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TXDOT Study: 110 MPH Passenger Train to Austin

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TXDoT completed its first study regarding a proposed passenger train that will run from Houston to Austin. The 110 mph train would have 4 or 5 proposed stops including Elgin, Giddings, Brenham and Hempstead.

The rail line would make two to four round trips daily, connecting in Austin from the MetroRail Red Line and potentially meeting up with commuter rails in Hempstead and Bryan, located near College Station. Trains would be composed of one locomotive, three passenger cars that can seat 70-80 people and a dining and lounge car.

Austin-Houston_Alts.jpg

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65 minutes @ 50 mph from Hempstead to Houston, really? Add 5-15 minutes to drive from your home to the station in Hempstead. Add 5-15 minutes to somehow get to work from station in Houston. How is 75-95 minutes helping anyone...and then do it twice per day?

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65 minutes @ 50 mph from Hempstead to Houston, really? Add 5-15 minutes to drive from your home to the station in Hempstead. Add 5-15 minutes to somehow get to work from station in Houston. How is 75-95 minutes helping anyone...and then do it twice per day?

Huh?

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Huh?

I'm guessing you weren't very good at word problems in school. Or I was poor in communication. :)

If you read the information on TxDot, they state the time/speed from Hempstead Station to Houston Station is 65 minutes at 50 mph. And I'm asking, who is this helping? If a person lives around Hempstead and we assume, just because we can assume things in life for fun, a 5 to 15 minute drive from this persons house to the Hempstead Station. Then we assume, once this person arrives at the Houston Station, he/she travels 5 to 15 minutes to their place of work. The result is a 75 to 95 minute commute from home to work (twice per day because they have to then travel back home).

I guess I'm missing the point of this rail system as far as helping people and eliminating traffic, when this doesn't seem like a benefit to me. Not saying I'm right, just wondering out loud.

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Gotcha. I thought you were referencing the prior post, which had nothing in it about

I'm guessing you weren't very good at word problems in school. Or I was poor in communication. :)

If you read the information on TxDot, they state the time/speed from Hempstead Station to Houston Station is 65 minutes at 50 mph. And I'm asking, who is this helping? If a person lives around Hempstead and we assume, just because we can assume things in life for fun, a 5 to 15 minute drive from this persons house to the Hempstead Station. Then we assume, once this person arrives at the Houston Station, he/she travels 5 to 15 minutes to their place of work. The result is a 75 to 95 minute commute from home to work (twice per day because they have to then travel back home).

I guess I'm missing the point of this rail system as far as helping people and eliminating traffic, when this doesn't seem like a benefit to me. Not saying I'm right, just wondering out loud.

Gotcha. I presumed you were referencing the prior post, which had nothing in it about the speed from Hempstead to Houston...

That does seem like a bit of a problem, to say the least. I can't make sense of spending millions upon millions of dollars for transportation that is worse than we already have...

To be fair, the TXDOT study did not actually even study the Hempstead-Houston portion of the route and said that the 50 MPH was preliminary based on information from someone else.

Edited by Houston19514

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I hope that someone at TXDoT is reading this, because here's what Texas needs:

De-pressurized tubes with maglev tracks running between the downtown areas of our four major cities. This technology tops out at 600mph, so trips between Houston and Dallas would only take about 30 minutes. That's certainly superior to driving, and even to flight. The cost would be fairly extreme, but so is the cost to society of flights between these four cities on air carriers...both in private costs and in terms of the cost of airport infrastructure, capacity and expansion constraints, delays from congestion in the skies or on the tarmac, and even pollution. Similar gains and offsets of cost would be experienced with highways. (Sorry, Buc-ee's.)

In fact, if we really wanted to take a leap forward, link up the three maglev spurs near College Station and create an additional stop there to serve a gigantic new airport that replaces most of the commercial air traffic currently flying from airports within the major cities. Since the combined population of its service region would be comparable to that of any of the world's largest cities (except Tokyo), since the combined passenger traffic would probably exceed that of any airport, and since there would undoubtedly be multiple hubs, the number of destinations and frequency of flights available to Texans would likely increase immensely, with competition keeping prices in check. Austin and San Antonio would be able to pair up their scenery and low-cost business environment with international access...making them far more attractive for corporate relocation. And with its cities tied together, Texas could market itself more effectively as a state-wide tourist destination. (Legalize gambling on Pelican Island, then link Galveston into the system; watch what happens!)

Meanwhile, commuter patterns change. A husband and wife can life in Austin to be near their elderly parents, but work in Dallas and Houston. Houston hipsters can do Sixth Street instead of Washington Ave. (It'd be so fantastic to see them GO AWAY.) Places like UH, always struggling to attract top talent to an unsexy city can tout the ability for their professors to arrange a short-week schedule and commute in from the hill country via the Austin station. Head honchos at big corporations might appreciate that ability, too, as well as for their staff to be able to catch a flight to India with very little notice. Mass transit operators are better able to capture these commuters and serve their travel patterns. Painstaking and expensive airport pickup/dropoffs become far more convenient and centralized. The "airport" office and hotel markets shift to the urban cores. (Take that, Irving!) And of course, there's the convenience. Dad's in the hospital? I can be there in under an hour. (We're Texans, all about family values, am I right? Support my idea or worship Satan, it's your choice.)

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I posted a similar topic (the exact same routes, same study) in another topic (Trains, I think: merge?)

The Houston-Austin route is most economical, I suppose, but that would require new ROW for much of the way. Yes, there is abandoned ROW, but some of that is now part of US-290 (which was widened at some point in the past) and bypass Brenham (as well as College Station). But College Station, Texas A&M University in particular, wouldn't allow that to happen.

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I wonder why this rail segment study was released by TXDOT. It's hardly the most urgent in terms of priority or viability within the Texas Triangle. I'd put Dallas/Ft.Worth-Houston or Dallas/Ft.Worth-San Antonio ahead of it.

I'll put credence in TXDOT if and when they actually complete a rail project. This seems like a bone tossed out to impress folks they are working on something other than more highways.

We'll be riding in rickshaws before we have high-speed rail in Texas.

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There could already be bullet train service between Houston and Dallas but for the last 30 miles of right-a-way being bought up by the now bankrupt American Airlines almost 10 years ago.

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