Illinois to acquire next-generation trains for high speed rail

CHICAGO, IL (KFVS) - Governor Pat Quinn says the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has named Illinois to lead the multi-state acquisition of next-generation locomotives for high-speed rail.

According to the governor, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will lead the effort to acquire least 35 next-generation diesel locomotives for high-speed passenger trains on behalf of five states – Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

"This decision by the federal government is a testament to Illinois' role as a national leader in high-speed rail," Governor Quinn said. "This important multi-state procurement is a key to success for high-speed rail throughout the nation, and I have directed my administration to move forward quickly."

The FRA has allocated $808 million to build the next generation of passenger rail equipment, including 35 new locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars, according to Quinn.

He says IDOT will manage and oversee the procurement, involve the other states in the planning and implementing process.

"We are thrilled in Illinois to have the confidence of the FRA and Governor Quinn as we move forward with this crucial procurement effort," Illinois Secretary of Transportation Ann L. Schneider said. "Our goal is to offer 110-mile-per-hour service on at least 75 percent of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor – the segment from Dwight to Alton – by the end of 2015, and these locomotives are the key to achieving that goal. It takes time to build these complex and powerful engines, however, and we are moving quickly to get this procurement under way as soon as possible."

According to the governor, IDOT was part of a multi-state procurement of the 130 next-generation bi-level rail cars for high-speed service in 2012, an effort led by the state of California.

IDOT is working with the private railroads and FRA to ensure that positive train control requirements and all needed track and crossing improvements are completed in order to expand 110-mph

The state helps fund 28 Amtrak trains serving four corridors including those from Chicago to Milwaukee and St. Louis.

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