The Houston-Galveston corridor is one of the busiest in terms of rush hour traffic as people living in Houston commute everyday along I-45 to their jobs in the oil and gas industry on the coast. But hope arises for reducing the growth in number of vehicles on this already-congested stretch of roadway with the proposal for reviving commuter train service. Best of all, there would no need to lay down new rail lines since it would operate on the historic railroad that currently hosts freight traffic. Although freight traffic would be given preference or if possible siding tracks would be built to accommodate waiting trains, this is a realistic proposal with a greater chance of success in a region that is usually averse to any kind of public transit. The light rail project currently operating between the Medical Center and Downtown Houston is a joke and is often used as a failed strategy by anti-transit proponents. To be fair, the light rail project was doomed from the start and never implemented correctly.
Another use of this railway would be to serve as alternative for evacuation in the hurricane-vulnerable region of Galveston and it would cost far less than light rail or even expanding the Gulf Freeway. “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” [Houston Chronicle]. The horse-drawn carriages apart, the stops can be effective transportation hubs and point for renewed development of businesses and residences.
I am hopeful that this seemingly feasible solution would appeal to all Houstonians especially those who are enmeshed in everyday rush hour.