September 21, 2020 - TRA Newswire -

Texas Central Railroad Reaches Two Historic Milestones - Completion of key regulatory processes makes the Nation’s first high-speed train ready to go

FRA releases final high speed safety rules
FRA OK's rail alignment to build high-speed line Dallas to Houston

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and the Record of Decision (ROD) for Texas Central Railroad, LLC, marking a major achievement for the historic high-speed rail project and bringing it much closer to construction.

“This is the moment we have been working towards,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central Railroad. “The release of the final RPA and ROD by the Federal Railroad Administration represents years of work by countless individuals, affirming a very thorough and careful federal regulatory process that will make the Texas Central Railroad the first high-speed rail system to be implemented in the United States.”

The Rule of Particular Applicability provides the regulatory framework for Texas Central Railroad, establishing a comprehensive set of safety requirements that will govern the high-speed rail system’s signal and trainset control, track, rolling stock, operating rules and practices, system qualifications, and maintenance. The RPA is based on a systems approach to safety which incorporates accident avoidance measures that are significantly more stringent than those required for conventional U.S. rail operations.

The Record Of Decision completes the FRA’s environmental review process that began in 2014 as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and culminated with the publication of the 10,000+ page Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) that was released on May 29, 2020. The ROD also formally selects the alignment that Texas Central Railroad will follow between Dallas and Houston. The alignment selected by FRA is referred to as Build Alternative A in the ROD.

The system Texas Central Railroad proposes to build in Texas will replicate the Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system, as operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JRC). Texas Central chose this system because of its reputation as being one of the safest and most punctual train systems in the world. In its 55+ year history, it has transported over 10 billion passengers with a safety record of zero operational passenger fatalities and zero accidents since first deployed.

As noted by the FRA, “this regulation was written specifically for this technology to maintain the integrity of the baseline safety case” of JRC’s Tokaido Shinkansen and establishes “regulatory requirements codifying the service-proven technological, operational, and maintenance aspects of the Tokaido Shinkansen HSR system.”

The full ROD/RPA is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the near future.

Texas Central now must await approval from the Surface Transportation Board after submitting financial and operating documentation. This is expected to be the final step before construction commences on the 240 mile long rail line, linking North Texas to the Gulf Coast with trains running at up to 200 miles per hour and covering the distance in 90 minutes. Texas Central, in previous reports, estimated that trains would be running by 2026.


Here is a summary on major milestones that Texas Central achieved this year, despite a pandemic.

(Statistics supplied by Texas Central)


- May 7: The 13th Court of Appeals of Texas issued a unanimous ruling confirming Texas Central’s status as a Railroad under Texas Law


- May 21: US Army Corps of Engineers issued its preliminary designation affirming the FRA selected route as the Least Environmentally Damaging Proposed Alternative (LEDPA), agreeing with FRA on the chosen alignment

- May 29: FRA released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

- July 17: Surface Transportation Board (STB) confirmed jurisdiction over the Texas Central project

-September 11: FRA issued its Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) establishing Federal safety standards under which Texas Central Railroad will operate the high-speed train and giving environmental clearance for the selected alignment from Dallas to Houston


- Texas Central has control of over 600 parcels of land needed for the project

- Texas Central has control of the three station sites in Dallas, Houston and the Brazos Valley

Jobs and Impact:

- Texas Central is ready to build and will proceed to construction as soon as possible to contribute to the Nation’s COVID-19 recovery

- This project will create more than 17,000 direct jobs during the six years of construction and over 20,000 supply chain jobs

- This project will have over $10 billion dollars in immediate economic impact across the U.S. via contracts for steel mills and other manufacturers, minority and women owned businesses, veterans, rural businesses

- The project will inject an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits over its first 25 years in the form of direct spending during construction, employee payroll and spending related to the maintenance and operation of the system

To execute this project, Texas Central has put together a world-class team of experts and industry leaders including:

Webuild: In September 2019, Texas Central signed a design-build contract with Webuild (Salini Impregilo/Lane Construction Corp.) to supply the civil nfrastructure work for the project. This includes the design and construction of the viaduct and embankment sections along the entire route, the installation of the track system and construction of related buildings and services along the route that will house maintenance and other rail system equipment.

Bechtel: Based in Virginia, Bechtel is the world’s leading rail program manager. They will be our lead to oversee all aspects of this project as well as the integration of all scopes.

Central Japan Railway (JRC)/Renfe: We have two of the world’s leading rail system operators. JRC, based in Japan, is the technology provider and Renfe, based in Spain, is the operator of our system.

Team Shinkansen United (TSU): The best high-speed rail technology (Tokaido Shinkansen) in the world. TSU includes Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba, NEC, and JRC.

Kiewit: Kiewit, based in Nebraska, and Mass Electric Construction Company, based in Massachusetts, market leaders in Rail systems construction and installation, will install the core systems that will operate the train, in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Matthews Southwest (MSW) and Suffolk Construction: MSW, a Texas-based real estate developer, along with Suffolk Construction, based in Massachusetts, which has recently completed the most advanced rail terminal/commercial space in the nation, will develop and build the Texas Central stations.