Impression of Texas Central high speed line between Dallas and Houston.

USA: Spanish national operator RENFE has signed a contract to act as early operator of the Texas Central high speed line between Dallas and Houston.

RENFE was already acting as shadow operator for project promoter Texas Central. Under the early operator agreement, it will provide expertise for the design and development of the commercial aspects of the project. It will also provide advisory and consulting services covering final design, implementation, construction, testing and commissioning of civil works, stations, buildings and core systems as well as advising on operations and maintenance technology, plans and processes.

‘RENFE has an established reputation for excellence in railroad operations in Spain and across the world’, said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar on July 14. ‘With their decades of expertise, they were a natural fit to join our team of best-in-class global experts setting the foundation for this new jobs-creating industry we are bringing to Texas.’

As well as being the incumbent operator in Spain, RENFE was part of the Spanish-led Al-Shoula consortium which developed Saudi Arabia’s 450 km Haramain High Speed Rail line, and it now operates the Makkah – Jeddah – Madinah services under contract.

Isaías Táboas, President of RENFE Operadora, said the company was ‘proud to contribute its unique international high speed experience’ to the Texas Central project, ‘as we are the only operator in the world that has participated in designing, developing, operating and maintaining a high speed train system outside of its home country’.

Texas Central said the signing of the latest contract means it can now fully focus on the final due diligence and secure permanent financing for the project, which will be based on Central Japan Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen. Construction is expected to take six years.