The developers of Texas' high-speed train have struck a deal with Amtrak that will allowing passengers to use Amtrak's reservation system to buy tickets.
Texas Central will also offer a convenient transfer service connecting riders between Amtrak passenger stations and the high-speed train stations in Dallas and Houston.
Amtrak has not offered service between Dallas and Houston since 1995, when a leg of the Chicago-to-San Antonio/Los Angeles Texas Eagle route was discontinued.
Texas Central will provide service to this market, including Texas A&M University, with a passenger stop serving Bryan-College Station and Huntsville in the Brazos Valley.
This deal will make ticket-buying and trip-scheduling easier for travelers, for both Amtrak and Texas Central customers.
In a release, Texas Central Tim Keith says they've been seeking opportunities like this to attract and serve passengers on their 200-mph North Texas-to-Houston line.
"This agreement is another important step in the progress of the Texas Bullet Train," Keith says. "It gives both local and interstate travelers more options and ease of travel not previously available by intercity passenger trains in Texas."
Amtrak VP Stephen Gardner says that the deal will fill one of Amtrak's biggest gaps, namely North Texas and Houston.
"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," Gardner says. "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."
Under the joint agreement, Texas Central and Amtrak will facilitate the ability of interstate and intrastate train passengers to travel between points on the Texas Central line and throughout Amtrak’s national network. The coordination includes:
- Through ticketing, an option that will allow Amtrak passengers to use its reservation system to buy Texas Central tickets.
- A Texas Central-provided transfer service, connecting passengers between Amtrak stations and the high-speed train terminals in Houston and Dallas.
- Potential coordination of frequent travel programs.
- Texas Central’s purchase of services from Amtrak, such as training, marketing, and sales.
The Federal Railroad Administration is still working on a final environmental study of the train's 240-mile route. It already issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on December 15 which said that 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.