The Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific are upgrading Illinois' high-speed route, Chicago-St. Louis, for future high-speed Amtrak trains. The improvements for 110-mph service include 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 roadway-rail grade crossing improvements.
Work has progressed from Alton to north of Springfield and most days it will lead to the substitution of chartered motorcoaches for Amtrak Lincoln Service passengers at St. Louis, Alton, Carlinville, Springfield and Lincoln. The Amtrak Texas Eagle will detour between Chicago and St. Louis for the same period, with alternate transportation in both directions between Joliet and St. Louis.
The temporary changes will allow Union Pacific’s Track Renewal Train crews to improve infrastructure to enable Amtrak service to travel at speeds up to 110 mph, an increase from the current maximum of 79 mph. Illinois DOT and Amtrak are planning to preview higher-speed trains in September 2012 from Dwight to Pontiac.