Final phase of upgrades for higher speed trains between STL and CHI

ap-amtrak-ridership-4_3_r536_c534The Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad are performing the last of three phases of 2013 upgrades to Illinois’ signature high-speed route, Chicago-St. Louis, for future 110 mph operation of Amtrak Lincoln Service trains.

The construction work includes the installation of new premium rail with concrete ties and stone ballast; upgrades to bridges, culverts and drainage; signal and wayside equipment installations and upgrades; and roadway-rail grade crossing improvements.

For five days starting Oct. 16, track improvement work south of Normal and bridge and culvert upgrades south of Springfield will lead Amtrak to charter buses for  Lincoln Service (Trains 300-307) passengers at St. Louis, Alton and Carlinville, Springfield and Lincoln.   On Oct. 21, 22 & 23, Lincoln Service trains will originate and terminate in Springfield, instead of St. Louis, and Amtrak will continue to charter buses for passengers at St. Louis, Alton and Carlinville.

The Amtrak  Texas Eagle (Trains 21/321/421 & 22/322/422) will detour between Chicago and St. Louis for the entire period, Oct. 16-23, with alternate transportation in both directions between Joliet and St. Louis.

These infrastructure improvements will enable Amtrak to operate service at speeds up to 110 mph in the future, an increase from the current maximum of 79 mph in effect over most of the route. Starting last Thanksgiving, the Dwight to Pontiac segment became the first part of the corridor to regularly experience trains traveling at speeds up to 110 mph.