SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Amtrak had a Thanksgiving present for its riders between Chicago and St. Louis — faster train schedules.

The new timetables are the first to include 110 mile-an-hour travel between Dwight and Pontiac.

The 15-mile stretch is only enough to trim about 10 minutes off of previous schedules, but Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said that will change dramatically over the next two years.

“As the 110 mile-an-hour territory expands, we’ll be taking time out of the schedules and shortening travel time.”

Eventually, the travel time will drop from the current running time of a little more than five hours to about four hours.

Magliari said Amtrak already has done a good job of attracting riders from parallel I-55, and said he expects ridership to increase even more dramatically as speeds do, on approximately three-quarters of the 350-mile route.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts Reports

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