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Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. will perform design work for a portion of a proposed new passenger-rail route between Chicago and Moline, Ill., under an agreement signed earlier this week, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced.Next month, IDOT will begin making improvements to accommodate service on the BNSF Railway Co. portion of the route, IDOT officials said in a press release.
The agreement permits Iowa Interstate to begin designing the signal system and plan the execution of the track and tie improvements that will accommodate passenger trains on 53 miles of track between Wyanet and Moline.
After the work is completed later this year — and upon agreement between IDOT and the railroad with respect to the project's scope and responsibilities for maintenance and operations expenses for the service — IDOT and Iowa Interstate will determine a construction timeline and start date for service along the entire route between Chicago and Moline, state officials said.
"This agreement is another significant milestone in re-establishing passenger service between two great Illinois cities," said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren.
Construction is scheduled to begin in September at BNSF's Eola Yard in Aurora to facilitate additional passenger trains on the 109 miles between Chicago and Wyanet.
The Chicago-Moline service will be funded in part by a $78 million from the "Illinois Jobs Now!" capital program and $177 million in federal dollars.
The agreement between IDOT and the railroads will return passenger rail to the Quad Cities for the first time since 1979. Service will begin with two daily round-trips, with stops in LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton and Geneseo, which will receive a new $1.7 million station as part of the project, IDOT officials said.