In the previous article in this series, I looked at the surprising decision by the Supreme Court of Texas in the case of Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. and Integrated
I thought it was all over but the waiting: The beleaguered Texas Central high-speed rail (HSR) project, which would have sent fast trains between Dallas and the outskirts of Houston, was dead.
Texas Central, the embattled high-speed rail project in the Lone Star State, appears to have taken a major step toward its own demise, as CEO and President of Texas Central Partners Carlos F. Aguilar stepped down on Sunday, June 12. From a non-legal standpoint, this appears to leave the project adrift after Aguilar had led it through a period of hope and through a sudden downturn in its legal fortunes. Legally, it is unclear that Aguilar’s departure will mean much, in light of an impending ruling by the Texas Supreme Court that would stop the project in its tracks, none of which have yet been built.
For the past few weeks, Railway Age has conducted an in-depth examination of the case of Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. (TCRI) and Integrated Texas Logistics, Inc. (ITL), now before the Texas Supreme Court. TCRI and ITL are collectively known as “Texas Central” and they want to build a high-speed rail (HSR) line between Dallas and a location northwest of Houston where two major highways intersect. Congressman (R-Tex.) Jake Ellzey filed his own objections to the project. So did a number of others, including several local elected officials, all of whom happen to be Republicans. The day before oral argument was scheduled before the Court, Ellzey opened a second front by introducing a bill in the House that would stop the Texas Central project and others like it dead in their tracks, even in the apparently unlikely event that the Court should side with Texas Central.
Brightline, Florida’s private-sector passenger railroad, is progressing in its effort to extend service north to Orlando International Airport (OIA) and beyond. There is also an opportunity for Brightline to capture an entirely new ridership base, if the railroad is willing to add a specific new line of service.
For a short time, it looked like the end of the line for James Frederick Miles and his supporters. Miles is the landowner from a rural county between Dallas and Houston who had fought fiercely against the proposed Texas Central high-speed rail (HSR) line between Dallas and a point near Houston. He had defeated the Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. (TCRI) and Integrated Texas Logistics, Inc. (ITL, known collectively as “Texas Central”) in a local court. When Texas Central appealed, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s verdict and ruled in favor of Texas Central. Then Miles petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for review, and the Court denied his petition on June 18, 2021.
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.
Now that approvals and permitting have been secured from the Federal Railroad Administration and State of Texas, “terminal development is the next step,” high-speed rail hopeful Texas Central said on Oct. 13, when its announced formation of the Texas High-Speed Rail Station Development Corporation (SDC). Meanwhile, two Texas Republican congressmen have sent a letter to the USDOT accusing Texas Central of attempting to engage in questionable business practices.
During a recent interview, the CEO of the Texas Central high speed rail project did not shed much light on progress. Instead, there appears to be more fog developing.
Privately funded high-speed rail developer Texas Central has signed on Spain’s Renfe as “early operator” of its proposed 236-mile line linking Dallas and Houston. Securing funding is next, the company reported July 14.