The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today named Illinois’ Department of Transportation the leader of a multi-state effort to advance high-speed rail. Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington will use $808 million from the FRA to build 35 new diesel locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars. California led the group last year, in which 130 bi-level rail cars were procured for high-speed service.
“Our goal is to offer 110-mile-per-hour service on at least 75 percent of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor—the segment from Dwight to Alton—by the end of 2015,” Illinois Secretary of Transportation Ann L. Schneider said in a statement, “and these locomotives are the key to achieving that goal.”
A test run on a portion of that track last fall set a regional record for high-speed rail at 111 mph. Full service at that speed between Dwight and Joliet is expected in 2017.
Illinois is also working with Michigan to provide 110-mph service from Chicago to Detroit. The trip would take roughly three hours at that speed.