Amtrak Lincoln Service trains between St. Louis and Chicago, as well as Amtrak's Texas Eagle have been given the go-ahead to increase their speeds up to 110 miles per hour for most of the route between Chicago and St. Louis. So will it reduce the travel time between the two cities?

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In a press release, Amtrak says the higher speeds will help the railroad establish shorter schedules for their Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle. However, schedules are not being shortened at this time.

In a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari declined to say how much time will be trimmed from the current schedule. However, he did tell the newspaper the goal is a reliably shorter travel time than driving between the two cities which takes about 4.5 hours.

The newspaper reports when Amtrak bosted speeds on the line from 79 miles per hour to 90 miles per hour, it shaved about 15 minutes off of the trip. So, it stands to reason this speed increase will save passengers even more travel time.

“Trains will continue to operate at 110 mph for several weeks without a change in schedule to ensure everything on the system is running properly and to monitor the actual travel time between stations,” said John Oimoen, IDOT Deputy Director, Rails, in the Amtrak release.

Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation were able to get approval for the higher speeds because special equipment was installed as part of IDOT’s Chicago to St. Louis High-Speed Rail Project. The equipment monitors the trains and traffic control systems to alert train crews to any problems.

With trains reaching higher speeds additional warning signs and fencing have also been installed in select areas to encourage safety and deter trespassing.

“Amtrak, IDOT, and the Illinois Commerce Commission work with Operation Lifesaver, an industry-sponsored campaign that educates persons of all ages on how to stay safe around railroad tracks,” said Justin Meko, Amtrak Vice President, Operational Safety said in the Amtrak release. “Now is a great time for schools, companies, and other groups to schedule safety presentations.”

To learn more about keeping you and your family safe around trains you can check out the Operation Lifesaver website.

Amtrak will operate trains up to 110 miles per hour on the corridor mainly between Joliet and Alton with slower speeds around St. Louis and Chicago.

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