This Page Will Be Updated March 2013
Chicago-St. Louis 220-mph
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association has proposed linking Chicago and St. Louis in less than two hours via 220-mph bullet trains. True High Speed Rail is a part of Governor Quinn’s vision for Illinois. A feasibility study on connecting Chicago/O’Hare with St. Louis and/or Indianapolis via Champaign/Urbana will be complete in September 2012. Click here to learn more.
Chicago-St. Louis 110-mph
Illinois won a $1.1 billion ARRA grant to replace 183 miles of track. Three of Amtrak’s five Chicago-St. Louis trains will travel at 110-mph in this section when the work is completed, reducing travel times by at least 45 minutes. Upgrading track to FRA Class VI with new rail and concrete ties has been completed between Dwight and Alton (183 miles). Further upgrades between Dwight and Joliet (37 miles) will begin this summer.
This summer, Amtrak will begin testing trains at 110 mph along this route in preparation for extended high-speed service. Trains should be consistently running at this speed for the entire route within the next four to five years, with a total of eight trains between Chicago and St. Louis each day.Click here to learn more.
The Englewood Flyover project is a part of Chicago’s CREATE program. The project received $133 million in federal funding through ARRA. The Flyover is designed to eliminate a major bottleneck in Southern Chicago created by the convergence of Metra’s Rock Island District line, Norfolk Southern freights, and Amtrak trains headed towards Michigan and the East Coast. The Rock Island line will be diverted to an overpass to lower delays and raise capacity. More on the Englewood Flyover and CREATE. More on Englewood Flyover and CREATE.
The CREATE program is involved with 70 rail-related projects in the Chicago area. At present, it has received one third of the $3.3 billion allocated to fund it. CREATE has already completed fourteen projects, has twelve under construction, and has another four in final design.
Normal Intermodal Center
The Town of Normal has received a federal $22 million TIGER grant for the new Uptown Station. The multimodal transportation center will connect rail, bus, and pedestrian traffic when it opens in July 2012. Click here to learn more.
Joliet Union Station
Joliet has received $32 million in funds from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, the City of Joliet, Union Pacific Railroad, and BNSF Railroad to sponsor a $42 million station renovation. Construction begins this summer and the new multimodal facility will be finished by late 2014.
The FRA awarded Iowa and Illinois $230 million to launch passenger rail service between Iowa City, Moline and Chicago. In addition, Illinois Governor Quinn is investing $45 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program for the line’s reconstruction. Iowa had planned to contribute $20.6 million. Service between Chicago and Moline is expected to begin in 2013, and eventually extend to Iowa City in 2015.
The Illinois segment of this line will feature two daily round trips from Chicago to Moline, taking just over three hours. This is an important development for the Quad Cities, which have not had passenger rail service since the late 1970’s. The project is also expected to create more than 2,100 jobs in Illinois.
Moline Multi-Modal Station
In addition to providing new train service, Illinois is also funding the construction of a $16.6 million multi-modal Amtrak station in Moline. A Federal TIGER grant of $10 million for the Moline station was one of only 75 projects – out of nearly one thousand applications nationwide - funded through the US DOT. The remainder of the project is funded by $4.9 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and $1.7 million from the City of Moline. Construction will begin in the fall of 2012 and the project will be completed in the spring of 2014. The new LEED-Certified Moline station will be the key component of the city’s Green Enterprise Zone, which aims to transform Moline’s riverfront into a focal point for green technology, innovation, energy efficiency, and river restoration.
Projects in the Works
Chicago Union Station
Chicago’s Union Station is a critical part of the Midwest rail system. Upgrades should be pursued in order to improve capacity and service quality for trains throughout the region. Click here to learn more.
O’Hare Train Stations
O’Hare International Airport is the Midwest’s gateway to international markets and the coasts. O’Hare needs to be connected not only to downtown Chicago, but to other suburbs with airport shuttle trains. Click here to learn more.
Chicago-St. Louis double-tracking
$1.25 million in ARRA funds have been allocated to conduct an environmental review of adding a second track to the mostly single-track route. The IDOT study should be completed in 2012, allowing this project to move forward soon.
Beginning in 2007, Amtrak studied development of a new intercity corridor from Chicago to Dubuque via Rockford. The estimated cost of the project ranges from $33 million to $55 million depending on the route. The initial service would include a single round-trip in each direction, with a roughly 5-hour trip time. There would be potential for expanded service in the future. Construction is set to begin later this year with regular train service starting in late 2014 or early 2015.
Illinois Valley Commuter Rail corridor
Several towns along I-80, west of Joliet, have joined together in support of a new commuter rail line linking the far Southwest suburbs to Chicago. This corridor offers the potential for new rail service to La Salle, Minooka, and Utica, as well as intercity trains to Iowa City and/or Peoria.
Metra’s planned Suburban Transit Access Route (STAR) is a key part of the Midwest regional system. The STAR line will connect the Western suburbs to O’Hare airport and Joliet – providing a link between the ‘spokes’ in Chicago’s ‘hub and spoke’ rail layout. Not only will this project benefit the Chicago area, but it will also allow for improved intercity passenger service. The new tracks can be used for intercity trains, and stations such as Joliet, or in particular O’Hare, can become suburban hubs that will attract more passengers on those routes. More on the STAR Line. Click here to learn more.