July 14, 2021 - TRA Newswire -
Texas Central Railroad (TCR), developers of the high-speed train between Dallas and Houston, has signed a contract with Spanish-based operator Renfe to be the Early Operator for the transformational project to bring high-speed rail travel in Texas.
Renfe is one of the world’s largest railways operators, running 5,000 trains daily on 7,500 miles of track. The company is integral to the transport system in Spain, its home base, handling more than 510 million passengers and 17 million tons of freight moved in 2019.
“Renfe has an established reputation for excellence in railroad operations in Spain and across the world,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. “With their decades of expertise, they were a natural fit to join our team of best-in-class global experts setting the foundation for this new jobs-creating industry we are bringing to Texas.”
As the Early Operator, Renfe will work alongside TCR on the design and development of the commercial aspects of the high-speed train system. The Early Operator will focus on providing key expertise and supporting senior decision makers, leveraging existing capabilities within Texas Central’s integrated organization. The agreement is the latest example of the project bringing on board the industry’s best subject matter experts from across the globe. It comes just a couple of weeks after Texas Central announced it named the multinational firm Webuild to lead the civil construction consortium that will build the passenger line. Webuild will be responsible for all work up to the top of the rail, including viaducts, embankments and drainage.
Renfe will also provide advisory and consulting services to Texas Central on final design, execution, construction, testing and commissioning of Civil, Station and buildings, Installation, Core Systems and O&M technology and plans and processes, as well as all commercial aspects of the HSR system.
“Renfe is proud to contribute its unique international high-speed experience to this project as we are the only operator in the world that has participated in designing, developing, operating and maintaining a high-speed train system outside of its home country,” said Isaías Táboas, President of Renfe Operadora. “High-speed rail provides a safe, time efficient, and environmentally friendly transportation option. We truly believe that the Texas Central Railroad project meets all the conditions to become the first truly high-speed system in the U.S. and that it will be a game changer for the state and the country.”
The announcement is the latest milestone for the investor-led project. In July, Texas Central signed a contract with Webuild to serve as Design-build lead, and late last year, the company reached two historic milestones when the Federal Railroad Administration issued the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and the Record of Decision (ROD) for the project.
Now that these milestones have been reached, the required elements are in place for the company to fully focus on the final due diligence and secure permanent financing.
TRC previously announced an agreement with Amtrak to handle through-ticketing between the high speed line and the over 500 cities around the country that the national railroad agency serves. In April Amtrak announced its 'Amtrak Connects US' program which, scheduled to be implemented by 2035, would mean a network of additional services in Texas with potentially more  cross-connections to Texas Central.
The system Texas Central Railroad proposes to build in Texas will replicate the proven Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system, as operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JRC). Texas Central chose this system because it is 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 an impeccable safety record of zero operational passenger fatalities and zero accidents since first deployed. This technology reliably moves more than 400,000 passengers every day.
The project will create an estimated 17,000 direct jobs during the six years of construction, over 20,000 supply chain jobs and more than 1,400 direct permanent jobs when the train is fully operational. The Texas Central project will use $7.3 billion of materials from US companies across 37 states. And, over the next 25 years, this project will have a direct cumulative economic impact of $36 billion.
Texas Central has a comprehensive Business and Workforce Opportunity Program with a mission to promote the value and development of small, rural, and minority-, woman-, veteran- and disabled individual-owned businesses by offering fair and competitive opportunities to bid and participate in building and operating the Texas high-speed train.