The Train The Train

Bullet train from Houston to Dallas takes big step with design hire

Bullet train from Houston to Dallas takes big step with design hire

4 Texas Central Rail high-speed bullet train rail
The high-speed train will get from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes. Photo of the N700 courtesy of © JR Central

The Texas Bullet Train moves one giant step forward with the hiring of a firm to work on the project's design and engineering. Texas Central, developer of the high-speed train project, has forged an agreement with Fluor Enterprises Inc., based in Irving.

Fluor Enterprises is the primary operating subsidiary of Fluor Corporation and The Lane Construction Corporation. Fluor and Lane would be the preferred design-builder of the Houston-to-North-Texas line after development phase and financial close.

Texas Central, Fluor, and Lane will work together on refining and updating the project's construction planning and sequencing, scheduling and cost estimates, procurement, and other design and engineering activities related to the civil infrastructure.

The train is a 240-mile line that will connect Houston and North Texas in 90 minutes, with a midway stop in the Brazos Valley.

According to Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar, that Texas Bullet Train has received attention from world-class firms wanting to be part of the project.

"We are excited to partner with firms that have deep Texas roots," Aguilar says in a release. "This is the latest in a long list of Texas-based companies helping build the train, including Freese & Nichols, Contract Land Staff, and Survey And Mapping."

The project is investor-led and will not be taking federal or state grants for its construction or operations.

Fluor has expertise designing and constructing high-speed train infrastructure, along with a record of accomplishment on large, complex civil construction projects for more than 100 years. Lane has more than 125 years of experience in leading heavy civil construction projects, specializing in highways, bridges, rail, metro and mass transit, airport systems, and power and energy projects.

Texas Central said Fluor and Lane have no equity or ownership stake in the project and will not be involved in land acquisition.

Lane has been involved in extensive mass transit works in the U.S., performing all aspects of work, including design, permitting, quality control, environmental requirements, construction, system integration, and system safety certification.

Lane has worked in Texas since the early 1980s. Its Texas projects include a $300 million design-build joint venture to construct managed lanes on SH 360 from Interstate 20 to US 287 south of Arlington; extending runways and taxiways at Fort Worth Alliance Airport; and reconstructing segments of Interstate 35 in North Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. The signature Brazos River Bridges on I-35 in Waco won the 2014 Engineering Excellence Award. Lane is also a joint venture partner on the $1 billion I-35 Express project from Dallas to Denton.

Lane's parent company, Salini Impregilo, has experience in high-speed trains in Italy with the Bologna-Firenze, Milano Torino, and current Milano-Genova lines, as well as in other countries. They are currently active in the construction of metro systems and railway lines such as the Red Line in Doha (Qatar), one of the largest infrastructure developments in the Middle East; Line 3 of Riyadh’s new metro (Saudi Arabia); and Cityringen, Copenhagen’s new metro (Denmark).

The latest progress on the Texas high-speed train includes preparing environmental assessments, engineering, and other areas. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) continues to work on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will help determine the project timeline and final route.