Since 2016, Texas landowner James Frederick Miles and the companies that are planning the Texas Central high-speed-rail line between Dallas and the edge of Houston have been engaged in a battle that has worked its way to the top of the court system in the Lone Star State: the Texas Supreme Court. The briefs have been submitted and oral argument was held on Jan. 11. Now it’s time to wait for the Court’s opinion, which will essentially determine whether or not the proposed line will actually be built. Beyond that, the case could create an atmosphere that will be either friendly or hostile to new railroad starts within and beyond Texas, whether those starts are high-speed or conventional rail lines.
Texas Central Railroad LLC
A landowner in rural Texas is locked in a legal battle with the companies that are planning to build the Texas Central high-speed rail (HSR) project, which would establish a line between downtown Dallas and the intersection of two highways northwest of Houston. Texas Central plans to offer a 90-minute trip time point-to-point, using Japanese Shikansen equipment.
When is a railroad not a railroad? Maybe “when it’s getting started in Texas.” The official answer to that question will come from the state’s Supreme Court within a few months. In a case with more twists and turns than a mountain railroad, the Court will decide whether Texas Central is a genuine railroad that can use a landowner’s private property by exercising eminent domain to build its right-of-way.
Private high-speed rail developer Texas Central is another step closer to starting construction of a $20 billion, 240-mile line connecting Dallas and Houston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) that establish federal safety standards for operation and give environmental clearance for the selected alignment, respectively.
Private high-speed rail developer Texas Central has contracted with Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) for ecological mitigation services “to help protect and enhance natural ecosystems and the environment throughout construction and operations.” RES will oversee plans to comply with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) requirements that the project “restore, enhance and preserve wetlands, streams and environmentally sensitive habitats along the train’s route between Houston and North Texas.”
Texas Central and Renfe on Oct. 30 signed an agreement that formalizes the relationship of the Spanish railway operator as the Texas high-speed train project’s operator.
I wish I may, I wish I might, I wish to be an interstate passenger railroad tonight.