Texas Central Partners has been asking for the public's support.
All those who truly care about the future of rail-based intercity passenger service are supposed to rally behind their banner and tell the Federal Railroad Administration to move T.C.P.'s Houston-Dallas high-speed railway project forward, making the current Draft Environmental Impact Statement a full-fledged E.I.S.
A rubber-stamp is all that's really necessary.
Unfortunately, this places me in a pretty severe quandary. What's a sincere advocate to do when he'd like nothing better than to see "more trains to more places," yet finds so many substantive and potentially fatal errors an inherent part of the published documents?
It breaks my heart to admit it, but any support I might offer Texas Central Partners' plan must be qualified.
This entire project is based upon a real estate development model - which is fine in itself, I suppose, since passenger trains will still play a major role.
Even so, the very idea that the line is being designed to operate as an inter-regional shuttle and nothing else PROFOUNDLY bothers me!
The so-called "Texas Bullet Train" is not planning to call upon ANY intermediate point, save one near the greater College Station area - and that's only because Texas Central Partners was dragged kicking and screaming to the altar.
Their trains will not serve commercial airfields, so we see no reason to hope for true intermodalism or seamless service.
The H.S.R. line will also fail to reach either one of the terminal cities' downtowns! Yes, Texas Central Partners keeps SAYING it's coming into downtown Dallas, but that's hardly an accurate statement, depending as it does upon the most vague and generalized notions of the term. Worse yet, T.C.P. knows this to be true - as does the City of Dallas and the North Central Texas Council of Governments and all the other players in the room!
We're not through. How many have stopped to consider that T.C.P.'s current plan offers no connections with ANY other form of rail-based transport, whatsoever! NONE! Let that sink in for a moment: METRORail, DART, T.R.E., Amtrak, streetcar lines - NOT ONE! Look at the Dallas station plans Matthews Southwest unveiled: a high-speed railway facility (primarily consisting of a train shed) and a shopping mall, surrounded by arterial streets and CAR PARKS! Oh, we might find a lump of coal in our stocking in the form of shuttle buses to and from the central business district. Thanks, Santa.
The worst thing of all? This project's ultimate example of dissimulation, one which has even implicated DART: T.C.P.'s abject failure to bring their new trains into (or at least adjacent to) Dallas Union Terminal!
The former site of ReUnion Arena would be an ideal location for a true H.S.R. facility, offering direct passenger interface with existing railway services (there's one of our previous issues solved) at a downtown location (there's another one) while offering connections to both commercial airfields (partially addressing a third). The convention centre is practically next door and convenient, climate controlled pedestrian access to several other area attractions would be a given.
The reason Dallas citizens purchased Union Terminal almost 45 years ago was to preserve the facility and make it available for just this sort of future! To deny our city the proper use of its heritage is an unconscionable thing!
Ladies and gentlemen, I do NOT "support the Texas Bullet Train [sic]"!
I support railroading - the people, technology, service, history and everything else that make our railroad world what it is.
I support alternative (read: non auto-centric) means of passenger transport, faithfully use what's now available and advocate growth.
I support common sense!
I support our elected officials telling folks the truth and standing behind the various promises they make!
I SUPPORT UNION TERMINAL!! It's my hometown railway depot! I practically grew up there, wept when it (effectively) closed and rejoiced the day it reopened for public operations! The men who worked so hard and for so long to protect the station from destruction, with the late Dan Monaghan at the forefront, didn't dedicate their time and efforts so the privileged few could use its interior spaces for corporate meetings and wedding receptions! D.U.T. was designed and constructed to serve passenger trains and the people who ride them, not party-goers and Wolfgang Puck!
This whole thing makes me sick, down to my very soul.
No, I don't support Texas Central Partners or its "bullet train." Still, I'm not against the concept, per se.
I only wish they'd do it right.
I also wish the people we depend upon to protect our society from the excesses of others - especially the free press, our elected officials and their assigns, and numerous "leaders" - would be willing to admit, just ONCE, that the emperor has no clothes.