Clean Transport amtrak

Published on December 1st, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


Amtrak Accelerating Its High-Speed Rail Service

December 1st, 2012 by  

Amtrak ridership on its four Illinois routes has surged by 75% (totaling 2.1 million users) in only six years. This might be why it has decided to increase the speed of its high-speed rail service between Chicago and St. Louis, which is aimed at reducing travel time by up to an hour (20%).

This would be good for the busy holiday season!


Ridership on the Chicago–St. Louis route alone has actually doubled in this time period.

“This next generation rail system gives passengers a safer, more reliable way to travel across Illinois and connect with family this holiday season,” Illinois Governor Quinn said in a news release on the matter. “Today’s announcement demonstrates significant progress on this major transportation initiative that will continue to boost Illinois’ economy and make sure our state has the best rail system in the nation.”

The Chicago–St. Louis route is 284 miles, with trips currently taking 5 hours.

On a 15-mile stretch, the train increases its speed to 110 MPH, and it maintains a speed of 79 MPH for most of the remaining distance.

The increase of travel speed actually improves throughput because more trips can be made in a day, so more people can be picked up.

In other words: reducing travel time by half theoretically means that Amtrak can make approximately twice as many trips, and hence, transport twice as many people.

Apart from that, higher speeds make mass transit more attractive to potential riders.

Amtrak’s services have also been undergoing other smaller upgrades, such as improved signaling systems, as well as other miscellaneous technological and safety advancements.

Hopefully, Amtrak won’t increase its rates to compensate for any efficiency degradation that may have been caused by the speed increase.

Source: Inhabitat
Image: Amtrak Train via spirit of america /

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Perich

    amtrak traveling at the speed of 110MPH is excelent, 110MPH on american land without getting pulled over by a highway patrol and get a speeding ticket, and don’t have to deal with holiday traffic on interstate as well, lets do that to the rest of this country please.

    • 😀

      tbh, i finally rode Amtrak in my mid- to late-20s (when visiting the US from Europe), after years of hearing how horrible it was, and I discovered that it was totally awesome. the leg room is insane (makes a plane seem like a sardine can). easy to get up, walk around, do whatever. very comfy. and “time flew,” as they say.

  • gnhistory

    I hope you learn how to spell Amtrak correctly.

  • legacylife

    Are the tracks still owned by the freight lines? The last time I booked on Amtrak, my passenger train never showed! I was told at the station that they are often late, or don’t show at all, with no warning, because freight takes precedence. I don’t see the point of paying the same for train service as you do for air service, to get the same lack of service.

    • This is, unfort, a major issue in some parts of the country. I’ve never experienced it, by my mom & sister have.

  • Chris V

    If they do the 284 miles in 4 hours, that means traveling at 71 MPH. That’s no faster than going by car.

    Currently trains sprint from one small city to the next small city, eventually ending at their destinations. That’s fine for service at the small cities.

    Amtrak needs to add intercity service. That’s service that bypasses all the tiny cities. It instead connects the major cities. Then, lines which run from Chicago to St Louis can run at 80-110 MPH for longer than 15 mile stretches.

  • savaskys

    The entire Union Pacific line from Dwight to Alton has been

    rehabbed with new rail … new concrete ties and new signalling.
    They are required to have positive control working over the
    entire distance before they can raise the speed on the remainder
    of the route from Pontiac to Alton. There are still political

    problems with how the route will go around Springfield.
    In other words they don’t want to lose a lot of time

    poking along through Springfield.

  • bridgebuilder78

    Amtrack does NOT have high-speed rail service. Full stop.

  • bridgebuilder78


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