improved timetables grow near for the implementation of service along much of the route as fast as 110 miles per hour. The faster trains could be running as soon as 2017. Amtrak is also taking steps to revamp and rebuild the interior space in Chicago’s Union Station, with moves underway to concentrate passenger ticketing and waiting areas in the station’s Great Hall and open more multilevel space to West Loop-oriented private-sector retail activity.
While Illinois continues to tighten its belt with regards to a wide variety of spending commitments, the Joliet-Alton speedup is being implemented through a multi-year capital improvement consortium program that includes federal U.S. Department of Transportation money and partial funding from the Union Pacific Railroad, the owner and operator of the railroad bed. Union Pacific has consented to continue to allow Amtrak trains to run on its line in return for federal and State help in improving the roadbed, on which it is running an increasing count of double-stacked trailer trains.