Chicago - St. Louis Lincoln Corridor to begin higher speed running

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The state should make an offer to buy the IAIS. You get a state-owned ROW that could be used for Quad Cities and far beyond. You'd be well on the way to a dedicated line between CHI and Peoria, which could be utilized in the future as the route for CHI-STL HSR. Get Iowa to invest in the Davenport to Omaha portion (yes, I'm delusional).

CHI-STL HSR routed through the Illinois Valley and Peoria, rather than Normal, is 50-60 miles longer, but I don't see UP ever giving up control of the line Lincoln Service trains currently run on, and CN would be even less cooperative for an HSR route to STL via Kankakee and Champaign. Plus, 220mph HSR, running an average speed of 165mph, would blow through those 50-60 miles in 20-25 minutes. Not a deal breaker.

When a study was done in 2013 exploring the feasibility of a CHI-STL HSR service, a routing via Champaign and Decatur was used. That routing had trains going Chicago-Kankakee-Champaign-Decatur-Springfield-Litchfield-Edwardsville-East STL-STL. The portion of the route between Springfield and STL could be used in a route via Peoria.
I wholeheartedly agree that the IAIS should be in State hands. There should be service along the Illinois Valley from Chicago to Peoria. I can even see all-IAIS service to the Quad Cities, with half the Illinois Valley trains to Peoria and half to the Quad Cities. (Peoria Rockets and Quad Cities Rockets, maybe.) But I don't see the tracks along the Illinois River, laid out in the mid-1800s to compete with the I&M Canal, being the basis for a higher-speed mainline, much less HSR service. Too meandering compared to the alternatives.

While I agree it's unlikely UP will sell the present Lincoln Service line to the state, it's also unlikely the state will give up on service to Bloomington-Normal. Once you're serving Normal, it makes little sense not to continue along the direct, straight, and fast UP tracks to at least Springfield. We should have Chicago-Champaign-Decatur-Springfield service, but in addition to rather than instead of Chicago-Joliet-Normal-Springfield.

Similarly, I don't see an all-IAIS route as a replacement for the present plan to use the broad, straight, and fast BNSF line as the primary route from Chicago to the Quad Cities and beyond.

And while Illinois Valley service should go to Peoria, I imagine the fastest service Chicago-Peoria would be via Normal. Maps show the tracks Normal-Peoria still there. They could run either Peoria shuttles meeting every Lincoln Service train as Roomette11 suggested, or (my preference) direct Chicago-Peoria trains. With more frequent Lincoln Service trains, travelers to/from from south of Normal could still transfer at Normal. Direct service could be called Prairie Service; I don't imagine Prairie Marksman would get too far as a 21st Century train name.
 

MisterUptempo

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I wholeheartedly agree that the IAIS should be in State hands. There should be service along the Illinois Valley from Chicago to Peoria. I can even see all-IAIS service to the Quad Cities, with half the Illinois Valley trains to Peoria and half to the Quad Cities. (Peoria Rockets and Quad Cities Rockets, maybe.) But I don't see the tracks along the Illinois River, laid out in the mid-1800s to compete with the I&M Canal, being the basis for a higher-speed mainline, much less HSR service. Too meandering compared to the alternatives.

While I agree it's unlikely UP will sell the present Lincoln Service line to the state, it's also unlikely the state will give up on service to Bloomington-Normal. Once you're serving Normal, it makes little sense not to continue along the direct, straight, and fast UP tracks to at least Springfield. We should have Chicago-Champaign-Decatur-Springfield service, but in addition to rather than instead of Chicago-Joliet-Normal-Springfield.

Similarly, I don't see an all-IAIS route as a replacement for the present plan to use the broad, straight, and fast BNSF line as the primary route from Chicago to the Quad Cities and beyond.

And while Illinois Valley service should go to Peoria, I imagine the fastest service Chicago-Peoria would be via Normal. Maps show the tracks Normal-Peoria still there. They could run either Peoria shuttles meeting every Lincoln Service train as Roomette11 suggested, or (my preference) direct Chicago-Peoria trains. With more frequent Lincoln Service trains, travelers to/from from south of Normal could still transfer at Normal. Direct service could be called Prairie Service; I don't imagine Prairie Marksman would get too far as a 21st Century train name.
CHI-STL HSR routing through Peoria is not the best alignment of the three discussed, to be sure. I just see it as the most likely, given UP's unwillingness to give up control of the Lincoln corridor and CN's outright hostility to passenger rail in general.

Also, if HSR to STL were to run through Peoria, I absolutely would not give up on the Lincoln corridor, at least as far south as Springfield, if not all the way to STL. The ransom has already been paid to UP.

UP, if everything that has been written here is correct, would max out the number of passenger slots it would agree to host at 10 (9 Lincoln and 1 Eagle), provided the feds/state spring for double-tracking the entire route. If that's the case, why burn those future roundtrips on one-seat CHI-PEO service? Better to build the circumferential route, at least the portion connecting Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, and Champaign/Urbana, in addition to CHI-PEO via IAIS.

Now that Illinois has established a High Speed Rail Commission, it'll be interesting what, if any, conclusion they arrive at.
 
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jis

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Now that Illinois has established a High Speed Rail Commission, it'll be interesting what, if any, conclusion they arrive at.
To some extent that will depend on the stability of the Illinois State Government though. Once upon a time Florida also had a High Speed Rail Commission. But the stability of the State Government was less than desirable as far as that went. 😐
 

Crowbar_k

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On a side note, I do feel the Chicago - St. Louis corridor gets outsized attention due to the fact that it's located pretty much entirely within one state. For comparison, the Chicago - Detroit corridor is more useful. Metro Detroit is bigger than Greater St Louis. However, that corridor runs through three states, and needs the cooperation of all of them, which is why the Chicago - Detroit corridor upgrade project has really been dragging it's feet, even more so than the Chicago - St Lois project.
 

vap0rtranz

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I’m so excited by this! Really rooting for more route mileage operating over 100 mph. There’s no better advertisement for taking the train than zipping past cars on parallel roads — even when they’re Interstate highways

Yup.

The Eagle / Lincoln often zip past traffic on the rural stretches of I-55. That is free advertising for Amtrak for anyone driving.

Midwest Corn Country is boring to drive through. I've driven it but it's not fun. There's nothing to see. It's much more fun to sit back, pop and cold one, read a book, play a game, or whatever folks want to do on the Eagle or Lincoln. Usually it is a drink for Cardinals and Cubs games :)
 
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Yup.

The Eagle / Lincoln often zip past traffic on the rural stretches of I-55. That is free advertising for Amtrak for anyone driving.

Midwest Corn Country is boring to drive through. I've driven it but it's not fun. There's nothing to see. It's much more fun to sit back, pop and cold one, read a book, play a game, or whatever folks want to do on the Eagle or Lincoln. Usually it is a drink for Cardinals and Cubs games :)
I actually like the drive between Springfield (and some sections south of there too) and Joliet. After that it's just Stevenson traffic (got rear ended at Weber Road on my way back from STL - luckily no damage to my car - and no, Amtrak wasn't an option for the trip). 55 is far busier than 57 but less than 65 which is mostly getting three lanes each way between Chicago and Indy - that's the one that needs good rail, but....Indiana....
 

Willbridge

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I actually like the drive between Springfield (and some sections south of there too) and Joliet. After that it's just Stevenson traffic (got rear ended at Weber Road on my way back from STL - luckily no damage to my car - and no, Amtrak wasn't an option for the trip). 55 is far busier than 57 but less than 65 which is mostly getting three lanes each way between Chicago and Indy - that's the one that needs good rail, but....Indiana....
In May 1969 a cousin and I took her graduation car on a one-day round-trip drive from Indianapolis to Chicago. I-65 was not hooked up at each end, so it required some map study. Most of the time we were alone on the Interstate. We parked in Harvey and rode the IC Electric into town.

The previous weekend to Chicago I was on my own, so I rode the Riley coming back. It was the best PC train that I rode, Runing time was 3:55 for the 193-mile trip from Central Station to Indianapolis.
 

railiner

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The previous weekend to Chicago I was on my own, so I rode the Riley coming back. It was the best PC train that I rode, Runing time was 3:55 for the 193-mile trip from Central Station to Indianapolis
Probably aided by the 54 miles or so, of trackage rights from Kankakee to Chicago Central Station on “The Mainline of Mid-America”😉😎
 

Everydaymatters

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Yesterday my daughter and I drove the highway along old Route 66 to Pontiac, Illinois. It had had several side roads to the farms off the highway the last time I was there a couple of years ago. At that time the side roads had the familiar old white signs with black letters. Now, because of the 110 mph Lincoln Service, some have have flashing red lights, some are completely closed off, and a couple were in the process of being equipped with the flashing red lights and gates. For me it was sad, after having read several books about life along Rt. 66 way back when. Parts of the Mother Road are still intact and I looked at them with memories of being on them from Chicago to LA many years ago.
 

Crowbar_k

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I don't know if it's relevant to this exact thread, but according to this Sun Times article, Blue Island-Vermont will become the new "suburban station" for Amtrak if they switch to the Rock Island line.

 

Cal

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I don't know if it's relevant to this exact thread, but according to this Sun Times article, Blue Island-Vermont will become the new "suburban station" for Amtrak if they switch to the Rock Island line.

Can't they continue to use Joliet?
 

uncleboots

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I rode the Lincoln Service last week, the issue with the delay was water over the tracks from storms, we had to bus from Springfield to St Louis on the way home. The good news was my speedometer on my phone had us traveling 112 Miles.
 
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I rode the Lincoln Service last week, the issue with the delay was water over the tracks from storms, we had to bus from Springfield to St Louis on the way home. The good news was my speedometer on my phone had us traveling 112 Miles.
This was helpful information. I never did check back to see if subsequent trains from St. Louis got through or what happened to the trains going south.

I will be traveling on on 301 Sunday. and 318 on the way back between Chicago and St. Louis.
 

uncleboots

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This was helpful information. I never did check back to see if subsequent trains from St. Louis got through or what happened to the trains going south.

I will be traveling on on 301 Sunday. and 318 on the way back between Chicago and St. Louis.
There was track work that had to be done from a section of track South of Carlinville due to flooding from a rainstorm. Everything’s okay now. If you don’t have one download a speedometer on your phone. It was pretty cool when mine said 112 MPH.
 

tgstubbs1

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I've been watching the trains speeds on that track and I haven't seen more than 110 mph. Right now there are three trains doing between 90 and 100. I guess that's fast enough, if they can maintain that speed.
 

jis

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I've been watching the trains speeds on that track and I haven't seen more than 110 mph. Right now there are three trains doing between 90 and 100. I guess that's fast enough, if they can maintain that speed.
The maximum permitted speed on that route is 110mph. GPS sometimes shows a deviation in speed of +/- 2 or 3 mph.
 

uncleboots

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I've been watching the trains speeds on that track and I haven't seen more than 110 mph. Right now there are three trains doing between 90 and 100. I guess that's fast enough, if they can maintain that speed.
My train did 112 both ways
 

tgstubbs1

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It seems like they travel the fastest south of Joliet, but I haven't followed them closely enough to say what the average is. Right now, 10:26a - 110 mph Train 302 to Chicago. Usually when I check they are running in the 90's.

I'm looking at this map : Intercity Rail Map

It only shows the Amtrak trains. It would be cool if it showed freight trains, too.
 
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