The Transport department of Illinois is funding the modernization of the passenger network between Chicago and St. Louis, where it plans to build a second additional track.
The distance between Chicago and St. Louis is 284 miles. Approximately 99 percent of the 35 million annual trips made between these two cities are carried out in car and air transport. Only 1 percent uses rail as their transport mean.
Amtrak service uses various railway routes with different loads. Since 2009, it is carrying out infrastructure improvements that allow passenger service to reach speeds up to 110 miles per hour, which can be considered High Speed. The part belonging to Canadian National (CN) between Joliet and Chicago (37 miles) is already equipped with two tracks. The part of Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), between Joliet and Godfrey (215 miles), is equipped with a track along 182 miles and double track in 33 miles. UPRR area and Kansas City Southern (KCS), between Godfrey and East St. Louis (29 miles) consists of a single track in the first 10 miles, while the remaining 19 miles are already equipped with two tracks. The section owned by Terminal Railroad Association (GND) within the corridor between St. Louis and East St. Louis, MO (3 miles of double track) is located over the bridge in Mississippi River and St. Louis Terminal.
In addition to this improvement plan, the state is carrying out studies for the implementation of a true High Speed service. Also, it has commissioned the first studies to analyse alternatives and environmental impact to a path that runs from Chicago to the university city of Urbana-Champaign and with two possible ramifications, one to St. Louis and one to Indianapolis, but there are no funds to proceed beyond this preliminary stage.
During 2015 the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will continue with the construction of additional tracks; it plans to carry out improvement works to bridges and structures; improve existing signalling systems; improve and build new crossings.
In addition, IDOT continues to design future projects, as well as several environmental studies that are already in course, such as the Chicago – Joliet project, Springfield’s overpass and the project of Granite City to St. Louis.