CHICAGO (AP) — Amtrak travel between Chicago and St. Louis is about to get 15 minutes quicker thanks to a high-speed rail project allowing trains to reach speeds of 110 mph (177 kph), Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday.
The higher speeds take effect June 26 and will reduce the duration of the trip from the current five hours and 13 minutes. Trips from St. Louis to Chicago are a few minutes shorter, according to Amtrak timetables.
Existing maximum speeds on the route are 90 mph (144.8 kph).
In addition to increasing speeds, the $1.96 billion project also provided safety improvements at 212 grade crossings, Pritzker said.
"The railway has always been a vital component of our state's infrastructure, but today we are taking a major step in modernizing rail services," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said.
Funding for the project includes $1.66 billion in federal funding, primarily through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant awarded that year, and $300 million in state and non-federal funds.
The project broke ground in 2010 and was completed in 2018. But it has gone through several years of test runs.