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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Texas counties sue FRA over Dallas-to-Houston bullet train project

Texas Central, a private company, has proposed building an elevated high-speed rail system that would transport riders from Dallas to Houston in about 90 minutes.
Photo – Rendering provided by Texas Central


Six Texas counties, several landowners and an anti-high-speed rail group have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and U.S. Department of Transportation over a proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

At issue is Texas Central Railroad’s proposal to construct and operate a high-speed rail system along a dedicated, fully sealed corridor between the two major cities using Central Japan Railway Co.’s Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail technology.

By design, the proposed Shinkansen technology is not “interoperable” with any other existing transportation infrastructure, which means it cannot run on any other tracks and no other trains can run on its tracks, the lawsuit states. As a result, Texas Central’s project would be incompatible with and disconnected from existing or future rail lines, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also states that Shinkansen technology does not comply with existing rail safety regulations, but the FRA issued a “rule of particular applicability” that establishes safety standards that apply only to the Shinkansen technology. The lawsuit also takes issue with how the FRA evaluated potential environmental impacts under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

The lawsuit, which may be read here, is the latest in a string of legal maneuvers filed in an effort to stop the project.

In fall 2020, the FRA released the final RPA and record of decision for Texas Central, bringing the private company's proposal to build Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line closer to construction. The RPA provides the regulatory framework for the railroad, establishing a comprehensive set of safety requirements that will govern the HSR system's signal and trainset control, track, rolling stock, operating rules and practices, system qualifications and maintenance, Texas Central officials said at the time.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/19/2021