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Higher-speed rail inching toward reality in Midwest


Observers in southwestern Michigan might notice two Amtrak trains moving a bit faster since Jan. 7 — and inching the idea of high-speed rail in the Midwest a little bit closer to reality.

With Federal Railroad Administration waiver in hand, Amtrak bumped the speed of train 351-07 from 79 mph to 90 mph between mileposts 150 and CP-190 for the first increased speed run in revenue service using Incremental Train Control System (ITCS) signaling, according to a release prepared by Midwest High Speed Rail Coalition.

The system, developed by GE Transportation Systems - Global Signaling, overlays the Amtrak-owned line’s existing centralized traffic control system. Wayside equipment, a compact locomotive display and a personal computer located in Michigan City Drawbridge operator’s tower in Michigan City, Ind., triangulate equipped trains’ positions with the help of six satellites using a differential global positioning system.

Amtrak runs eight trains on the route daily, although only 351-07 and 364-07 will operate at the higher speed for the near-term. Norfolk Southern Railway runs two trains, three days a week under a trackage agreement.

As soon as FRA, Amtrak and NS are comfortable with the technology’s performance at 90 mph, Amtrak plans to boost speeds to 100 mph.

For more information on ITCS and other U.S. train control projects under way, please see "Variations on a theme" in Progressive Railroading’s December 2001 issue.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/9/2002