Illinois is on track for the future of rail transportation with the successful test of high-speed rail Friday.
State and federal officials, alongside members of the media, rode an AMTRAK train from Joliet to Normal--a 15 mile stretch of that trip, the train went an average of 110 miles per hour.
Before leaving the station in Joliet, Governor Pat Quinn, Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, US Senator Dick Durbin and others spoke about the history and the future of rail.
The moment Illinois railways went high-speed
During the test run, two different cabins were set up with speedometers hooked up to GPS so passengers could see the progression of the train on a map plus the moment where the train reached the historic threshold of 110 miles per hour.
Shortly after the apex of the high-speed rail test Governor Quinn, Secretary LaHood and Senator Durbin visited with the media in the aisle of a rail car. They talk about the historic nature of the test, and also the economics and politics of high-speed rail.
Durbin criticized republicans in congress of trying to stop stimulus money that was used to fund the high-speed rail project. He also was critical of attempts to de-fund AMTRAK.
Governor Quinn and Secretary LaHood talked about how college students can use AMTRAK to get back and forth from school and home. They also highlighted the wireless internet on the trains that will make them more productive during their travels.
LaHood talked about the importance of Illinois in the high speed rail industry and how new high-speed cars will be produced in the Land of Lincoln.
The goal is to increase the 110-mile-per-hour service along nearly 75 percent of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor by 2015. Officials say the high speeds will reduce travel time by more than an hour.
Ridership among AMTRAK’s four Illinois routes has grown nearly three-quarters in the past six years with more than 2.1 million passengers last year.
As for the future of rail traffic through Springfield, Senator Dick Durbin says he believes by the end of the year Springfield will be able to resolve its issues and come to a consensus on the tenth street approach and then the next step is to secure federal funds to make it happen in the next few years.