With the recent release of the FRA’s Alternatives Analysis, Texas Central has taken a giant step toward a system design which might just be constructed.
Notably, both Downtown Houston alignment options have been deleted, in favor of a station at the Northwest Mall. Wealthy inner-ring homeowners are the biggest thorn in the side of any high speed rail project, and TCR’s decision to avoid their ‘hoods entirely removes standing from perhaps half of the folks who’d be likely to sue.
Spatially, a station at Northwest Mall (or one of the adjacent properties, such as Tex-Tube) is similar to Tokyo’s Shinagawa, as well as any number of European terminii. It’s also closer to the centroid of white collar employment in Houston, for which Downtown is the easternmost outpost.