As part of a four-day GE Works event with discussions centered around manufacturing, innovation and jobs, GE Transportation, Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) celebrated the operation of Amtrak trains at 110 mph on 97 miles of Amtrak-owned line between Kalamazoo, Mich., and Porter, Ind. The new service will reduce the travel time on Amtrak's owned section of track on the Wolverine and Blue Water service by approximately 20 minutes.
“This is the first expansion of regional high speed rail outside the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman when Amtrak announced the FRA decision. “With our partners in Michigan, we will extend this 110 mph service from Kalamazoo to the state’s central and eastern regions in the coming years.”
Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation are partnering with GE Transportation to use the company’s Incremental Train Control System technology for similar plans on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor where federal regulations also require the high-speed rail train control safety technology.
Lorenzo Simonelli, president and CEO of GE Transportation, said, “GE Transportation has had a long partnership with Amtrak, and we are proud of the accomplishments we’ve had with this project and have finally achieved the approvals for 110 mph service. We look forward to deploying this technology further to ensure safe, reliable high-speed service. GE Transportation is committed to providing the latest technology and products to high speed rail programs worldwide as an essential part of sustainable infrastructure growth for many years to come.”
The Amtrak 110 mph expansion service in western Michigan was a project that GE Transportation together with Amtrak, MDOT and FRA implemented beginning in 1995, and after successfully reaching milestones of 90 mph in 2002 and 95 mph in 2005, is now complete and successfully operating at 110 mph. Amtrak will operate eight daily passenger trains at 110 mph; three Norfolk Southern freight trains also operate through this section of track under ITCS control.