The cargo and freight segment is competitive for a number of routes and purposes, but has basically just chugged along with incremental improvements.
The rail passenger industry in the U.S. is easily 70 years behind Europe and on par with developing countries. Amtrak knows it. Everyone knows it.
Bullet train projects have abounded since the 1970s and are still tantalizing us, but are hard to get rolling. Nonetheless, there may be progress.
Bullet Trains From Texas — Should We Be Worried?
Amtrak trains and a new Texas Bullet Train have tied the knot by offering tickets on Amtrak’s reservation system to extend their ride if needed to reach their final destination. This is big news because Amtrak has not operated service between Dallas and Houston since 1995, and Texas Central plans to run a line that goes between the cities in just 90 minutes. It will reach speeds of 200 mph (322 km/h). That’s fast!
According to Tim Keith, president of Texas Central, “This agreement is another important step in the progress of the Texas Bullet Train. … It gives both local and interstate travelers more options and ease of travel not previously available by intercity passenger trains in Texas.”
The Federal Railroad Administration is completing a final environmental assessment of the Texas Bullet Train’s 240-mile route. So far, the project’s economic benefits for the state are expected to top $36 over the next 25 years. That includes $2.5 billion in state and local taxes as well as 10,000 new jobs (not counting indirect job creation).
Overall, this sounds like a great step forward for US rail and Texas transport options. Hopefully it won’t be too long till we can test out these routes and see how the Texans compare to the Europeans on high-speed train transport.
And, yes, I am a train and air aficionado. 🙂