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Track installation begins tomorrow for central Illinois high-speed rail

(The following appeared on The Journal of Commerce website on March 31, 2011.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A major rail corridor project in Illinois gets under way this weekend, as crews begin the biggest upgrade of tracks in a route owned by Union Pacific Railroad so that 110-mph Amtrak passenger trains can run between Chicago and St. Louis.

Amtrak said the work this year will cost $685 million to improve infrastructure on 96 miles of track from the town of Elkhart, Ill., north of Springfield, to Dwight.

Amtrak calls this part of its high-speed rail program, although true high-speed trains move faster than 110 mph and cannot share track with much slower freight trains. The eventual top speed of 110 mph compares with 79 mph today; however, with station stops and other slowdowns average speeds are much lower.

The full story is at www.joc.com.

Friday, April 1, 2011

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