The developers of the Texas Bullet Train named international railway company Renfe as the train’s operating partner.
The Spanish company brings more than 25 years of experience in operating high-speed trains in Europe and other countries.
Renfe operates 5,000 trains daily on 7,500 miles of track, from local commuter routes to high-speed national and international travel, according to a news release issued by Texas Central, the developer of a new high-speed train that will connect North Texas, the Brazos Valley and Houston.
Selection of its operating partner marks a milestone for the Houston-to-North Texas project, said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar.
“Renfe has established a reputation for excellence in railroad operation in Spain and across the world, and we welcome them aboard,” Aguilar said in prepared remarks. “With their decades of expertise, they were a natural fit to join our other partners. Having the operator, the design build and technology teams all on board and able to collaborate will ensure all aspects of the railroad are integrated and efficient.”
Renfe is integral to the transport system in Spain, its home base, handling more than 487 million passengers and 19.6 million tons of freight moved in 2017.
Renfe, in partnership with Adif, which manages Spanish railway infrastructure, was chosen after a highly competitive review of global railroad operating companies, Texas Central said.
Renfe will provide technical advice on the design and construction of the Texas train and assist in the further development of Texas Central’s operation and maintenance plans, preparing the railroad for passenger service. The operator will run the trains; maintain system components such as the engines, signals and other equipment; and oversee ticketing, passenger loyalty programs and other services.
“Today’s announcement is extraordinary news for Texans and for the Spanish railway industry,” Isaías Táboas, president of Renfe, said in a news release. “Texas Central represents a large high-speed train project in a country with high-growth potential, for which the Spanish experience will be of great help.”
The agreement comes a week after Texas Central said it had engaged the multinational firm Salini Impregilo – operating in the U.S. market with The Lane Construction Corp. – to lead the civil construction consortium that will build the passenger line. It will be responsible for all work up to the top of the rail, including viaducts, embankments and drainage.