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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

STB: Texas Central project falls under board's jurisdiction

Texas Central plans to build a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas on dedicated track with no grade crossings.
Photo – Texas Central


The Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday, reversing an earlier decision, determined that Texas Central Railroad's proposed Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail service will qualify as part of the interstate rail network and therefore falls under the board's jurisdiction.

Texas Central in May 2018 petitioned the STB to reconsider its earlier decision that the proposed rail line would be constructed and operated entirely within the state of Texas and therefore not subject to board approval. However, circumstances have since changed "substantially" now that it has through-ticket and transfer arrangements with Amtrak. At the time of a July 2016 STB ruling, Texas Central did not yet have concrete plans for a connection with Amtrak or any other interstate passenger-rail carrier.

Since then, the company has established agreements with Amtrak that would allow passengers to purchase a single ticket for transportation on both the Texas Central and Amtrak portions of their journey. As a result, that establishes Texas Central as an interstate railroad service under STB jurisdiction, Texas Central officials asserted in their filing.

In its decision issued yesterday, the STB agreed with that assertion.

However, the STB denied Texas Central's request that it be exempted from the STB's approval prior to building and operating the new rail line.

"Should Texas Central seek board authority to construct and operate its high-speed passenger-rail project, it may do so by filing an application," the decision states.

Texas Central officials have not yet released a statement on yesterday's decision. 

The STB decision may be read here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/17/2020