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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

East Texas HSR feasibility study could begin soon


Amtrak will soon request that Union Pacific Railroad move forward with a feasibility study for higher-speed passenger rail service along the I-20/US-59 corridors in East Texas, according to the East Texas Corridor Council.

The corridor runs from Dallas/Ft. Worth east to Longview and Marshall, Texas. It then heads north to Texarkana, Ark., and finally to Little Rock, Ark., along Amtrak’s current Texas Eagle route.

Ultimately, ETCC officials would like to push the line further east from Marshall to the Shreveport/Bossier City area in Louisiana, ETCC Chairman Tim Vaughn said in a phone interview with

Plans call for trains to operate between 80 mph and 110 mph.

Amtrak officials expect to reach an agreement with UP during the next several weeks to finalize reimbursement of capacity modeling expenses during the study. Amtrak is prepared to then finalize an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation and move forward with the study, ETCC officials said in a prepared statement.

At that time, UP also would be able to provide Amtrak and TxDOT with an estimated completion date for its portion of the study, which would enable Amtrak to develop of the scope and cost of capital expenses that may be needed to begin service. Amtrak also would analyze projected ridership and revenue for the new service, ETCC officials said.

The study is expected to begin this fall Vaughn says, adding that the council expects to have a detailed project timeline within the next month or two.

The ETCC is a regional organization, made up of 35 municipalities, seeking investments in high-speed rail in East Texas. It’s administrative and fiscal agenct, the East Texas Council of Governments, assists local governments in planning for regional needs.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/30/2010