High-speed trains in Illinois
5:38 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Work on high-speed rail continues in Illinois

State and federal officials held a meeting in Alton Thursday on plans to upgrade train tracks between St. Louis and Chicago to allow for high-speed service.

Work is already underway to improve tracks and road crossings in Illinois to allow for higher-speed trains three times per day. But Mike Garcia with the Illinois Department of Transportation says officials want to be able offer more service through their partner, Amtrak.

"Our goal is to actually get up to eight high-speed rail round trips from Chicago to St. Louis and one long-distance. That would be the Texas Eagle that currently runs. That would always stay at 79 miles an hour. That particular train would never go faster than 79," Garcia said.

As part of the effort to increase the number of high-speed trains, IDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration are trying to finalize routes between St. Louis and Alton; in Springfield; and between Joliet and Chicago.

Garcia says IDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration will hold more hearings on the preferred alternatives for the St. Louis to Chicago route next year.