The last of three Michigan track improvement phases for the 2013 construction season begins between Jackson and Kalamazoo on October 14. While the project will cause some delays and modified schedules, the result will be upgraded tracks and more reliable service as part of the Accelerated Rail Program being carried out by Amtrak for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
When all 2013 phases of the project are complete next month, more than 30 miles of new track and 130,000 new crossties will be installed by crews working 10-hour days.
“This is the largest phase of the 2013 work,” said Al Johnson, MDOT rail operations manager. “It provides great benefits from more reliable track conditions and eliminates the need for similar track disruptions next year between Dearborn and Kalamazoo.”
MDOT is leading a three-state effort to improve the 300-mile corridor from Pontiac and Detroit across Michigan, through northwest Indiana and to Chicago. The result of these and future infrastructure improvements will allow Amtrak trains in mid-Michigan to operate at speeds up to 110 miles per hour, as they do now for 80 miles in southwestern Michigan and part of Indiana.
A goal of the project is to reduce the end-to-end travel time between Detroit/Pontiac and Chicago by approximately two hours from the current 6 hours and 30 minutes.