroad in the future.

Court Rules Texas Central is a Railroad

May 10, 2020

A Texas appeals court has ruled that Texas Central Railway is for legal purposes a railroad and an interurban electric railway.

The decision, written by Justice Nora Longoria of the Thirteen District Court of Appeals, overturned a lower court ruling and sent that case back to that court for further review.

Justice Logoria said the lower court erred when it concluded Texas Central was not a railroad because it is not yet operating trains or acting like a railroad in doing such things as land surveys or claiming the potential to exercise eminent domain.

“Considering the legislature’s instruction to view present tense as including future tense in the statute and the actions taken by appellants to begin to operate a railroad, we conclude that TCRI [Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc.] and ITL [Integrated Texas Logistics, Inc.] are railroad companies,” Justice Longoria wrote in a 20-page opinion filed on May 7.

The case began when a land owner, James Miles, objected to a request by Texas Central to survey his land as a potential route for its proposed Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line.

Miles and other land owners in Leon County took Texas Central to court and raised the question of whether it was an actual railroad that would have the power of eminent domain.

“To the extent that Miles contends that this statute does not extend to high-speed rails, but rather was intended for ‘localized, electronic trolley-car companies of a century ago,’ we find nothing in the statute to confirm this assertion,” Justice Longoria wrote about the assertion that Texas Central was not a interurban railway.

The Federal Railroad Administration is expected to release a final environmental impact statement on the project later this month.

Texas Lawmakers Seek to Kill High-Speed Rail

April 13, 2020

Opponents of a high-speed rail line in Texas are trying a different tactic to thwart the project.

Some two dozen state lawmakers have written to the U.S. Department of Transportation to ask it to kill the project.

Their letter contends that Texas Central Partners lacks the financial resources and expertise needed to continue with the project.

“To proceed otherwise would be an inexcusable waste of taxpayer dollars and jeopardizes the integrity of the rule-making process at the Federal Railroad Administration,” the letter said.

The FRA is currently reviewing the project and Texas Central expects to receive approval this year for a rule of particular applicability that would allow it to operate on shared right of way with freight railroads.

Some Texas lawmakers have opposed the project from the start but have failed in their efforts to ban it in the state legislature.

Texas Central has proposed building a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

In an unrelated development, construction work continues in California on building a high-speed rail line in the central region of the state.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some work methods have changed.

Workers have engaged in social distancing by holding smaller safety meetings each day and where possible increasing the physical distance between workers.

Workers also have been allowed to take voluntary furloughs, or leave on a given day if they feel unsafe about possible exposure from a co-worker.

California, Texas Rail Development

April 2, 2020

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission is soliciting public comment on its proposed Valley Rail Sacramento Extension project.

Plans are to expand Amtrak’s San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor

Express services to the greater Sacramento area through the construction of six rail stations and track improvements along the Union Pacific Railroad’s Sacramento Subdivision.

The expansion would two new San Joaquin roundtrips operating on the Sacramento, Fresno and BNSF Railway Stockton subdivisions, as well as an extension of existing ACE service to the proposed Natomas-Sacramento Airport Station.

Work on the UP would involve construction of new stations in Lodi, south Sacramento, Sacramento City College, Midtown Sacramento, Old North Sacramento, and Natomas/Sacramento Airport.

Three public meetings are tentatively set for April and May while written comments are being accepted via email and mail until May 15.

In other developments, XpressWest said it has taken steps to secure private debt funding for its $4.8 billion plan to build a 170-mile high-speed, electric rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas.

The service would be operated by Virgin Trains USA, which operates the Florida intercity rail service Brightline.

XpressWest officials said if the funding is secured, rail line construction could begin later this year with service launching in 2023.

Texas Central said this week its $20 billion high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston  is now “shovel ready.”

Officials said construction will begin once global financial markets have stabilized and the federal approvals process is complete.

“Our immediate 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,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. “The current schedule we have from the federal government anticipates that will happen by July 31.”

Aguilar acknowledged there is a chance the project will not proceed on schedule.

“This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is,” Aguilar said.

“Our engineering partner is in Italy; our operation partner is in Spain; and our technology provider is in Japan. Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States.”

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things in those countries.

Texas Central said it anticipates its project will create more than 17,000 jobs during construction and have a multi-billion-dollar economic impact across the United States.

In the short term, though, it has laid off nearly 30 employees.

Texas Central Chooses Equipment Design Contractor

November 23, 2019

Texas Central has chosen Mass. Electric Company to design a construction contract to build the equipment that will be used in its high-speed train between Houston and Dallas.

In a news release, Texas Central said ECI will define the scope, execution plan, schedule and price for the future construction contract, which is expected to be signed later this year.

TC said construction of the high-speed line is expected to begin in 2020.

The news release said that Kiewit Corporation, a subsidiary of ECI will focus on installing the core system and critical safety elements including necessary power, signaling and communications equipment.

The core system that will be installed by Mass. Electric is a key component of the Central Japan Railway’s N700S Shinkansen technology that will be used by Texas Central.

Under a core systems installation agreement, ECI would install the systems that supply and distribute electrical power for running the train and related equipment, signaling and control of the trains, and communications, to ensure the trains, the track and operators all communicate with one another and with network operations.

Bills Seeking to Hinder Texas Rail Project Fail to Pass

June 3, 2019

The Texas legislature adjourned last week without approving any of the 15 bills that had been introduced in an effort to stymie develop of a high-speed rail project in the state.

The legislature will next meet in 2021 so Texas Central Railway will be able to continue development of the network between Dallas and Houston.

“I want to thank all of the concerned citizens that voiced their opinions through e-mail, phone calls and even by making trips to Austin,” said Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. “By keeping government bureaucrats out of this fight, we are preserving a level playing field for all forms of transportation in Texas. High-speed rail will now be able to succeed on its own merits, without anyone placing their finger on the scales to protect their own special interests.”

Texas Central Beats Back Adversaries in Legislature

May 18, 2019

Texas Central has managed to turn back 11 bills that were introduced into the Texas legislature during the current session that had been designed to delay or thwart its plans to develop a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

Most of the bills had been introduced on behalf of landowners located next to the proposed right of way.

However, Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody told Trains magazine that there was still a chance that an amendment or rider detrimental to the interests of Texas Central could be attached to a bill before the legislature ends its session on May 27.

One such rider has already been struck from a budget bill that would have banned the Texas Department of Transportation from coordinating with Texas Central.

Some land owners have expressed fear that Texas Central might use eminent domain laws to condemn property, an authority granted by Texas law for purposes of developing highways, railroads, and such public utilities as power lines and pipelines.

Some Texas Central opponents have argued that TC is not yet a railroad because it doesn’t yet operate any trains.

A draft environmental impact statement has noted that 52 percent of the Texas Central right of way will be adjacent to power line corridors.

The proposed high-speed rail operator continues to determine the route it will take, including the process of negotiating and signing deals with property owners.

The company has said it has more than 30 percent of its needed parcels of land under an option contract.

Much of the Texas Central right of way will be elevated and built on earthen berms or viaducts.

In an unrelated matter, Texas Central recently released an updated ridership study that found more more than 6 million passengers are expected to rider TC trains by 2029.

Ridership is expected to reach 13 million by 2050. The latest study was conducted by L.E.K. Consulting and updated a study it conducted in 2016.

The study also found that TC trains will save 60 to 90 minutes per trip between Houston and Dallas and that 72 percent of frequent travelers between the two metropolitan areas who responded said they “probably” or “definitely” would take the train.

Of those surveyed, 85 percent said they had traveled between Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in the past year.

The Houston-North Texas “super economy” is expected to grow by 1.5 percent per year to 2050, nearly twice the U.S. national average.