Texas Exploring High-Speed Rail Along Major Corridors, Including I-20, I-35

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

If high-speed rail is to exist in Texas over the next several decades, it won't be the work of the federal or the state government. Though the state has been exploring the idea for close to three decades, there's no money on the table and little political will to put it there. Instead, it will be the work of a private company like Texas Central Railway, which is predicting that the lure of a 90-minute, hassle-free connection between Dallas and Houston will attract enough development and ridership that the $10 billion project will pay for itself.

That's not to say that the government isn't involved. The Texas Department of Transportation has been quietly conducting feasibility and environmental-impact studies for high-speed rail. The big one, which explores the possibility of a Texas-Oklahoma connection, is due at the end of 2014. And recently, a team of University of Texas at Arlington researchers published a study advocating for high-speed passenger and freight rail to be built alongside major highways.

"I'm really pleased at the times that were achievable," UTA civil engineering professor Stephen Mattingly told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the weekend. Alongside roads built for cars going 75 or 80, Mattingly's team concluded that trains could go up to 186 mph.

See also: TxDOT Really Wants to See That Whole Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Line Happen

That speed would be possible along four corridors in the state: along Interstate 20 between Dallas and Fort Worth; I-45 between Dallas and Houston; I-35 between Laredo and Dallas-Fort Worth; and State Highway 6 from Houston to Waco.

The travel times with a 186 mph maglev train would be low. From Dallas, it would be 15 minutes to Fort Worth, 97 minutes to Houston, 70 to Austin. If wheeled trains were used, the times would be slightly longer.

Mattingly's team singled out the four routes partly because of population and ridership calculations, partly because they are relatively straight, and partly because they already contain sufficient right-of way to accommodate a bullet train. No one wants a repeat of the Trans-Texas Corridor.

See also: North Texas Senators Beg TxDOT Not to Screw Up This High-Speed Rail Thing

The study will have be of limited use to the Texas Central Railway, which the Star-Telegram reports is using freight right-of-way. They hope to be finished with the project by 2021.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.