High Speed Rail in the South Central Region

The Region

The South Central region is anchored by four of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S.: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

Famous for its pivotal role in the fossil-fuel industry, the region has emerged as the national leader in renewable energy. Texas had more clean-power projects in development than any other state in 2021, for example. The South Central U.S. also boasts globally renowned cities like New Orleans; natural wonders like the Ozark Mountains and the Texas Hill Country; and vibrant mid-sized cities like Little Rock, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa, with their low cost of living and high quality of life.

The region’s explosive growth, wide-open spaces, road congestion, and thriving tourist industry have primed it for high-quality train service. Momentum for connecting it with fast, frequent trains is building in several ways.

South Central Region map

State of Development

The Federal Railroad Administration has not yet completed a regional rail plan, but several projects projects are underway.

Texas Central Preferred Map

Texas Central

A private company, Texas Central, has completed much of the preliminary work for a high-speed line connecting Dallas and Houston. Plans call for 18 daily round trips and 200+ mph trains. The run will take about 90 minutes—or two hours less than driving.

I35 Texas study area map

I-35 Corridor

The Federal Railroad Administration has published a study of the Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail corridor, with the goal of creating a long-range passenger-rail strategy. The 850-mile corridor parallels I-35 and extends from Oklahoma City to cities in south Texas. Increasing traffic congestion will reduce average speeds on I-35 between Dallas and San Antonio to 15 mph by 2035, according to projections.

Texrail train set exterior


TexRail began running a regional rail service between downtown Ft. Worth and the Dallas airport in 2019. The line’s Stadler trains, which run at 70 mph, are world-class in terms of comfort, amenities, and noise/emissions reduction. The line runs roughly 30 trips each day, each way. Plans are in the works to extend the service.