IL investing $102 million to doubletrack more of CHI-STL corridor

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afigg

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Good news for the CHI-STL corridor. Illinois is investing $102 million into double tracking an additional segment of the Chicago to St. Louis corridor. Progressive Railroading: Illinois to invest $102 million in upgrades to Chicago-St. Louis line. Excerpt:

llinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced late last week a $102 million investment from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to improve system performance and reliability on a key segment of the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail line.

The funds will allow the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Union Pacific Railroad to move forward with construction of a new bridge over the Kankakee River near Wilmington, as well as complete other safety and capacity enhancements along the busy corridor between Joliet and Dwight, Ill., Quinn and IDOT officials said in a press release.

The funding will pay for a second set of tracks to be built between Mazonia and Elwood, including the new bridge to accommodate the increased capacity. The work will be performed by the UP crews and managed by IDOT in 2016 and 2017.
Gov. Quinn press release that says the same thing as the article: Governor Quinn Invests $102 Million in High-Speed Rail Upgrades on Chicago-St. Louis Line.

I checked the track diagrams and documents for the CHI-STL project, this would be additional double tracking, not taking credit for double tracking already funded and planned. The $186 million FY2010 HSIPR Joliet to Dwight project is to double track around 8 miles from Joliet to Elwood and add a passing siding at Braidwood. This additional state funding appears to extend the double tracking from Elwood to south of the planned passing siding for a combined double tracked segment of maybe 20+ miles, although the press release lacks such details.

The question is whether this extended double track segment along with the other improvements will be enough to allow expansion of service frequencies to at least 1 additional daily Lincoln service train. With all the Lincoln service trains running at 110 mph, not just restricted to 3 a day. If the state is putting in an additional $102 million of its own money as follow-on spending, one would hope IL would have gotten concessions before the announcement from UP for expanded service.
 

Devil's Advocate

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If the state is putting in an additional $102 million of its own money as follow-on spending, one would hope IL would have gotten concessions before the announcement from UP for expanded service.
I'd wonder what sort of leverage IL would be willing to use to push UP to give up more concessions. Without sufficient leverage, and a willingness to actually use it, all the hope in the world isn't going to change anything.
 
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neroden

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IL seems remarkably willing to open their pocketbook with no guarantee of getting anything for it. By contrast, Michigan is buying lines before upgrading them -- as are most states, provinces, and agencies, in fact. I'm not quite sure what accounts for the difference. UP has been cooperative with IL on some Metra stuff so maybe that's the other side of the deal, but it's still weird that the state isn't interested in control.
 

WoodyinNYC

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IL seems remarkably willing to open their pocketbook with no guarantee of getting anything for it. By contrast, Michigan is buying lines before upgrading them -- as are most states, provinces, and agencies, in fact. I'm not quite sure what accounts for the difference. UP has been cooperative with IL on some Metra stuff so maybe that's the other side of the deal, but it's still weird that the state isn't interested in control.
To be fair, didn't Michigan buy what NS had for sale

as it consolidated operation on another line? While

the Lincoln Corridor is plenty busy with UP freights.
 

adt1982

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IL seems remarkably willing to open their pocketbook with no guarantee of getting anything for it. By contrast, Michigan is buying lines before upgrading them -- as are most states, provinces, and agencies, in fact. I'm not quite sure what accounts for the difference. UP has been cooperative with IL on some Metra stuff so maybe that's the other side of the deal, but it's still weird that the state isn't interested in control.
To be fair, didn't Michigan buy what NS had for sale

as it consolidated operation on another line? While

the Lincoln Corridor is plenty busy with UP freights.
The Lincoln Corridor isn't very busy with UP freights. Most UP freights take the old MoPac (C&EI) line farther east through Villa Grove. I think the Springfield line only has 4 or so regularly scheduled freights each day.
 

MikefromCrete

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Illinois should have bought the Lincoln Corridor back when it was owned by the regional Chicago, Missouri and Western or when the cash-short Southern Pacific owned the line. It could have been picked up at a bargain price back then. UP is reluctant to sell its routes and the line now sees increased freight traffic, particularly with a new intermodal center located in Elwood, south of Joliet.
 
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