By Railfan & Railroad Staff
Amtrak trains between Chicago and St. Louis will be able to travel upwards of 110 miles per hour thanks to track improvements on Union Pacific, the passenger railroad announced this week. Presently, Amtrak trains have only been allowed to go 90 miles per hour on UP-owned track there.
The higher speeds will help establish shorter schedules for the four Amtrak Lincoln Service round-trips and the Texas Eagle. However, there will be no immediate changes to the schedule. “Trains will continue to operate at 110 mph for several weeks without a change in schedule to ensure everything on the system is running properly and to monitor the actual travel time between stations,” said John Oimoen, Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Director, Rails.
The trains will primarily hit 110 mph between Joliet and Alton. Due to the increased speeds, Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation are working with Operation Lifesaver to encourage people to always be safe around rail lines. Special equipment, installed as part of IDOT’s Chicago to St. Louis High-Speed Rail Project, monitors the trains and traffic control systems, alerting the train crews of any potential problems. Additional warning signs and fencing have also been installed in select areas to encourage safety and deter trespassing.