While California and Nevada are still trying to figure out how to realize an interstate maglev linking Anaheim to Las Vegas, a rail company in Texas is outlining plans for a 205-mph bullet train that would link two major metropolitan hubs in the Lone Star state: Houston and Fort Worth.
The Texas Central Railway company wants to get it done by 2020, and wants $10 billion to do it. The distance between Fort Worth and Houston — 260 miles — is about the same distance as the route proposed line between Anaheim and Las Vegas at 269 miles. (Hey, Texas is a big state!) Cruising at 205 miles per hour once underway, the company estimates that the trip would take 90 minutes in all, which is a little longer than the hour-and-some-change it takes to fly between the cities' two airports.
So, why not just fly? Well, a train ride would be cheaper, of course, but more than that it'd just be a better way to travel, according to Texas Central Railway head Robert Eckels:
"You just walk in and get on the train. You can use your phone. You can use your computer. You can get up and walk around. You can go down and get a snack. It's a much more pleasant way to travel."
Sounds nice, right?
Right now, Texas Central Railway is looking to private investors to scare up the $10 billion — that's another departure from the California-Nevada model. Whereas the western maglev is looking to score government funds to help offset costs, Texas Central Railway "are not looking for a government subsidy on this project," according to Eckels: "that's one of the key elements to make this project work and is distinguished from others is that we would be a privately operated system."
2020 is an ambitious date, but Eckels and co. is confident it can be done if it meets its investment goal. (Hell, why not just Kickstart it, fellas?) A ticket to ride would be 70% of what it costs to fly, according to the rail company, meaning that you'd pay around $195 for one right now, as direct flights between the two cities are hovering around $280.
Sure, it's not some super-fast, cross-country wonder train, but a lot of the world's most respected high speed rail networks, such as the TGV in France, got their start from an initially small linkage.