For some time I've had the idea of a privately owned (probably a co-op structure) rail based public transit system, in the Georgetown-Austin-San-Antonio area. This transit corridor has been debated by statists on what should be the perfect system, so it may sound familiar. The main differences in this idea are, first, this would be operated as a private co-op, not the state; second, it would utilize existing rail stock.
Where it takes state based groups, e.g. CapMetro, years to implement a roll out of new projects, a co-op based structure should allow for quicker resolution of items since decision process is only influenced by the members of the co-op. Since membership of the co-op is voluntary, members will have a stronger motive to think for what is best from the perspective of the vision of the co-op. The pandering and corruption of typical state administration of decisions are being influenced by lobbyists on the politicians, and ego motivation by scores more bureaucrats in the various agencies.
The restraint of keeping within a budget and a desire to increase profits for the re-investment into the co-op. Utilizing existing rail stock such as using common freight diesel-electric locomotives and generic passenger rail cars, initial investment costs could be dramatically resduced. Here is link to used locomotives and here's one to used passenger cars. It would seem that a capital investment of $1-2 million for rail stock should suffice to get a pair of locomotives and 4 passengers with restoration, to get at least a single run line. This would get the rail line running quickly and have a ready supply of replacement parts. The cost of a stop on the line could be between $50,000-150,000. The rail line would run along existing rail lines, those currently in service (owned by Union Pacific and Georgetown Rail Road), and those dormant (currently owned by CapMetro) or considered abandoned. Here is a link to a PDF from Texas Department of Transportation of existing rail lines. Other maps can be found here. An interactive map can be found here that is provided by the State of Texas. Lastly, using any of the free map and/or satellite sites. Here's one I'm working on:
View Co-Op Owned Rail lines in Austin, potential in a larger map
This so far is by no means a comprehensive business plan, but there does seem like it could be feasible in some sense.