The Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad are performing the second 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 seven days starting September 16, bridge and culvert upgrades south of Bloomington-Normal will lead Amtrak to charter buses for Lincoln Service (Trains 300-307) passengers at St. Louis, Alton, Carlinville, Springfield and Lincoln.
The 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.
In the 10 months since October 2012 (Amtrak Fiscal Year 2013), ridership on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor has increased by nearly 52,000 when compared with the same period-a year ago, totaling nearly 627,000 passengers–an increase of nine percent that sets the stage to break the record of 675,295 set last year.
Totals will be available by mid-October. Temporary road crossing closures due to construction are updated on a nightly basis on the Official Illinois High-Speed Rail Chicago to St. Louis Project.