DALLAS - Union Station celebrated a century of train transit in downtown Dallas on Monday, but a new high-speed rail project won’t be part of its future.
The company planning to build and operate the bullet train says the 100-year-old transportation hub is simply not big enough to accommodate the new trains and the current trains that use the station.
Union Station opened in 1916 and the 5-acre site was home to the 10 railroad tracks operating at the time. It now serves as a terminal for Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail, the Trinity Railway Express and Amtrak.
The bullet train being planned to run from Dallas to Houston will go 200 miles an hour, making the commute between the center of the two cities a mere 90 minutes.
“We'd love to see more volume of rail through this area, but the mix of interests, with rights of freight and DART railroad make it very difficult to come all the way in,” said Tim Kieth, Texas Central Partners.
The most likely place for the bullet train station is on land behind the convention center on the edge of downtown Dallas.
Ambassador and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk is now the senior advisor with the bullet train developer. He said somehow the company will have to quickly get passengers from the bullet train station to Union Station.
"But however we resolve it, if someone takes a bullet train from Houston to Dallas and wants to jump on a train here, we're going to have a way to get them from our terminal to here,” Kirk said.
The developer is not asking taxpayers for any public money for the bullet train project.
"This will be the hub between light rail, trollies, the TRE, high-speed rail, right in this area," Mayor Mike Rawlings said.
As part of the 100-year celebration, the station also got a name change. It will now be called the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station, in honor of the longtime member of Congress from Dallas.