January 29, 2007
Talking about taking the train to Galveston

Texas' oldest rail line may ride again soon.

The group of consultants, engineers and planners envisions a train running from an as-yet-undecided station in Houston at 59 mph along the 140-year-old Galveston, Houston & Henderson Railroad, said consultant Barry Goodman, Goodman Corp. president.

The passenger line would make four to six stops before arriving at the Galveston Railroad Museum, housed in the former Galveston passenger terminal. Debarking passengers would exit through the museum to board a trolly, electric bus, horse-drawn carriage or cruiseship shuttle.

Goodman, whose company is leading the study, said Galveston plans to build a transportation hub next to the railroad museum to allow connections with buses and taxis.

The passenger line might be built in two stages, the first running from League City to Galveston and later extending to Houston, [study-group member John Bertini, chairman of the Galveston Railroad Museum board,] said.

"For the leadership of the region to ignore the possibility to rebuild a rail corridor that has been there 100 years, that can be done at a fraction of the cost of building highway capacity and would reduce pollution ... it would be irresponsible for that opportunity to be ignored," Goodman said.

The Houston-Galveston corridor is better suited for passenger rail than other routes because it has heavy traffic in both directions morning and evening, Bertini said. Other routes have heavy traffic in one direction in the morning and the opposite direction in the evening, he said.

Unlike other traffic corridors, the Houston-Galveston route is heavily traveled on weekends as well because Galveston is a prime tourist destination for Houstonians, he said.

We've talked about such a rail line and how it could benefit the tourist industry of the Houston-Galveston area before. I still think it's a good idea (so does John), and I'm glad to see that it has political support. The fact that it would be cheaper than expanding I-45 just sweetens things. I hope the planners can come up with a viable design. We'll see.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 29, 2007 to The great state of Texas

Where are the four-to-six stops? Inquiring minds in Clear Lake want to know.

Posted by: Justin on January 29, 2007 12:51 PM

This is the same train that went out of business about a decade ago from lack of riders. What's different now that will make it work?

Posted by: Bob on January 29, 2007 9:15 PM