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Midwest high-speed rail association proposes 220 mph Chicago-to-St. Louis trains


Operating 220 mph trains between Chicago and St. Louis is feasible and economically viable, according to a study issued yesterday by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association.

Conducted by transportation planning firm TranSystems, the study proposes operating the high-speed trains on a corridor serving Kankakee, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur and Springfield, Ill., complementing 110 mph train service already proposed in other parts of Illinois and the Midwest. Trains could make the trip between Chicago and St. Louis in a little more than two hours.  

The current Amtrak service operated along the same right of way is limited to 79 mph, but the terrain and trajectories allow for higher speeds, the association said.
The association is urging the state of Illinois to request $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars to conduct a detailed alternatives analysis and environmental study for the Chicago-to-St. Louis route. Any planning and construction funds should be allocated in addition to monies already planned for improvements to upgrade lines to 110 mph along several corridors throughout the country, the association said.

It would cost about $12 billion to upgrade the corridor to handle 220 mph trains, according to the study.