A couple of possibilities for Houston-terminal hyperloop tracks have made the latest cut in Hyperloop One’s global design your own economically feasible route contest. The company, one of a couple firms working to bring Elon Musk’s ultra-quick travel-by-tube-suction concept out of literal pipedream territory, will eventually pick a handful of winning teams to give a technological and financial boost. The Texas-centric network shown above would connect Houston, Austin, Laredo, San Antonio, and Dallas, apparently with special stops for DFW and the Ship Channel. (A direct Dallas-Houston leg wouldn’t be high priority, in case the bullet train actually happens, according to designer Stephen Duong). The other Texas-inclusive route that made the cut, going by the name Rocky Mountain Corridor, would connect the Bayou City to Cheyenne, WY, by way of Denver and Amarillo:
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The company planning to build a bullet-train linkup between Dallas and Houston today identified its preferred route for the hour-and-a-half journey. The alignment, which the Texas Central Railway calls the Utility Corridor because it makes use electrical utility right-of-ways in Harris, Waller, and nearby counties, roughly follows south of Hwy. 290 once it enters Harris County, along the BNSF tracks parallel to Hempstead Rd. It would head into Downtown along the Union Pacific tracks paralleling Washington Ave. In the map above, the route is shown in gold (the line in red shows the second-choice route, along a different BNSF right-of-way).
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COMMENT OF THE DAY: RAILROADED “Southern Pacific (not Union Pacific, as one writer claimed), demolished this station in 1959. Critics may blame Houstonians for failing to rally and save the building, but the fact is that the modern architectural preservation movement didn’t start until the early 1970s, and even my architecturally hip home town of Chicago let some classic beauties like Louis Sullivan’s Stock Exchange slip away before public sentiment for preservation began to build. The first downtown railroad-station preservation-restoration project did not take place until 1973, when the Southern Railway’s vacant Terminal Station in Chattanooga was transformed into a restaurant and hotel complex.
If anybody has any photos of the interior of the SP station in Houston I would like to examine them for a book I’m writing about what happened to each of the big downtown stations in North America. SP’s Houston Station was designed by Texas’s most celebrated architect, Wyatt C. Hedrick, who also designed the Shamrock Hotel, the T&P station in Fort Worth, and dozens of admired hotels, factories and commercial buildings. Photos of his T&P station are all over the Internet but SP demolished his Houston station before anyone had a chance to make any good photos.” [F.K. Plous, commenting on The Secret Train Station Hidden Downtown] Illustration: Lulu
THE SECRET TRAIN STATION HIDDEN DOWNTOWN “See, everyone in Houston thinks that our old train station was over by Enron Field (this blog does not recognize Minute Maid’s sponsorship deal) and that it’s been preserved as part of the ballpark. But actually, we had TWO stations – the Southern Pacific had their own, seperate from the Astros station, a mission/art deco fusion with beautiful murals on the walls and great big arched windows. Pictures of the place . . . are few and far between, but the ones I’ve seen show something that rivals LA Union Terminal or [Philadelphia’s 30th St. Station.] That station was torn down to make way for the Barbara Jordan [Post Office], except that ONLY THE WAITING ROOM WAS TORN DOWN. The whole mess of platforms and switchtracks that goes along with an art deco station building is still there, behind the post office, rusted and overgrown but still in existence as a huge chunk of UP-owned real estate.” [Keep Houston Houston]