Leave it to the state of Illinois to mess up something Wisconsin wants to accomplish.
Actually, the two states are trying to work together to expand Amtrak’s Milwaukee-to-Chicago route, called the Hiawatha line. Wisconsin has $35 million in its 2019-2021 budget to increase the Hiawatha line up to 10 round trips a day.
Canadian Pacific, however, will not allow the increase to happen on its tracks until improvements are made, and two of the projects vital to the upgrade have been cancelled in Illinois. Wisconsin is hopeful the two states will work together towards a resolution, but officials there believe eight or nine trips can still be made every day. CP says the deleted plans in Glenview and Lake Forest, Ill., are necessary, and the Class 1 refuses to support any additional Hiawatha trips.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation believes the route between Chicago and Milwaukee is vital to the region’s economy, and because it will take a few years to land federal funding there still is time to work on alternative plans.
Two projects in Wisconsin already have funding, and a third project deals with the Menomonee Valley’s Muskego Yard. There, freight trains will be able to bypass the downtown Milwaukee station.
For the latest news, go to www.rtands.com.