The Federal Railroad Administration recently announced the states of Iowa and Illinois can start up a new passenger-rail service between Chicago and Iowa City, Iowa. To be provided by Amtrak and Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS), the service will feature two trains daily operating at speeds up to 79 mph.
Based on preliminary estimates, the service could start in early 2013 after the completion of engineering, trackwork and signalization, and acquisition of new equipment, IAIS officials said in a prepared statement.
“Iowa Interstate Railroad personnel have spent many hours working with local community leaders, the states of Iowa and Illinois, and Amtrak to make sure that if this service was approved, we could handle it in conjunction with our existing and growing freight business,” said IAIS President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Miller. “We feel confident that our company can accommodate these extra trains in a safe manner and allow for them to operate on time and without delay.”
The return of passenger-rail service to a formerly abandoned IAIS line “vindicates the judgment, tenacity and vision of our stakeholders" during the few years, said IAIS Chairman Henry Posner III.
“It was not so long ago that we were considered excess capacity in the downward spiral of the age of regulation: The lesson here is that a healthy freight network is the single most important building block for passenger service,” he said.
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