News that there’s a Texas bullet train in the works might have surprised critics of the state’s laughable environmental policies. Those critics, however, probably aren’t aware that Texas is a diverse and complex state, filled with plenty of forward-thinking individuals and clean-energy proponents.
That’s what happens in big, populous states. A healthy mix of ideas, plenty of smart people, and a large population of idiots praying for rain in between calling environmentalists “terrorists” on national television.
That’s all stories for another- uh … story. For now, let’s check out the article Jake Richardson posted on the proposed Texas bullet train – originally published on our sister site, Cleantechnica – below. Enjoy!
Texas Bullet Train From Houston-Dallas Planned
A 200 mph Houston-Dallas bullet train is being planned by a private company called Texas Central Railway. The company’s CEO is Richard Lawless, who lived in Tokyo when he was a C.I.A officer in the 1980s and rode the Shinkansen bullet train. This train covers about 300 miles between Tokyo and Osaka averaging well over 100 mph for each trip.
Currently, the Texas bullet train project is gradually shaping up, with an environmental impact study under way. It has been very quietly progressing over the last four years or so. A website for Texas Central Rail says the plan is to have a high-speed rail route that is competitive with flying and faster than driving.
When we hear of monumental plans such as this one, we may tend to think of government subsidies and the cost to taxpayers. This project is completely set up to be funded by private interests. The cost has been estimated at around $10 billion.
Japan’s JR Central railway is one of the Texas company’s backers, so there is more than Lawless’s own Japanese rail riding experience and vision that is connected to Japan. How long will it take to create a Texas bullet train?It might be by 2021 at the earliest that the Houston-Dallas high-speed route is up and running.
The Tōkaidō Shinkansen bullet train began service in 1964 and in just three years had transported about 100 million passengers. In the contemporary era, the bullet train saves about 15,000 tons of CO2 per year. Bullet trains in Japan allow two pieces of luggage per passenger. Bicycles are acceptable as well.
This not to say the same conditions will be in place for a potential Texas bullet train, but if they were, passengers seeking an alternative to flying might find them attractive.
The launch of a bullet train in Texas would undoubtedly draw some tourists as well. In 2013, Texas had about 233 million domestic visitors and over eight million from other countries. A very fast train connecting two of the states largest cities would likely increase tourism.
Would you ride the Texas bullet train?
Source | Images: Cleantechnica.