Houston to Dallas in a Flash: The Texas Bullet Train Project

The Texas Bullet Train project has been discussed for many years and has finally received the federal approval needed to begin construction. The proposed bullet train project is estimated to cost up to 20 billion dollars and take an estimated six years to complete the construction phase of the project. Once the project is complete, it is estimated that the train will remove approximately 14,000 automobiles from interstate 45 and save 81.5 million gallons of gas per day according to a recently-published Dallas Tribune story.

Not Just Another Coal Train

The bullet train selected for the Texas project is the Shinkansen model N700S. The train selected for the Texas project will be modified to adapt to the Texas climate and is designed to leave significantly less of a carbon footprint than automobile or aviation travel.  It converts kinetic energy into electricity instead of burning traditional fossil fuels.

The speed of the bullet train can max out at 205 m.p.h. However, the “cruising” speed for the Dallas to Houston line will be 186 m.p.h. This will enable the train to make the journey from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes including a planned stop in Brazos.

The train is expected to carry over 1300 passengers at a time with trains leaving every 30 minutes during peak hours. It is expected to regularly transport 6 million people a year by 2029. Presently, if all goes according to the planned timetable, the Houston to Dallas bullet train could begin to transport passengers as early as 2026.

Bullet Train Stations

The Houston stop is planned for the current location of the Northwest Mall at Highway 290 and Loop 610. This places the train terminal conveniently just down the street from the Northwest Transit Center giving people access to the Houston city-wide busing system. The Dallas station is planned for the Cedars neighborhood of Dallas—which is about as south of downtown Dallas as the Houston station is north of downtown Houston. The Dallas Dart light rail train has a station in Cedars which will give travelers a way to get from the train to downtown Dallas and vice versa.

A Brazos Valley Station is planned between Houston and Dallas in Grimes County.  This station is about equidistance from College Station and Huntsville.  It is expected that a shuttle service from Texas ATM will provide about a 30-minute commute from the station to the University. This is the only stop between Houston and Dallas.

The Cost of a High-Speed Rail Ticket

For the 100,000+ commuters who regularly make the journey between Dallas and Houston twice or more a week at regular times, they have the potential to save some money over flying. According to Texas Central, the cost of a ticket will depend on several factors such as how far in advance you purchase your bullet train ticket and what additional services you require. However, the cost will range from the cost of driving to the cost of flying. So, if you travel twice a week on Monday and Wednesday for example, presumably you could book your tickets far enough in advance to keep the cost low.

The Future of Texas Transportation

Texas is a continually growing State. It seems like the major highways are always congested and under construction due to widening needs. The impact of population growth will only put more cars on interstate 45. Thus, it is easy to see why adding an alternative transportation system is desirable. It is expected that the Houston-to-Dallas bullet train will transport 13 million people a year by the year 2050. Imagine how many cars that could take off the road.  Imagine how many more will be eliminated if this train opens up the doorway to a triangle of trains from Houston to Dallas to Austin as has been discussed in the past.