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On Monday, Texas Central Railroad announced that it has signed a $1.6 billion contract with Kiewit, one of the largest and oldest infrastructure building contractors in North America (privately-held and employee-owned), along with its affiliate Mass Electric, to provide the core electrical systems that will power Texas’s forthcoming high-speed train project joining the cities of Dallas and Houston. The $20 billion project, which has been modeled after a high-speed train system in Japan, will connect the 4th and 5th largest economies in the United States in 90 minutes (with one stop in the Brazos Valley), and is expected to become operational in 2026.

Kiewit and Mass Electric have signed on to provide critical safety and systems elements, including traction power, signaling and communications equipment for the project.

These systems are a key component of the N700S Shinkansen technology being deployed for the Texas Central Railroad, which will use an integrated approach ensuring all parts of construction and operations are married together seamlessly for safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

“Kiewit and Mass. Electric are national leaders in installing complex and large-scale electric systems and have long track records of delivering high-quality rail systems safely and effectively,” said Texas Central Railroad CEO Carlos Aguilar. “Combining their experience with the safety of an integrated system is essential to the operation of the Texas Central Railroad. Signing this contract is the next step in making the Texas Central Railroad the first high-speed rail system to be implemented in the United States.”

Over the past 50-plus years, Kiewit and Mass. Electric have worked on some of the nation’s highest-profile rail transportation systems, including projects in HoustonDallasDenverSeattleMiamiChicagoWashington D.C. and the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

“We commend Texas Central on their commitment to delivering the first high-speed rail system in the United States,” said Mark Williams, Kiewit’s project director at Mass. Electric. “Through their leadership and our extensive rail experience and expertise, we are well-equipped for success.”

Japan model 

Texas Central Railroad’s project aims to replicate the Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system, which is operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JRC). Texas Central chose this system because of its reputation as being one of the safest and most punctual train systems in the world. In its 55-plus year history, JRC 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.

Energy efficiency is a key feature of the N700S Shinkansen: the all-electric train system will feature so-called “regenerative braking,” capturing spent energy and restoring it to the power grid. The train itself can keep moving in the event of a power outage, due to its being equipped with large-capacity lithium-ion batteries.

The project will create an estimated 17,000 direct jobs over six years of construction, over 20,000 supply chain jobs and more than 1,400 direct permanent jobs when the train is fully operational. The Texas Central project will use $7.3 billion of materials from U.S. companies across 37 states.

Over the next 25 years, it is estimated that the project will have a direct cumulative economic impact of $36 billion. As privately-owned infrastructure, Texas Central notes, it will pay taxes to the state, counties, local municipalities, school, hospital and community college districts, with 25 percent concentrated in rural areas.

Texas Central affirmed in Monday’s announcement that Kiewit and MEC work closely with local trades across Texas, including the craftsmen and women in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

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