A new 110mph service in Illinois has been launched, marking the first step in the creation of a high-speed network in the U.S. state.
“This next generation rail system gives passengers a safer, more reliable way to travel across Illinois and connect with family this holiday season,” said Governor Pat Quinn.
The new service will run along a 15-mile section between Dwight and Pontiac on the Chicago-St. Louis line.
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said: “We are extremely proud to introduce 110 mile per hour rail service to Illinois Amtrak passengers for the very first time, and look forward to continual progress in bringing enhanced services to riders along the corridor.”
“Regular operations at 110 mph for six daily Amtrak Lincoln Service trains are a major milestone in the development of our Chicago Hub network,” said Amtrak president Joe Boardman.
“Combined with our high-speed trains in Michigan, this means Amtrak now has a total of 14 daily trains to and from Chicago that operate at 110 mph.”
The 110 mph service is projected to be in place along nearly 75 per cent of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor by 2015, reducing travel time by more than an hour.
Today’s announcement follows the awarding of a $352 million multi-state procurement contract to design, build and deliver 130 bi-level passenger railcars for use in California and the Midwest, including the Chicago to St. Louis corridor.
The contract will now allow Rochelle, Illinois-based vendor Nippon-Sharyo/Sumitomo Corporation of America to move forward as the builder of the railcars, the first of which are slated for delivery in fall 2015.