Amtrak Highlights Plan for High-Speed Rail in Texas

Amtrak has provided an update on its plans for high-speed rail in the US, including a corridor between Dallas and Houston.

In 2000, the operator introduced its Acela service, which travels at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour on select sections of the Northeast Corridor, making it the fastest train in the Western Hemisphere. This service has since served over 65 million passengers.

Corridor ID Program
Amtrak’s Acela train

Now, Amtrak has released a video exploring the next steps for high-speed rail in the US. This video also addresses the technological, regulatory, and economic challenges and opportunities in expanding high-speed rail.

The video is presented by Roger Harris, President of Amtrak and Andy Byford, Amtrak’s Senior Vice President of High-Speed Rail Development Programs.

The pair noted that the existing Acela trains have been in service for over 20 years. With new vehicles set to be delivered, this service is expected to remain part of the modern era for Amtrak.

However, Byford highlighted that the company does not plan to limit its high-speed offering to this corridor, as many routes across the nation have the potential for similar development.

Indeed, with the Acela service, Amtrak has gained a 75% market share of business travel within the Northeast Corridor. This highlights the potential for fast and efficient rail services to replace domestic air travel.

When considering additional high-speed routes, Byford states that the company looks for corridors with good-sized population centres, limited stops, enclosed tracks, modern infrastructure, limited curves and simple topography.

Byford states that in particular, the route from Dallas to Houston stands out as a feasible corridor that meets these criteria. Amtrak is therefore working on developing this connection into a high-speed service.

Specifically, the company is looking to introduce the Shinkansen N700 Japanese bullet train, which will cover the 240-mile connection at speeds of up to 205 miles per hour. The average speed on this route would be 187 miles per hour, which would be the fastest average speed in the world.

The video update exploring this potential can be viewed here.

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