CHICAGO – Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have received federal approval for maximum speeds up to 110 mph for most of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, primarily between the Amtrak stations in Joliet and Alton.
This will help establish shorter schedules for the four Amtrak Lincoln Service round-trips and the Texas Eagle. There are no timetable changes at this time for the 10 daily Amtrak trains on the route.
“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, IDOT Deputy Director, Rails.
Until now, 90 mph has been the maximum authorized speed on the tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad. Amtrak operates Lincoln Service and other trains under a contract with IDOT.
“Amtrak, IDOT and the Illinois Commerce Commission work with Operation Lifesaver, an industry-sponsored campaign that educates persons of all ages on how to stay safe around railroad tracks,” said Justin Meko, Amtrak Vice President, Operational Safety. “Now is a great time for schools, companies, and other groups to schedule safety presentations.”
Volunteers make the presentations and they can be requested by contacting the Illinois coordinator for Operation Lifesaver through the oli.org website.
Motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists should always use caution on this important rail corridor, as our trains are faster than they can appear and are quieter than ever. Only use designated public crossings. Never disregard flashing crossing signals or go around lowered gates or trespass on railroad property. If there is a problem or emergency on or near railroad tracks, the railroad company can be contacted immediately utilizing the telephone number on the blue Emergency Notification Sign located at every crossing. See StayOffTheTracks.org for more.
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.