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Texas Central and Amtrak Look at High-Speed Rail Between Dallas and Houston

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Texas Central Partners, commonly known as Texas Central, and Amtrak are looking at ways to partner to launch high-speed rail service between Dallas and Houston. A proposed high-speed rail between the 2 cities would serve some of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country quickly and efficiently, reducing traffic on the roads and with a positive environmental impact.

New Rail Service Being Explored

Andy Byford, Amtrak’s Senior Vice President for High-Speed Rail, is leading the charge on this partnership. If his name sounds familiar, that’s because it should. He previously ran New York City’s entire transit system and then moved over to Amtrak where a new position was created for him to boost nationwide high-speed rail service.

The trains between Houston and Dallas would cover a length of 240 miles and would take approximately 90 minutes to cover. Like most Amtrak services, there would likely be multiple frequencies a day, with both a business class, economy class, and café car configuration (though there may not be a need for food service on such a short train). Amtrak would offer downtown-to-downtown service between the 2 cities, alleviating the need to drive or fly, both of which can take up quite a bit of time.

Essentially, the 2 partners are researching the feasibility of the rail service in combination with several partners. No rail service has been formally announced, and it isn’t close to starting, however, this integral planning step is important in progressing towards actual construction.

Texas Central Dallas waiting area conceptual rendering
Conceptual rendering of Dallas station waiting area. Image Credit: Texas Central

According to Amtrak, the project will have significant environmental impacts, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 100,000 tons per year, and saving 65 million gallons of fuel while removing 12,500 cars per day from the highways that stretch between the 2 cities.

While new rail service is traditionally quite slow to start, we’ll likely hear updates on the new route in the next year or 2. That said, don’t expect this new service to start for quite some time, as there are inevitably delays, construction issues, political problems, and funding dilemmas that need to be worked out.

Hot Tip:

There is currently no direct train between Dallas and Houston. If you want to travel between the 2 cities by train, you’d need to connect in San Antonio, and the length of the connection combined with the length of the train ride make this transfer highly impractical.

Final Thoughts

Once launched, Dallas to Houston Amtrak service will significantly reduce the travel time between the 2 cities and will provide a high-speed train option for commuters. While there isn’t a ton of information to share as of now, look forward to more communication from Texas Central and Amtrak as the partnership progresses.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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