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Chicago-to-St. Louis passenger trains reach 110 mph

Lincoln Service schedule to change as travel times are reduced

CHICAGO, Ill. (June 14, 2023) – Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation announced schedule changes for Amtrak’s Lincoln Service trains following the successful implementation of the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail project which will enable passenger service to reach 110 mph.

Enhanced Amtrak routes (shown in yellow) will make travel faster between Chicago and other midwest destinations. (Map:

Effective June 26, the changes will eliminate approximately 15 minutes from existing 90 mph runtimes and 30 minutes from the initial 79 mph schedule.

“The IDOT/Amtrak/UP team has delivered travel times that will make a real difference to our customers: less than two hours from Chicago to Bloomington-Normal and shorter than three hours to Springfield, with end-to-end St. Louis-Chicago schedules of under five hours,” said Amtrak President Roger Harris in a provided statement. “Between the shorter schedules and having more than half of all the new state-owned Amtrak Midwest ‘Venture’ railcars now in service, we are completing a full makeover of this corridor service.”

In addition to increasing speeds, the $1.96 billion project has boosted reliability and safety while providing upgraded and new stations. Major safety upgrades at 212 grade crossings were achieved by installing four-quadrant gates and loop detectors to help prevent collisions with vehicles on the tracks. Pedestrian gates and fencing were installed to prevent pedestrian accidents. Thirty-nine crossings deemed at-risk were permanently closed.

In conjunction with its partner communities, IDOT opened new stations in Dwight, Pontiac, Carlinville, and Alton; renovated the Lincoln station; improved the existing Normal station; and made upgrades to the Springfield station. A separate project to build a new multimodal station in Joliet was completed in 2018, with a second phase starting in 2021. The facilities provide amenities such as free Wi-Fi and connections to bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The new and improved stations act as gateways to their communities, inviting tourism and providing additional travel options for the public.

A final component of the project: The acquisition of new rolling stock to be used on Lincoln Service trains and other Midwest routes. Thirty-three new locomotives have been in service since late 2017. Illinois is also part of a consortium of states working with the Federal Railroad Administration and California to procure 88 new single-level railcars for use throughout Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan. More than 50 of the cars are currently in revenue service on Amtrak Midwest routes.

Funding for the project includes $1.66 billion in federal funding, primarily through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant awarded in 2010, as well as $300 million in state and non-federal funds. The project broke ground in 2010 with major infrastructure improvements completed in 2018. From 2019 to 2023, IDOT has worked with project partners the Federal Railroad Administration, Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak to install and test a Positive Train Control system that allows passenger trains to increase their speed first to 90 mph and now 110 mph.

Additional information on the new schedule is available at

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) facilitates the inter-connectivity of all transportation modes for the efficient movement of people and goods. The roots of the agency can be traced back more than a century, for as long as cars, highways, and air traffic have moved people around the state. IDOT sends traffic-related news releases to The Lansing Journal, and we publish those that are relevant to readers in our community.