Work Begins On High-Speed Rail To St. Louis

CHICAGO (WBBM) — A new season of re-construction begins Saturday on the rail line between Chicago and St. Louis that Amtrak is transforming into a 110-mile-an-hour corridor.

The goal of faster trains is going to mean short-term delays for riders who intend to use the line over the next six weeks.

Gov. Pat Quinn said that construction crews are starting on the segment between Lincoln and Bloomington.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

Upgrading the line is not inexpensive.

“This construction season it’s going to be about $685 million,” said Quinn, who said he expects the work to create 6,000 construction jobs.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said that for the next week, between April 16 and 24 and again between May 1 and 9, buses will substitute for four daily Amtrak “Lincoln Service” round trips between Bloomington and St. Louis and the long-distance Texas Eagle will be detoured, running between Chicago and St. Louis non-stop.

Officials from the Union Pacific R.R., which owns the line, said that construction crews this year expect to install 190 miles of new track, 250,000 of the concrete ties that hold the rails in place, 600,000 tons of crushed rock and improved protection at 92 road crossings.

High-speed service on an 18-mile segment between Dwight and Pontiac is expected to begin next year. The line between Dwight and St. Louis is expected to be upgraded in its entirety by 2014. Studies are being conducted to determine which of three routes will be used between Chicago and Dwight, with a decision expected next year.

Quinn said he would like to see higher-speed corridors running between Chicago and a number of other Midwestern cities, including Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis.

The deadline to apply for redistribution $2.4 billion in federal high speed rail grants rejected by the state of Florida is Monday. Wisconsin has indicated that it will seek $150 million to upgrade the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service to 110 mile an hour standards. Missouri has indicated it will seek $937 million.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — who in December rejected $810 million that had been earmarked to extend the Hiawatha service to Madison — said Tuesday that he expects to file a joint application with Illinois, Michigan and Missouri to upgrade existing service, although Quinn said he was unaware of any such joint application.

  • $$ well spent!!!

    This will surely be OVERBUDGET and years behind schedule and the taxpayers will be left to foot the bill!!! Gov. Goofy = FOOL

    • Alex2000

      Why would it go over budget? This isn’t some super-complicated big-dig style project. They are just laying track. We’ve been doing that for 150+ years. It doesn’t even sound like they are doing much (if any) grade separation, nor doing any station work. Really, this project couldn’t be any simpler.

  • Really no loss

    The onlky reason a high speed train to St Louis would be good is if it was a one way train.

  • Drew

    This is welcome news indeed. While I wish the Chicago-St.Louis route would see high speed rail ala the NEC–electrification and all–you have to admit it’s an excellent start. I wish people would cease whining about taxpayer’s paying the bill. America has SQUANDERED BILLIONS on projects that should never have been given the green light…yet this was acceptable? Upgrading long neglected infrastructure costs money–DEAL WITH IT. Special thanks to Florida, for showing it’s asinine allegiance to John Boehner and his merry band of corrupt, deceitful thugs. Your idiocy will be OUR GAIN. GO AMTRAK!!!!!!!

    • Hey genius

      Spoken like a true idiot! Amtrak is doing great aren’t they?? IL. is also doing so well and is in great fiscal shape. Get your facts straight and keep voting democratic!!!

    • rfwojo

      Amtrak – Costs the American taxpayer billions in subsidies because it can not sustain itself. This is not about infrastrucure its about squandring billions more.

      • righttrack

        And what about the roads and highways that you drive on??? And the airports that you fly in and out of. All of those are government subsidized also. I’d rather see the money spent in our country instead of sending it to some third-wordl country that hates us anyway.

      • @rfwojo

        THANK YOU for pointing that out to this f-ing moron!!! I love how these fools jump up and cheerlead for this stuff without knowing the FACTS!!!

    • Alayna

      Don’t bother with these fools down here. If they took one trip to Europe and realized how wonderful it is to have an up to date, high speed train system they’d shut up in a second. It saves money to travel that way and you don’t have to do any of the work. Plus, they’re going to pay the money to something, might as well be updating any and all infrastructure. Our country is living with 50-150 year old infrastructure systems and people don’t want to have their money “wasted” on the things that they take advantage of everyday. Wow.

  • Tim

    Good for Illinois. If you don’t have good infrastructure, you don’t have an economy; period.

    • rfwojo

      If you don’t have responsible government then the result is the atrocious financial condition that the State of Illinois is in. God bless the Chicago Way (Madigan to Daley to Quinn)

  • george beck

    Money must circulate, you rich republicans and dum followers want to stash it
    away do NOT seem to get it. Well you can just kiss it good bye.We dems will
    show you how to get this economy booming again.

    • OK

      Sure you will!!! You dems have done such a great job since your “messiah” has been in office. Here’s a great example of how the dems want to circulate money

      I’m sure a fool like you will understand this corruption!! 14 trillion dollar defecit, but no problem right??

      • Alayna

        And who started all that? Hmmm? We wouldn’t have been in part of this situation if it weren’t for Bush and his cronies. Or should I say Cheney and his cronies? Oh and what they allowed to happen on Wall Street. And how about going for a less biased news source before spouting off about proof that you have against something. Maybe if it came from somewhere other than Fox then maybe it could be somewhat legit.

  • jerry

    I did not believe there were as many stupid and ignorant people as Quinn(what a disgusting excuse for humanity)–but after reading some of these comments above I guess the democratic party is full of them but what can you expect when they have a moran like obama leading them.

  • Eric

    Why can’t these idiots get their priorities straight. It was just in the news that a majority of bridges in the state are in bad shape. Shouldn’t this be first on the list? Besides, who wants to go to St. Louis anyway.

    • Gerald Spencer

      The consultants hired by construction industries specializing in concrete and steel work determined the need of repair in many of the states, not just Illinois. This is a national industry effort, and, yes, the work should be done. As far as St. Louis goes, no pun intended, it is a major industrial and business hub.

  • Bill S.

    I hope they route the Chicago to Dwight line thru Joliet and then up the Rock Island to Chicago. That way they could stop in Englewood and make connections to the east. Then all the south side Rock Island commuters would have a way to get to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals kick the cubs butt. That would be worth 368 million alone!

  • tom sharp

    I hope the build a spur from Springfield to Joliet and Menard to “fast track” the drop off of the politicians who make money on this phony deal to jail!!!

  • Americans prefer coffee not TEA

    Why are there roads and flights to St. Louis, nobody goes there, right? We should not subsidize any transportation. Airfare would be too expensive and all roads toll roads. Great idea GOP.

  • swizzle

    Why is the the most ignorant replies come from Republicans here. Are you too stupid to see that your fellow Republicans are also accepting the money? LMAO!
    Where are all those death panels and jobs the Republicans talked about?
    Why are Republicans so damn dumb?

  • Advisor

    Wasting our tax dollars on old steel-on-wheels technology that is 40 years old.

    The best alternative is maglev, for so many reasons.

    A site by academics and expertise is:

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  • franklin808

    I can’t wait to go see the golden arch in St Louis. I’ll be first in line to show solidarity with Obama and Durbin.

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