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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Illinois to head multi-state procurement of high-speed locomotives

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has selected Illinois to lead a multi-state procurement of next-generation locomotives for high-speed rail service, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced yesterday.

With consent from partnering states, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will lead the effort to procure at least 35 next-generation diesel locomotives for high-speed passenger trains on behalf of the states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington, Quinn administration officials said in a prepared statement.

"This important multi-state procurement is key to success for high-speed rail throughout the nation, and I have directed my administration to move forward quickly," said Quinn.

The FRA allocated $808 million to build the next generation of high-speed passenger-rail equipment, including 35 new locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars. IDOT will manage and oversee the procurement, involve the other states in planning and implementing the procurement process, develop a detailed project plan, and coordinate the review of the procurement among the states and FRA, Illinois officials said.

"Our goal is to offer 110-mile-per-hour service on at least 75 percent of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor — the segment from Dwight to Alton — by the end of 2015, and these locomotives are the key to achieving that goal," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

In 2012, IDOT was part of a multi-state procurement of the 130 next-generation bi-level cars, an effort led by California. That procurement resulted in the selection of Nippon-Sharyo, which is building the cars at its plant in Rochelle, Ill, including the 898 cars to be used on Midwest high-speed corridors.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/22/2013