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In this Feb. 6 file photo, a southbound Lincoln Service Amtrak passenger train arrives at Normal's Uptown Station. The south platform can be seen at right.

NORMAL — High-speed rail work will shut down some trains from Normal to Chicago and to St. Louis on April 3.

"Track work will affect the Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle between Chicago and St. Louis, with chartered buses replacing trains in some instances," according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

That includes Lincoln Service trains 300, 301, 302 and 303, which will be replaced by buses.

"All buses will depart earlier than the respective trains," according to IDOT. "Trains 304, 305, 306 and 307 will run on their normal schedules."

For the Texas Eagle, trains 321 and 322 will be canceled, and northbound train 22/422 and southbound train 21/421 won't stop between Chicago and St. Louis.

Even-numbered trains run north from Normal, and odd-number trains run south. Lower-numbered trains run earlier in the day.

"Customers traveling to or from (Normal) can make reservations aboard available Lincoln Service trains or buses," according to the agency. "The Texas Eagle may encounter delays of up to 45 minutes traveling on the detour."

Meanwhile, track and street crossing construction necessary for trains capable of running up to 110 mph to run through Normal is almost over, and service is still on schedule to start this year, a state official said Friday.

Crossing upgrades, which frequently closed intersections across uptown over the past year, are set to end next month when tracks on eastbound College Avenue between Linden and Walnut streets reopen April 17 after six months of work, according to an Illinois Department of Transportation website.

"Delays on the College Avenue crossing were caused by multiple utility relocations including water, sewer and multiple fiber utility lines,"  said Kelsea Gurski, communications services bureau chief for IDOT.

What's more, the second rail platform at Uptown Station, called the south platform by town officials, "is scheduled to be put into use by the end of April." Passengers using that platform will need to cross the tracks at Linden Street or Broadway Avenue until the town builds a rail crossing directly to the station.

"Trains will begin running at higher speeds between Joliet and Alton by the end of 2017," she said.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Normal and McLean County Reporter

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