The first of three Michigan track improvement phases for the 2013 construction season will begin on September 9.
While the projects will cause some delays and modified schedules, the result will be upgraded tracks and more reliable service for Amtrak Wolverine Service trains 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 in November, more than 30 miles of new track and 130,000 new crossties will be installed by crews working 10-hour days.
“Unlike past projects to make needed repairs, this track improvement work is an upgrade to the route owned by the state of Michigan,” said Tim Hoeffner, director of MDOT’s Office of Rail. “Passengers will feel the difference and they and freight shippers will experience even higher reliability across the route.”
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 mph, 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.
This first phase of the project will largely take place east of Jackson Mondays through Thursdays of the coming weeks, with the tracks open for all trains on regular schedules on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.