Texas Central Partners, a private company armed with technology from Japan’s largest rail provider, has already proposed building a high-speed line from Dallas to Houston. That project, which could cost $10 billion or more but would be privately funded, is on course to be completed in 2022 — although it is opposed by many elected leaders. Last week, state Rep. Bryon Cook, R-Corsicana, asked the attorney general’s office to rule on whether Texas Central Partners would have the power of eminent domain, to take land needed for the bullet trains.Such a project would be a major improvement over today's Texas Eagle service, which, while a decent train, doesn't offer the seating capacity the corridor could use. Neither, apparently, can the air carriers. "Texas needs trains that can fill a void left by airlines, who are putting more emphasis on international and other long-distance flights and less emphasis on intrastate travel, [Arlington mayor Jeff] Williams said."
What intrigues in the story is that fast passenger train technologies are to some extent proprietary. That's true, in particular, of Japan's trains. "'If Texas goes with the Japanese technology, it will create a monopoly in the process,' [Alain] Leray said. 'Anytime you need to replace train sets, you will have only one supplier, and that will drive up the price for Texans.'" M. Leray represents SNCF America, and he'd no doubt like to sell some TGV clones in North America, open technologies notwithstanding.
Where are the heirs to Charles Kettering, E. G. Budd, K. F. Nystrom, and C. H. Bilty to develop a uniquely North American fast electric train that doesn't ride like a rolling bank vault?