We've been following, with some interest, the emergence of a private venture to build a proper high-speed railroad Deep In the Heart of Texas.  One way for the project's developers to cope with opposition (are a few trains an hour really more annoying than jets flying over or a crowded superhighway) is to build along existing utility corridors.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration released a report Aug. 10 supporting Texas Central Railway’s decision to use that pathway for the 240-mile line.

“TCR identified this corridor to take advantage of relatively straight, existing long, linear infrastructure easements between Dallas and Houston,” the report says. “The Utility Corridor would follow the Centerpoint Energy and Oncor Electric Delivery high-voltage electrical transmission lines.”

Essentially, this would prevent TCR from having to condemn more land, since utility rights of way already exist, than it would if it had to go through the Interstate 45 corridor, for example.
Thus the connection back to the Public Utility Holding Company Act, a bit of misguided social progress that in protecting investors from pyramided stock, broke all ties between power companies and electric railways.

Look around, dear reader, and you'll see evidence of how that tie made the provision of electric railways easier.  The last interurban was once part of Samuel Insull's Midwest Utilities.

Power line and rail line together at Beverly Shores, Indiana.

If the Skokie Swift ever gets north of Dempster Street, there's another utility corridor, once shared by The North Shore Line and the Commonwealth Edison portion of Midwest Utilities.

Harmswoods Station at Golf Road, looking southeast.
George Krambles photograph from B-107 Route of the Electroliners.

And The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company made the affiliation explicit.

The tracks ran directly under high-tension transmission lines, with one steel structure supporting both the high-tension wires for the Power Company, and the trolley wires for streetcars and interurbans.  A few stretches of the original transmission lines remain in the Milwaukee area, perhaps praying for the return of the interurbans.

Light your candles to the Patron Saint of Interurbans that Texas gets it right.

No comments: