The Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific are performing the second of three phases of 2013 upgrades to Illinois' Chicago-St. Louis high-speed route, for future 110 mph operation of Amtrak Lincoln Service trains.
The construction work includes the installation of new premium rail with concrete ties and ballast; upgrades to bridges, culverts and drainage; signal and wayside equipment installations and upgrades and grade crossing improvements.
These infrastructure improvements will enable Amtrak to operate service at speeds up to 110 mph in the future, an increase from the current maximum of 79 mph in effect over most of the route.
Starting last Thanksgiving, the Dwight to Pontiac segment became the first part of the corridor to regularly experience trains traveling at speeds up to 110 mph. In the 10 months since October 2012, ridership on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor has increased by nearly 52,000 when compared with the same period a year ago, totaling nearly 627,000 passengers, an increase of nine percent that sets the stage to break the record of 675,295 set last year.