Amtrak and a Texas high-speed passenger rail project will link ticketing and other services in the Lone Star state.
An agreement between Texas Central and Amtrak will allow the former’s passengers to use Amtrak’s reservation system to buy tickets for through travel on both the planned $12.5-billion Texas Bullet Train and Amtrak’s national routes.
The North-Texas to Houston bullet train plans to offer transfers between Amtrak stations in Dallas and Houston. The agreement also will make other Amtrak services, such as training, marketing and sales capabilities, available to Texas Central.
“This agreement is another important step in the progress of the Texas Bullet Train,” said Texas Central President Tim Keith. “It gives both local and interstate travelers more options and ease of travel not previously available by intercity passenger trains in Texas.”
Amtrak does not currently connect Dallas and Houston, or Houston and the North Texas metro area. Amtrak has not operated service between Dallas and Houston, the partners said, since a portion of the Chicago-to-San Antonio/Los Angeles Texas Eagle route was discontinued in 1995. Texas Central will again provide service to this market, including Texas A&M University, with a stop serving Bryan-College Station and Huntsville in the Brazos Valley.
“Amtrak supports the development of high-speed train service throughout the United States as part of a national passenger rail system, capable of meeting the nation’s transportation needs,” said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, in a statement. “When Texas Central’s high-speed line begins operation, the joint ticketing arrangement will benefit Amtrak customers who currently cannot connect by train between Texas’ two largest markets. We welcome the opportunity to partner with the private sector to expand the reach of our national network.”
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is in the process of completing a final environmental study of the bullet train’s 240-mile route. It issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Dec. 15, 2017 saying the train will alleviate strains on Texas’ infrastructure. The FRA now is reviewing public comments it received on the draft in meetings from January to March this year.