On Saturday, work crews began installing 96 miles of rail and 250,000 ties for a future high-speed rail line in central Illinois as part of the construction of Amtrak's Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor.
The work will require temporary schedule changes for some Lincoln Service trains for several weeks, and a detour of the Texas Eagle between Chicago and St. Louis, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement. The temporary changes will enable Union Pacific Railroad to improve infrastructure to prepare track for Amtrak service that will travel at speeds of up to 110 mph vs. the current maximum of 79 mph.
The Illinois Department of Transportation expects the Dwight-to-Pontiac, Ill., track segment to be ready for faster service in 2012.
The Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor is among the first U.S. high-speed rail projects to begin construction. Last week, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and railroad industry representatives announced that construction would begin. About $685 million worth of construction work is expected to be completed this year, according to Amtrak.
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