Carlos Aguilar, President and CEO of Texas Central Railway, confirmed to Texas Rail Advocates today that the railroad has signed a $16 billion construction contract with Webuild of Italy and their U.S. partner Lane Construction. The agreement with Webuild/Lane clears a path for Texas Central to complete their financial closure in the coming months and begin construction on a 240 mile long high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.
In 2019, Texas Central announced a provisional $14 billion contract with Salini Impreglio, now renamed Webuild. The value of the project has increased by some $2 billion since the first announcement. The high-speed rail build-out is expected to create around 17,000 direct jobs and about another 20,000 indirectly.
“Our goal is to put together a team of the best players in the world from each industry needed to bring this project to life. The addition of Webuild helps us accomplish that goal,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central. “Webuild has 115 years of experience designing and building some of the worlds’ best-known projects and we are proud to have them as a leader on this historic project.”
Once built, Texas Central will operate trains with a journey time of 90 minutes from Dallas to Houston, with a single stop in the Brazos Valley. Trains are planned to run with 30 minute headways during peak times and are expected to serve 13 million passengers a year by 2050.
Over the next 25 years, Texas Central said the project will have a direct cumulative economic impact of $36 billion. The bullet train project will require construction materials from U.S. companies across 37 states as well as oversight from Italian suppliers. Massive amount of steel and concrete will be used to elevate the railway and reduce the impact on landowners and residents.
The contract culminates four years of analysis and work from Webuild and Lane that now takes the project to an advanced design stage. The company, one of the largest civil engineering contractors in the world, will oversee civil engineering works that includes the design and construction of the rail line, including depots, industrial buildings, viaducts and other required infrastructure.
“We are truly honored to have been chosen by Texas Central, that relies on our worldwide expertise to bring sustainable mobility to the country with the first true ‘end-to-end’ high-speed railway,” said Pietro Salini, CEO of the Webuild Group. “Being part of such a challenging project as leader of the design and construction of the railway is a unique experience that we are extremely proud of. This is a wonderful opportunity to further focus our presence in the US, our biggest single market, together with Lane, the company building first class transport infrastructure for the country for the past 130 years.” Webuild is active in more than 50 countries on five continents, with experience building 8,500 miles of railway and metro infrastructure around the world – in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Americas. It has built many high-speed train projects in Europe, and some iconic, complex projects in the wider transport sector, including the expansion of the Panama Canal, the Grand Paris Express and the Anacostia River and Northeast Boundary tunnels in Washington, D.C. The company has worked in the U.S. since the 1980s and expanded its presence in 2016, merging with The Lane Construction Corporation, a U.S.-based company with almost 130 years of experience in infrastructure work. The system Texas Central Railroad proposes to build in Texas will replicate the proven Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system, as operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JRC). Texas Central said they chose this system because it is one of the safest and most punctual train systems in the world. In its 55+ year history, it has transported over 10 billion passengers with an impeccable safety record of zero operational passenger fatalities and zero accidents since first deployed. This technology reliably moves more than 400,000 passengers every day.
Texas Central has initiated a Business and Workforce Opportunity Program to offer bidding opportunities for small, rural, and minority-, woman-, veteran- and disabled individual-owned businesses to participate in building and operating the Texas high-speed train.
In May, Texas Central signed a $1.6 billion contract with Kiewit Infrastructure South and affiliate Mass. Electric Construction to install the core electrical systems for the high speed rail line to be built between Dallas and Houston. It includes critical safety and systems elements like traction power, signaling and communications equipment to enable the trains to operate safely and ensure the tracks and operators communicate with one another and with network operations.