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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Chicago-St. Louis HSR route testing to begin in fall, IDOT secretary says


On Feb. 27, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Ann Schnieder spoke at an event hosted by the City Club of Chicago, a nonprofit organization that provides a forum for civic and public affairs. Among the topics of discussion: high-speed rail.

IDOT expects to have a segment of the Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail line ready for  testing in fall, Schneider said.

As for those who question the investments being made in such intercity corridors? One need only look at the demand for service in Illinois, Schneider said, adding that during the past five years, ridership on Amtrak trains in Illinois has jumped 85 percent. On the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, ridership has skyrocketed 210 percent.

“Many times, Amtrak trains are sold out, and that’s on old, outdated equipment with spotty reliability and few rider amenities,” Schneider said. “When the Chicago-to-St. Louis route is complete, trains will become more reliable, more convenient and — with the new equipment — will have new amenities leading to an enhanced passenger experience.”

Rising fuel prices will add to the line’s success — and make it even more important to have alternatives to highway travel, Schneider added.

“We have to think beyond our roadways to provide viable and economical transportation alternatives,” she said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/2/2012