The Rail Needs Assessment was issued in July, 2022, which was around the same time as the announcement to pursue the Chicago Access Program, which includes the St. Charles Air Line Connector. The Feasibility Report for the connector had been completed long before that. My guess is that they just used an outdated graphic showing the Heritage routing to Joliet.Good points all around, perhaps it is too far along to qualify
In regards to the tier II EIS I don’t remember hearing about restarting it but if I remember the unfinished part was to deal with the Chicago to Joliet upgrades. The preferred route was to use the Rock Island with a connection at 40th st. With the potential of the Chicago Access that connection moves further north but still allows trains on the Rock.
Only thing I’ll say about the Illinois Rail assessment was the cost for the Chicago-St Louis corridor still had the trains using the heritage corridor. 4 expensive flyovers would’ve been required as part of the fixes. Doesn’t seem like there was great coordination when coming up with that 7 billion number. Adding double and triple track through the corridor was expected to cost ~2 billion in 2012 dollars.
The Tier I EIS did show the 40th Street Connector, as well as triple-tracking the Rock Island between Chicago and Joliet. I also recall that there was serious consideration given to grade separating quite a few crossings as well.
The Springfield 10th Street Rail Consolidation Project is in the needs assessment, and has been broken out as a separate project and now under construction. Estimated completion by end of 2025.
The Springfield Flyover is in the report as well, though no funding has been found for that $100 million project yet.
And in the Granite City to St. Louis segment, the Merchants Bridge has been rehabbed and reopened yesterday. So, there is important work going on with the project that doesn't get a whole lot of attention.
Here's a brief description of scope of the remaining work, under "Project Description and Need" -
As far as flyovers on the Heritage route are concerned CREATE has already started the process of getting reports together for the Brighton Park Flyover as well as CP Canal, for the sake of Metra as well as freight rail decongestion, as the STB ruled long ago that Amtrak had to get the Lincoln Service and the Texas Eagle off CN's Chicago-Joliet corridor as quickly as they're able.Previous federal and state investments in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor were used to construct infrastructure enabling Amtrak service at speeds of up to 110 mph, including track and station reconstructions, siding extensions, bridge rehabilitations, PTC implementation, and grade crossing upgrades. This project would leverage these previous investments by completing the full build improvements, most notably double tracking the entire corridor. This will improve both passenger and freight rail operations between Chicago and St. Louis and enable increased service on a key spoke of the Midwest "Hub" Network