The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is expected to seek proposals in mid-July to build high-speed locomotives for passenger-rail service in several states, Gov. Pat Quinn announced yesterday.
IDOT has made "significant progress" in preparing the request for proposals for 35 high-performance diesel-electric locomotives for Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa in the Midwest, and for Washington and California on the West Coast, Quinn said in a press release.
In March, Quinn announced the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recommended that IDOT lead the procurement process.
The locomotives are expected to meet standards developed by the Next Generation Equipment Committee, a team of government and rail industry experts.
Last year, IDOT was involved in a multi-state procurement of 130 next-generation bi-level cars for high-speed service, an effort led by California. The procurement resulted in the selection of Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo, which is building the cars at its plant in Rochelle, Ill. The FRA has allocated $808 million to manufacture the bi-level cars.
Illinois debuted 110-mph service on a 15-mile segment of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor from Dwight to Pontiac, Ill., in November 2012. IDOT is working with railroads and the FRA to ensure that positive train control requirements and all needed track and crossing improvements are completed in order to expand 110-mph service in the years ahead.
In December, the FRA issued a record-of-decision on the entire Chicago-St. Louis corridor, which allowed Illinois to begin in-depth corridor segment studies and specific project studies to advance toward high-speed service on the other 25 percent of the corridor as soon as possible, including segments from Joliet to Chicago, and from Alton, Ill., to St. Louis.
The Dwight-to-Joliet segment is under development and expected to launch 110-mph service in 2017.
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