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Most federal rail grants probably will bypass Texas


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#41 DET63

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:29 PM

Texas is torn right now between wanting HSR and being opposed to "pork"


I think of Texas as being more partial to beef than to pork. :D

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No pork here!

#42 saxman

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:27 PM

Southwest Airlines has a lot of political clout in Texas and the last thing they want is competition from HSR. I think Southwest is the only profitable airline at the present time.


Just so you all know, Southwest hasn't publicly stated they are against high speed rail in the state this time around. Back in the early 90's they were, but now times are different. Plus I think Texas is more likely to have higher speed rail in existing corridors sooner than any bullet trains. We must remind ourselves and others that higher speed competing with air travel is no comparison. But competing with the single occupant automobile is what we should be concentrating on right now. These days, the public aren't exactly happy with airlines. If Southwest were to oppose HSR, they would have to be very careful about it. I'm sure many HSR supporters are also their passengers.


Yep. I think SWA has decided the ability to code through passengers from say, Temple to L.A. which is what will happen if the trains stop at the airports, outweighs the disadvantages.

Texas is torn right now between wanting HSR and being opposed to "pork" The good thing though is that being Texans I doubt they will settle for "semi-high speed rail" The Floridians....not so much.


Part of the problem is that Texas has no unified plan. We have the Texas T-bone. It will run down I-35 and only stop at airports and take up right of way. Lots of people support it though and refuse anything "cheap," ie 110 mph service. In other words if they can't get to Austin from Dallas in two hours, they'll fly or drive. I don't like it either. Texas doesn't even have corridor service to feed into the system, and I keep getting in debates in other transportation forums about this issue. TxARP/NARP and a few other groups support the incremental/emerging high speed rail. It will use existing ROW up to 110 mph, and IMO, will get from DAL/FTW to AUS and SAS in the same amount of time the T-bone would. Mainly because it would actually serve downtown areas.

So fellow Texans, which would you rather have?:

200+ mph service on totally new right-of-way
$20 to 40 million a mile up front costs, plus new equipment
Stops only at the airports in DFW, Waco, Temple/Killeen, Austin, San Antonio, College Station, Houston- Thats only 7 or 8 stops
Getting to downtown requires another transfer
Implementation could be as soon as 2020 but probably more like 2030.

OR:

90-110 mph service on existing tracks
$2 to 5 million per mile of track upgrades
Serves downtown areas at existing stations
Has many stops such as Cleburne, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Round Rock, Hempstead etc.
Maybe a little bit slower than the T-bone but still faster than driving
Implementation in as soon as 2015.

Obviously these are things we to need to work out before Texas will see any actual Fed dollars. And if the Fed doesn't go on a spending freeze starting next year.
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#43 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:17 PM

Part of the problem is that Texas has no unified plan. We have the Texas T-bone. It will run down I-35 and only stop at airports and take up right of way. Lots of people support it though and refuse anything "cheap," ie 110 mph service. In other words if they can't get to Austin from Dallas in two hours, they'll fly or drive. I don't like it either. Texas doesn't even have corridor service to feed into the system, and I keep getting in debates in other transportation forums about this issue. TxARP/NARP and a few other groups support the incremental/emerging high speed rail. It will use existing ROW up to 110 mph, and IMO, will get from DAL/FTW to AUS and SAS in the same amount of time the T-bone would. Mainly because it would actually serve downtown areas.

So fellow Texans, which would you rather have?:

200+ mph service on totally new right-of-way
$20 to 40 million a mile up front costs, plus new equipment
Stops only at the airports in DFW, Waco, Temple/Killeen, Austin, San Antonio, College Station, Houston- Thats only 7 or 8 stops
Getting to downtown requires another transfer
Implementation could be as soon as 2020 but probably more like 2030.

OR:

90-110 mph service on existing tracks
$2 to 5 million per mile of track upgrades
Serves downtown areas at existing stations
Has many stops such as Cleburne, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Round Rock, Hempstead etc.
Maybe a little bit slower than the T-bone but still faster than driving
Implementation in as soon as 2015.

Obviously these are things we to need to work out before Texas will see any actual Fed dollars. And if the Fed doesn't go on a spending freeze starting next year.


The Northeast Regional is not really any faster than driving, and it reaches 125 MPH at times. What makes you so sure that a 110 MPH train in Texas would be faster than driving?

Are the T-bone folks proposing to run subway like 3 minute headways on the airport connector, or would that leave slots available to run trains into downtowns?

If you look at the trains crossing the Hudson River into NYP, I believe there aren't really more than three Amtrak trains an hour in each direction (one Acela, one Northeast Regional, and then the Keystone / long distance trains), while NJT is probably running more than 20 trains an hour in the peak direction, and those NJT trains probably carry double the passengers the average Amtrak train carries. This makes me think focusing on hour long commuter trips produces a project that's easier to justify than focusing on airplane replacement.

Austin to San Antonio is about 80 miles. What if you start with that part of the T-bone, and run a train from downtown Austin to downtown San Antonio? At 220 MPH, it would be a little over 20 minutes, but in practice it will probably take longer if it's running on conventional rights of way into each downtown. I don't know if losing 10 minutes on each end to the slower right of way is even remotely accurate, but let's assume for the moment that it turned out to actually be possible for an express train to go from downtown Austin to downtown San Antonio in 40 minutes.

Since slots on the 220 MPH track will probably be three minutes each, if a train pulls off the 220 MPH track into a station to stop for passengers to get on and off and let an express train go by and then takes the next slot after the express train, each stop should cause the local train to be 6 minutes slower than an express train.

That might mean a single local train could make 5-7 stops in between Austin and San Antonio, which would suggest stops could be spaced every 10-12 miles. (Or if there are multiple trains that each make only some of the local stops, much as the NJT NEC trains do, you could have more stops.) That ought to collect a significant number of commuters from points in between the two cities. Perhaps the airports could have stops that some trains could stop at on their way to the downtown station.

It looks like Austin has some conventional speed track heading to the east, and San Antonio has track heading to the southwest and southeast. Perhaps there could be a train that would start 20 minutes east of downtown Austin, making some local stops on its way to downtown Austin, and then run express to downtown San Antonio, and from there continue 20 minutes along the conventional speed track heading southwest or southeast.

If that's successful, then look at Austin to Dallas/Fort Worth. It's about 200 miles. If the speed of the trains can be pushed up to 300 MPH, that can probably be about an hour, too. Even if you're stuck at 220 MPH, there are still some parts of Texas that would easily be within an hour by train of both Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Once all that's up and running and has plenty of local commuter stops, figure out what to do about connecting Houston to maximize commuter possibilities.

Are all of the airports on the airport centric version of the T-bone ones that would continue to have scheduled passenger planes once the T-bone is functional, or would some see all of their passengers migrated to HSR?




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