2010 Construction

Construction Overview

The State of Illinois has ensured that the Chicago to St. Louis corridor remains at the forefront of passenger rail development.

In September 2010, one of the first construction projects in the national High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program began along the Chicago to St. Louis route to prepare it for future train operations at up to 110 miles per hour.

On April 1, 2011, the second round of construction began to upgrade approximately 96 miles of existing track from Elkhart to Dwight. An additional 18 miles were also constructed between St Louis and Lenox. Construction was completed August 23rd.

Construction work for 2012 began in April. Improvements in preparation for higher speed travel were concentrated between Wann and Godfrey and from Pontiac to Joliet. Work included building new sidings and second track, upgrades to bridges and culverts, drainage improvements, installation and upgrades to signal and wayside equipment and continued crossing and approach improvements. Work was completed in August.

Between 2014 and 2017, work continued throughout the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor, including siding reconstructions, grade crossing improvements, fencing installation, utilities and signal improvements, and bridge construction/modifications.

In 2018, the Illinois Department of Transportation completed fencing, track and crossing work. All improvements along the 3rd Street corridor in Springfield have also been completed. New diesel locomotives have been delivered and are in service. The HSR program is installing Positive Train Control (PTC), a safety system that uses advanced communication systems to avoid collisions with other trains, protect maintenance workers, and enforce speeds in slow zones. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued PTC guidance for running trains up to 90 MPH and field testing of the PTC system is required.

In 2020, the Illinois Department of Transportation was working with Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak as they install and test PTC and enhanced grade crossing warning system along the corridor. Before trains can operate at speeds greater than 79 miles per hour (mph), the PTC system at grade crossing locations and within the train must be tested for efficiency and compliance with Federal regulations.

In 2021, testing was conducted throughout the corridor to allow trains to operate at speeds up to 90 mph. It is anticipated trains will begin operating at higher speeds, up to 110 mph, following regulatory approvals and testing later in 2022.