Texas is getting a bullet train?
Texans love to remind the rest of us, over and over again, that everything's bigger in the Lone Star State. But when it comes to the state's geography, they're actually not lying. Texas really is huge -- it takes about 12 hours to cross the whole thing.
In an effort to reduce the travel time between two of the state's (and America's) biggest cities, Houston and Dallas, Texas Central Railway has proposed building a new, privately owned high-speed rail line to connect them. TCR's CEO, Richard Lawless, got the idea from the Japanese Shinkasen high-speed rail network back when he was working in Tokyo as an officer for the C.I.A.
That's right: The Texas bullet train company's run by an ex-C.I.A. officer named Dick Lawless. Pretty awesome, right? But we digress.
Instead of the four hours it normally takes to make the Houston-Dallas journey by car (or three hours by plane), the model N700 bullet trains TCR plans to use will take just 90 minutes, traveling at a blazing top speed of 205mph.
A 30-month environmental impact study of the route was initiated in June and, assuming everything checks out, construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2017. Trains would get rolling in 2021. So, no need to uninstall your Southwest app just yet.
That said, the entire $10 billion enterprise would be funded privately, so conservative lawmakers and pundits needn't worry about wasted taxpayer dollars.
If the project proves successful, it could lead to a boom in high-speed rail lines throughout Texas, making the second-biggest state in the union a wee bit smaller.