Amtrak Hits New Top Speeds Between St. Louis and Chicago

A project that won funding from federal stimulus programs during the Obama administration is finally paying off on the Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis.

December 24, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


An Amtrak passenger train is shown on a spring day, rolling through a rural area in Missouri.

Focused Adventures / Shutterstock

Amtrak trains traveling between St. Louis and Chicago can now reach speeds of 90 miles per hour, thanks to new brakes installed after three years of delays.

According to an article reporting the news by Mark Schlinkmann for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the new top speeds are one step closer to a final goal of top speeds of 110 miles per hour, which is expected in another year and half. The new top speed trims 15 minutes off the 284-mile journey.

The new top speeds were delayed after the 2017 completion date due to a "longer-than-expected process of installing and testing new GPS-related safety technology — called positive train control," adds Schlinkmann.

"The changes are part of a $1.95 billion upgrade of the St. Louis-Chicago corridor that was mostly finished in 2017," according to Schlinkmann. "The project, largely funded by federal economic stimulus dollars allotted under then-President Barack Obama, included new rails and concrete ties, new Amtrak stations in Alton and elsewhere and improved crossing gates to keep vehicles from weaving around crossing bars."

Planetizen picked up the news of the high speed rail funding that included the Chicago-to-St. Louis improvements in 2010.

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