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10/22/2014



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Work begins on BNSF Eola Yard for Chicago-Moline passenger service


Construction has begun on a new passenger-rail route between Chicago and Moline, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced yesterday.

The $23 million effort underway at the BNSF Railway Co.'s Eola Yard in Aurora, Ill., consists of track, grading and drainage improvements, as well as signal and capacity upgrades. The work is necessary to accommodate the additional trains that are expected to use the yard daily after the Chicago-Moline passenger service begins, according to an IDOT press release.

"This project marks the start of better transportation between these two vital areas of the state," Quinn said. "Passenger rail is creating jobs and opening new economic development opportunities across Illinois, and will help travelers get to their destinations quickly and efficiently for years to come."

Funded by federal and state dollars, the Eola Yard project will facilitate additional passenger trains on the 109-mile stretch between Chicago and Wyanet, and help improve operational efficiencies for existing service between Chicago and Quincy. Work is expected to be completed during summer 2015.

"[We're] pleased to be partnering with the state of Illinois on this important project," said D.J. Mitchell, BNSF's assistant vice president of passenger operations safety and technical training. “We look forward to working with state and federal officials to complete this segment of the Chicago-Quad Cities Passenger Rail program."

Earlier this year, the state reached an agreement with Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS) to begin designing the signal system, as well as the track and tie improvements, to permit passenger trains on the 53 miles from Wyanet to Moline. Once that process is completed later this year, IDOT can begin finalizing an additional agreement with IAIS that spells out maintenance and operations responsibilities, as well as a construction timeline, department officials said.





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