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Dallas to Houston high-speed train opposed by rural Texas lawmakers

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Republican lawmakers representing rural interests have filed a slew of bills taking aim at a proposed high-speed train between Dallas and Houston. The legislators who filed 18 different bills include state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury; state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock; state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown; state Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin; state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia; state Sen. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana; state Rep. Leighton Schubert, R-Caldwell; and state Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie. Perry, Schwertner, Ashby and Schubert represent areas with little land that would be affected by the proposed train.

The post Dallas to Houston high-speed train opposed by rural Texas lawmakers appeared first on Community Impact Newspaper.

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Huge shocker there... not.  

 

Predictable response from short-sighted communities and their lawmakers.  We'll see if the NIMBYs succeed as they have so many times before. 

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I wish they would link up Galveston and Houston before doing this. I'm not a fan of the train because I personally think it's a waste of money, and I support transit of all kinds! 

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18 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I wish they would link up Galveston and Houston before doing this. I'm not a fan of the train because I personally think it's a waste of money, and I support transit of all kinds! 

 

Wouldn't say it's a waste of money (especially if it's privately funded, which I'm still skeptical of), but the decision to plop the Houston station literally in the middle of the wasteland that is the Northwest Mall area is highly questionable in my mind, and will limit the potential success of this project in the long run. 

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30 minutes ago, mfastx said:

 

Wouldn't say it's a waste of money (especially if it's privately funded, which I'm still skeptical of), but the decision to plop the Houston station literally in the middle of the wasteland that is the Northwest Mall area is highly questionable in my mind, and will limit the potential success of this project in the long run. 

Is that decision set in stone? 

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56 minutes ago, mfastx said:

 

Wouldn't say it's a waste of money (especially if it's privately funded, which I'm still skeptical of), but the decision to plop the Houston station literally in the middle of the wasteland that is the Northwest Mall area is highly questionable in my mind, and will limit the potential success of this project in the long run. 

 

I agree. I was bummed when they decided to put it in the northwest mall area, but it seems like Uptown/Galleria area is getting more and more massive every other month. It is starting to feel like a city center of its own with its skyline. Perhaps that will spill over to the Northwest Mall area in the not too distant future. Plus, they can possibly think about a split track at the station that will allow you to take a route to downtown or straight in to Uptown.

 

I personally think there's a way to make this work. Plus, they have cleared a lot of land over off Dacoma (north of 290) and I was told Northwest Mall is getting ready to get completely leveled. That whole Dacoma/290 corridor is in the process of making way for new development and retail. Sorry, no verifiable source here, I learned this by talking with a client who works for the construction company that told me what the plans were. But he wasn't knowledgeable about the HSR plans and how it would be incorporated in to the new developments unfortunately.

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I think having the station at NW mall is brilliant. 

 

I imagine a phase of mass transit at some point that has a line going between this location and IAH, another going between this location and HOU (stopping in downtown), and the uptown BRT that eventually becomes light rail extends up to this.

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It's not just going to be a station platform like a light rail stop - it's going to be something more akin to a small airport terminal in size.  They'll have parking, probably retail, and I bet they'll try to attract some office towers to be right there

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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Is that decision set in stone? 

 

It appears to be, yes. 

 

1 hour ago, scarface said:

 

I agree. I was bummed when they decided to put it in the northwest mall area, but it seems like Uptown/Galleria area is getting more and more massive every other month. It is starting to feel like a city center of its own with its skyline. Perhaps that will spill over to the Northwest Mall area in the not too distant future. Plus, they can possibly think about a split track at the station that will allow you to take a route to downtown or straight in to Uptown.

 

Hopefully, it is a bummer though because the Galleria area isn't even that close to Northwest mall.  Plus, there's the I-10 barrier.  Hopefully it is still successful despite the less than optimal station location, then maybe we can think about extending it Downtown or Uptown down the line. 

 

1 hour ago, scarface said:

I personally think there's a way to make this work. Plus, they have cleared a lot of land over off Dacoma (north of 290) and I was told Northwest Mall is getting ready to get completely leveled. That whole Dacoma/290 corridor is in the process of making way for new development and retail. Sorry, no verifiable source here, I learned this by talking with a client who works for the construction company that told me what the plans were. But he wasn't knowledgeable about the HSR plans and how it would be incorporated in to the new developments unfortunately.

 

They're probably related.  I'm sure they'll put something in that area to compliment the station.  It's just inconvenient to get to for folks outside of western Houston, and it's in the clusterthousand dollars that is 610/290/I-10 traffic interchange. 

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

I think having the station at NW mall is brilliant. 

 

I imagine a phase of mass transit at some point that has a line going between this location and IAH, another going between this location and HOU (stopping in downtown), and the uptown BRT that eventually becomes light rail extends up to this.

 

It would be better if it had good mass transit connections, but I don't have faith that that will happen anytime soon.  We aren't even close to having the airports connected by rail, and even so I'm not sure light rail is fast enough to make the connection attractive (I'd prefer heavy rail transit, but that ship has long sailed).  Part of the attraction of rail is that it's easier to get to your final destination from the station than it is from the airport.  I don't see that being accomplished here, NWM is far away from everything besides the Galleria. 

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the difference between light rail and heavy rail isn't the speeds that can be achieved, but the weight of the vehicles that are used.

 

the light rail we've built out so far is limited by the environment (shared roads), but if it were in its own ROW that allowed for higher speeds, the cars can go fast enough. on the wikipedia page regarding the Houston metro rail, the Siemens cars are stated to have a top speed of 66mph, it doesn't state how fast the CAF cars can go. I assume it's a similar speed. So it's more a matter of ROW.

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Moseley's tenure with Texas Central was quite short. He started in July 2016.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/02/23/former-ghp-ceo-high-speed-rail-exec-to-lead-texas.html

 

Obviously he was brought in to help the project survive the legislative session currently in progress. Maybe he's done with that task, even though the session goes through the end of May. But it does seem somewhat suspicious he's leaving before the end of the session.

 

I'm always left to wonder if there is more to the story, good or bad for Texas Central. (Were the C-types dissatisfied with the lobbying effort? Or are they confident of success, so there was no reason for Moseley to stay? And assuming they proceed to construction, is there no role for Moseley?)

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19 hours ago, samagon said:

the difference between light rail and heavy rail isn't the speeds that can be achieved, but the weight of the vehicles that are used.

 

the light rail we've built out so far is limited by the environment (shared roads), but if it were in its own ROW that allowed for higher speeds, the cars can go fast enough. on the wikipedia page regarding the Houston metro rail, the Siemens cars are stated to have a top speed of 66mph, it doesn't state how fast the CAF cars can go. I assume it's a similar speed. So it's more a matter of ROW.

 

Actually, our new CAF cars can only go up to 40-something mph.  The way our light rail is constructed (sharing ROW, distance between station locations, etc.) means that the average speed for our rail system is going to be lower anyway.  And that's not even mentioning the fact that heavy rail systems generate far and away more ridership than light rail. 

 

But yes, if our light rail was like St. Louis' system, it could work. 

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21 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

Moseley's tenure with Texas Central was quite short. He started in July 2016.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/02/23/former-ghp-ceo-high-speed-rail-exec-to-lead-texas.html

 

Obviously he was brought in to help the project survive the legislative session currently in progress. Maybe he's done with that task, even though the session goes through the end of May. But it does seem somewhat suspicious he's leaving before the end of the session.

 

I'm always left to wonder if there is more to the story, good or bad for Texas Central. (Were the C-types dissatisfied with the lobbying effort? Or are they confident of success, so there was no reason for Moseley to stay? And assuming they proceed to construction, is there no role for Moseley?)

Is he leaving TCR though? It wasn't mentioned in the article (at least I don't think it was) and he's still listed as an employee on their website.

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On 2/24/2017 at 9:24 AM, mfastx said:

 

Actually, our new CAF cars can only go up to 40-something mph.  The way our light rail is constructed (sharing ROW, distance between station locations, etc.) means that the average speed for our rail system is going to be lower anyway.  And that's not even mentioning the fact that heavy rail systems generate far and away more ridership than light rail. 

 

But yes, if our light rail was like St. Louis' system, it could work. 

And even then most cities with light rail aren't traveling at crazy speeds. It's usually the same speeds as traffic. Look at cities like Philly, Boston, with at grade light rail. 

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Portland uses the same rolling stock as Houston for their max lines and they get up to speed going to the airport.  I've always thought our trains exceeded our needs.

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It would be nice if there were some long stretches that the trains could get up to speed to go to the airport here.

 

The fastest stretch I believe is between Smithlands and Fannin South - I believe the train speed limit there is 40mph

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On 2/23/2017 at 8:27 AM, mfastx said:

 

Wouldn't say it's a waste of money (especially if it's privately funded, which I'm still skeptical of), but the decision to plop the Houston station literally in the middle of the wasteland that is the Northwest Mall area is highly questionable in my mind, and will limit the potential success of this project in the long run. 

Don't you mean in the short run?  In the long run huge developments and a transit center may create itself here.

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9 hours ago, jt16 said:

Don't you mean in the short run?  In the long run huge developments and a transit center may create itself here.

 

Possibly, I probably shouldn't have said "long run," because we won't know whether this project is a "success" or not for decades after it's built anyway.  It'd be idiotic to declare success or failure after a few short years.  Huge developments will be slow to come regardless. 

Edited by mfastx

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I remember riding the DART red line from downtown Dallas to Plano.  I was impressed when I looked to the west and noticed that we were passing cars on North Central Expressway (which wasn't particularly clogged at that time).

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I'm sorry for sticking this here , but I wasn't sure where it would get the most bang.

Metro will be discussing their regional plan.

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