First high-speed rail trip in IL to happen later this month

2012-10-10T17:41:00Z First high-speed rail trip in IL to happen later this monthBy Mary Ann Ford |

NORMAL — State officials are gearing up for an inaugural run this month on the new high-speed rail tracks from Joliet to Normal.

Gov. Pat Quinn said during a Tuesday media briefing that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood would be joining him Oct. 19 for a train ride on the high-speed rail stretch.

Josh Kauffman, spokesman for IDOT, said the high-speed rail corridor project is “moving forward as planned” and “we are working diligently to finalize logistical particulars of the anticipated 110 mph demonstration.”

Normal City Manager Mark Peterson said state workers coordinating the project met with him recently and said the inaugural run would take place in a refurbished Amtrak passenger car. The train is not expected to reach speeds of 110 mph the entire trip.

Peterson said the train and all of the dignitaries onboard are expected to be at Normal’s Uptown Station about 12:45 p.m. Oct. 19.  Several people, including Quinn, LaHood and Normal Mayor Chris Koos will speak on the station platform.

According to the Illinois high-speed rail website, a 14-mile segment between Dwight and Pontiac has been designated by IDOT and Union Pacific Railroad as the initial test segment and that the inaugural run is expected to take place in October.

Union Pacific installed new ties and rails along the Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak route as part of a $1.5 billion upgrade to make way for high-speed trains. About 115,000 of the 495,000 nearly new concrete ties were replaced this summer because they did not meet durability standards, according to Union Pacific.

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(15) Comments

  1. Jose
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    Jose - October 11, 2012 12:27 pm

    If that's all there was to being an "old hippie", you fail miserably. Again. It would in part account for your complete moral and physical decay, but once again, you are playing a persona because you cannot live a genuine, real life hiding in mommy's basement with your little ducks, sucking on your gummint giveaways, pretending...pretending...forever pretending...

  2. jster
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    jster - October 11, 2012 9:53 am
    Or maybe muskaffon is just someone who prefers large, comfortable seats, the ability to move around easily and stretch out, large and multiple bathrooms, no luggage fees and no absurd invasive security tactics. Earlyriser, if you actually rode the train you'd discover that there are all sorts of folks who ride it -- including lots of higher income folks who just plain out prefer it to the incredible hassle that is modern air travel.
  3. jster
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    jster - October 11, 2012 9:27 am
    So do you expect out other transportation systems to be profitable as well, or only passenger rail? We've spent billions and continue to on subsidizing the non-profitable highway and air travel systems -- does that outrage you as well? If mass usage per mile is your criteria then all smaller airports and all highways (esp interstates!) outside of major urban areas are, following your logic, horrendously socialistic. Can I expect to se you protesting this outrage soon?
  4. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - October 11, 2012 7:14 am
    If you actually did some research you would find that passenger rail service has and is a losing propositon for riders and those millions of taxpayers funding it. Here are a couple of links you should check out, people who know what they are talking about.
  5. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - October 11, 2012 7:04 am
    Wrong again Towanda. I bought several bed spreads from the real "Mother Murphy" when that was all she had for sale at her little place on the corner of Oadland and McLun Streets. I have attended over 200 original Dead shows and was married in an autographed Jerry Garcia t-shirt. I do not do any drugs and take no prescription medication. The fact I am an old hippie is where my passion comes from to confront and address big government spending and waste of taxpayer dollars. You know those give a way programs that you hold so near and dear.
  6. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - October 11, 2012 6:55 am
    If you prefer to ride the train from Chicago to Michigan rather than fly, you are low income honey.
  7. Crybaby
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    Crybaby - October 11, 2012 4:42 am
    Josh Kauffman: 'we are working diligently to finalize logistical particulars of the anticipated 110 mph demonstration.'

    'The train is not expected to reach speeds of 110 mph the entire trip.'

    That's o.k. Because if the train can get a running start, and somehow (perhaps, for example, with the use of attached JATO bottles) manage 110 m.p.h if only between the MultiMogul Center and the north side of the Linden St. crossing near Downtown UppityTown, just think of all the prayers answered in the affirmative.

  8. Jose
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    Jose - October 10, 2012 11:30 pm
    Earlyriser is not a hippie, though he could be stoned, or drunk, or off his meds again.

    Most of his problem is psychological in nature, and leaves him unable to understand life as it IS rather than as he wishes it would be.
  9. Ryder
    Report Abuse
    Ryder - October 10, 2012 8:49 pm
    Question earlyriser54. Are you a hippie from the 70's who has been stoned for thirty plus years and have no grasp of life in 2012 or are you that f*@#%ing stupid?
  10. over50
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    over50 - October 10, 2012 8:30 pm
    Three years ago I had the dubious honor to take the train to St Louis for medical purposes It made it there once. The engine broke down in Lincoln after a fantastic three hours and we were bussed back to Normal. Missed that appointment. Made it the second time but the third trip again was halted in Springfield with engine failure and five hours of ten to fifteen miles per hour. Missed appointment number two. From then on I had a friend drive me down to the hospital.
    You have tracks for one hundred miles an hour and equipment good for nowhere near that. If and I sat if it works it will save maybe twenty minutes off the time $1.5 billion for that is stupid. Hope they make it in their refurbished rail car.
  11. clg4899
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    clg4899 - October 10, 2012 7:41 pm
    All true. Some advertise their limitations of knowledge, experience and understanding in favor of their ignorance.
  12. clg4899
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    clg4899 - October 10, 2012 7:24 pm
    Get real! Your view is limited to a rare exception locally. Try to get a seat the day of your trip and see how empty the trains are. Then go to any large city and understand how many cars are not being driven because of the availability of the train. You need to get up earlier and expand your viewpoint. Ignorance is bliss
  13. miskaffon
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    miskaffon - October 10, 2012 7:02 pm
    over50 & earlyriser54: if you hate the train that much, and don't ride it, how do you know who it benefits? I ride often because of family in Michigan. If I'm going by myself, it is FAR more economical to ride on the train rather than face Chicago traffic, plus I don't have to go by myself. I'm not low income, and in fact I'm a Libertarian. But in all cases, if I had a choice between car and train I know which I would always pick all things being equal. And dodging idiot drivers, well, sorry but it's no contest!!! Oh, and those "empty" cars are SOLD OUT on a regular basis. I know this from trying to get my tickets; it gets pretty difficult any less than a week or two out. And the demographics? In general it's students, families, young couples, old couples...well, anyone.
  14. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - October 10, 2012 6:28 pm
    With the exception of week end travel of Amtrak by college students, Amtrak has more empty seats than the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. That been established what difference does it make to the taxpayers if the "Amtrak Eagle" flies at a rate of 65 mph. or at 90 mph? And the answer is, none what so ever. This high speed rail and rail car renovation is a pet project of liberal progressives and it is designed to make lower and middle income Americans dependent on mass transit. It is a long term goal of the progressive left to increase dependence on mass transit and public transportation, in order to make more Americans dependent on government. However there is a real problem for these socialists. AMERICANS LOVE THEIR CARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This high speed rail, renovated train car initiative has been HUGELY REJECTED by Americans. Give it up Trick Durbin, and Barak Hussien; we want to be transportaionally independent. If you were as in touch with Americans as you claim to be though, you would already know that.
  15. over50
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    over50 - October 10, 2012 6:24 pm
    What a total waste of money that was.
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