CHICAGO – Upgrading of approximately ninety-six miles of railroad track, including installation of a quarter-million railroad ties for future high-speed Amtrak trains, will resume May 20.
This work will lead to the substitution of chartered motorcoaches for some Lincoln Service trains and the detour of the Texas Eagle between Chicago and St. Louis.
The temporary changes will allow Union Pacific Railroad crews to improve infrastructure to allow Amtrak service at speeds up to 110 mph, an increase from the current maximum of 79 mph. The Illinois Department of Transportation anticipates operation of some Lincoln Service trains at speeds up to 110 mph next year between Dwight and Pontiac.
The Chicago to St. Louis high-speed rail corridor is among the first high-speed rail projects in the country to begin construction, breaking ground in Brighton (between Alton and Carlinville) last September. Track renewal for this year’s construction season began on April 2, 2011, from Elkhart (between Springfield and Lincoln) and is currently proceeding north. It is scheduled for completion by late summer.