February 14, 2001 Stressing the importance of its intercity passenger rail service in Michigan, Amtrak said it will perform a high-speed rail improvement study that will focus on determining what infrastructure upgrades are needed to provide 110 mph train service on the Norfolk Southern-owned rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Detroit.
"Amtrak believes 110 mph
train service across Michigan is critical for the future and we’re committed to
understanding what it will take to get there," said President and CEO Joseph
Boardman, noting that Amtrak’s Wolverine service provides three daily
roundtrips between Chicago and Pontiac via Detroit over the corridor.
Boardman explained that
Amtrak trains currently operate at 79 mph over the Norfolk Southern line
between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, just west of Detroit. Amtrak will pay for and
perform the high-speed improvement study with the assistance of Norfolk
Southern and intends to complete its review by the end of May.
The study will examine
all infrastructure needs and costs required to allow for 110 mph train service
along the corridor including any upgrade of tracks, bridges, signal systems,
highway-rail grade crossing warning devices and stations as well as analyze
freight and passenger train operations. Importantly, the information gathered
can support applications for future rounds of funding from federal intercity
and high-speed rail capital improvement grant programs.
In addition, Boardman
said Amtrak owns the rail line west of Kalamazoo to Porter, Ind., and recently
increased speeds from 79 mph to 95 mph and is on target to further increase
speeds to 110 mph by mid-2010. Two of the three Amtrak routes serving Michigan-Wolverine
(Chicago-Pontiac) and Blue Water (Chicago-Port Huron)-operate over this section
of track and each will soon reach 110 mph.