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Chicago to St. Louis Amtrak Still Not Up to Speed

The higher speed train route between the two cities, funded by the recession-era stimulus package, is capable of 90 to 110 mph, but is stuck at 78.
January 12, 2019, 1pm PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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BeyondDC

The massive project to upgrade train speeds between Chicago and St. Louis is mostly complete, but the 110 mph speeds have yet to be achieved. "Delays in installing and testing new GPS-related safety technology have kept Amtrak trains from hitting high speeds of 90 mph during 2018 as the Illinois Department of Transportation had predicted," Mark Schlinkmann reports for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Worse still, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is no longer targeting the 110 mph speeds the project aimed for when the project began.

The Positive Train Control (PTC) requirements that Congress imposed after the projects inception are not fully tested on the Union Pacific-owned crossings, meaning trains currently cannot move above 79 miles per hour. "Union Pacific spokeswoman Hannah Bolte said her railroad is '100 percent committed' to doing what's necessary to achieve 110 on the route," Schlinkmann writes. In the meantime, IDOT anticipates trains will not reach 90 mph top speeds until summer this year.

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Published on Monday, December 31, 2018 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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