Firsthand Look at High-Speed Train Planned for Texas

Texans traveling between Dallas and Houston have two alternatives: a one-hour flight or a four-to-five-hour drive. But there may soon be another choice.

Developers want to build a high-speed train that could make the trip in 90 minutes.

It would be the same train that's already in service in Japan. The Tokaido Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train, links Tokyo and Osaka.

Texas Central Partners, which is a private company based in Dallas, would construct the high-speed rail line in the Lone Star State.

The Texas train would be the latest version of what's known as the N700-A. It was developed by Central Japan Railway and incorporates 50 years of Japanese train technology.

The train would hit speeds over 200 mph and would carry 400 people.

At peak times of the day, trains would leave Dallas every half hour. Ticket pricing would be comparable with airline fares and flexible depending on demand.

Among the train's features are airline-style seating, extra legroom, overhead storage, Wi-Fi and power outlets.

The line would have three stations initially: Dallas, Houston and a "Brazos Valley" stop in Grimes County to serve the Bryan/College Station area.

Construction on the project could start as soon as 2017 with passenger service in 2022.

While developers move forward with plans to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, opponents are saying “not so fast.”

Opponents Raise Concerns About High-Speed Rail

While developers move forward with plans to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, opponents are saying "not so fast."

Texans Against High-Speed Rail is raising several concerns about the project. Kyle Workman is the group's president.

"I truly believe that this project is not good for Texas," Workman said.

One of his biggest concerns is the possible use of eminent domain to force landowners to sell their property to make room for the tracks.

"Our property rights are not for sale," he said.

Texas Central Partners is the private company trying to bring Japan's famous bullet train to the Lone Star State. CEO Tim Keith said he hopes eminent domain won't be necessary.

"If you're going to ask me what's the hardest part about my job, it's thinking about sitting down with landowners and talking to them about their property in a way that they understand the respect we have for them and for the state of Texas and for the good of all the citizens of Texas," Keith said.

Opponents also worry about losing their quality of life. They worry about noise, access to crossings and disruption to wildlife.

Texas Central said it is ready to address all of those concerns.

Workman, with Texans Against High-Speed Rail, has the support of many state legislators in Austin. They nearly succeeded during the last legislative session in passing a measure that would have crippled the project, and they vow to be back in 2017.

"We're preparing right now, working through this interim with legislators," Workman said.

Texas Central is also ready to make its case.

"We're going to continue to communicate with individuals, community leaders, elected officials at the state level and get our message out," Keith said.

In the coming weeks, NBC 5 will dig into other aspects of the plan for high-speed rail in Texas, including funding, Japanese involvement in the project and promises of economic development.

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