Pact Reached for Springfield Rail Improvements

Amtrak and the City of Springfield (Illinois) have reached an agreement for funding a pending relocation of the Chicago-St. Louis route through the capital city of Illinois.

The pact will allow the development of high-speed rail improvements to continue on the Third Street corridor while also seeking to respond to the desire of the city and Sangamon County to move Union Pacific and Amtrak trains to a proposed 10th Street rail corridor over the next decade.

The estimated cost of developing the 10th Street corridor has been placed at $315 million. Work on this corridor is already underway with an underpass at Carpenter Street between Ninth and 11st streets expected to open next year.

Land acquisition has begun for underpasses at Ash and Laurel Streets.

In the meantime, an estimated $30 will be spent to upgrade the Third Street corridor now being used by UP and Amtrak.

That work, which has already gotten underway, will include upgrades to the track, fencing and bridges. The work is expected to be completed by early 2017.

A statement from the office of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said that the details of the funding agreement are expected to be made public within the next few days.

Local and state officials have been talking with Amtrak and railroad officials for years about changing the flow of rail traffic through Springfield.

Amtrak operates eight daily Lincoln Service trains as well as the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle through Springfield. These trains use a route once owned by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.

Some city and county officials have argued that money being allocated to improve the current route used by Amtrak and UP trains would be better spent on developing the 10th Street rail corridor.

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