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#1 KevinKorell


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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:49 PM

From Midwest High Speed Rail Association (MHSRA), newsletter for September 2005:

MHSRA has merged with Illinois Rail (Illinois ARP), taking on their membership. Former Illinois Rail leaders then formed a committee within the MHSRA to work on issues solely in their home state.

The work on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor to improve train times and thus allow more frequencies has driven MHSRA to propose a new timetable, which it has dubbed the ABE LINCOLN EXPRESS. This timetable would take into account several customer desires:
  • Arrivals in both Chicago and Springfield that allow them to attend 10 AM meetings.
  • Departures after dinner from both Springfield and Chicago.
  • More dependable service.
  • Faster service that makes rail more attractive than driving.
MHSRA's timetable, which is for illustrative purposes only, shows the current three round trips on trains 300, 303, 304, 305, 321, and 322, as well as two new frequencies in each direction. Southbound the proposed ones would leave Chicago at 6:45 AM and 7:15 PM, stop in Springfield at 9:45 AM and 10:30 PM respectively, and terminate in St. Louis at 12:05 PM and 12:30 AM respectively. The two proposed northbound trains would leave St. Louis at 6:35 AM and 5:10 PM, stop in Springfield at 8:32 AM and 7:05 PM, and arrive in Chicago 11:55 AM and 10:05 PM respectively. One of the new trips in each direction would be an "express", skipping smaller station stops like Dwight and Pontiac. More trackwork could reduce travel times even further, making them competitive with air travel.

Many improvements are needed to bring the Chicago-St. Louis line up to high speed standards. Trackwork is required between Chicago and Manzona (between Joliet and Dwight), to save about 10 minutes. The Joliet station itself needs improvements in the form of a center island platform and tunnel. Currently whenever an Amtrak train stops at the Joliet station (located on UP/CN tracks), passengers have to cross the BNSF mainline to access the station building. BNSF has to shutdown operations during these periods for pedestrian safety. Stopping at a center island platform with the doors opening on the opposite side will save Amtrak an additional five minutes. Another five minutes could be saved passing through the Springfield area, where the tracks are seriously deteriorated. Crossing signals would also have to be retimed for higher speeds.

Kevin Korell

OTOL Board Leader

Howell, NJ

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