Midwest Regional Rail Plan

May 18, 2017

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is leading a Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study (MWRRPS), with the goal of creating a 40-year vision for passenger rail in the Midwest. This will build off the network envisioned in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI). We’ve learned a lot since then and this is a great opportunity to strengthen our region’s vision.

For over a decade the MWRRI has served as a blueprint for federal grant applications. The Midwest was awarded $2.5 Billion in federal funding under the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program between FY2009 and FY2011. This included new locomotives, passenger cars, upgraded tracks, modernized stations, increased frequencies and faster travel times.

The MWRRPS could have a similar impact on the future of passenger rail in the Midwest. It will help determine the priorities, studies and investments needed to advance projects for decades to come. This is why it’s critical the plan include faster trip times, more frequent departures and focus on broad networks, rather than individual routes.

MHSRA is developing a roadmap for a network that will strengthen the connections between our vibrant cities. The future of the Midwest is explained in the Phased Network Model. Using this model, trains will use both upgraded tracks shared with freight trains and new passenger dedicated mainlines to reach their destination.

Built in phases, this broad network of high-frequency services, with strategically placed segments of new High Speed Line, will serve the majority of communities in the Midwest. By creating a plan with widespread benefits, leaders throughout the Midwest can be reengaged to advocate for federal funding.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

P.S. You can learn more about the project here.

Last Week at MHSRA

We attended the Michigan Association of Railroad Passenger’s Meeting at Union Station. Laura Kliewer, Director, Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission shared details about the MWRRPS and MIPRC’s involvement in the process. Martin Bloedt, Siemens, described in detail the new Siemens locomotives ability to maintain high average speeds, reduce maintenance costs and improve reliability on Midwest routes.

Articles We Enjoyed

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Trains Should Be A Part Of Nation’s Future Infrastructure
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Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will be Unveiled in Weeks, Chao Says
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Could This ’Visionary’ Plan Solve the Area’s Transit Woes
"With Penn Station's failing infrastructure at capacity, a plan to merge the area's train and bus service into one regional system is the cornerstone of an idea floated by a New York design firm as a solution to the region's commuting problems."

Upcoming Events

Homewood Rail Fest

A day that rail enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy all things trains! We will have a table at the event and would appreciate the help of anyone in the area. Please contact Dylan@JustBuildIt.org if you're interested in volunteering, even if only for an hour or two.

When: May 20th, 9am - 3pm

Where: Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut, Homewood, IL

Breakfast with Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman

The City Club of Chicago is hosting a breakfast with Amtrak's new CEO. This is an opportunity to learn about the direction Wick Moorman is leading Amtrak.