The Path Forward
The Midwest’s rich railroad history gives us a great foundation upon which to build a modern transportation network, but it will take a significant investment.
New passing sidings, reconstructed track and new highway overpasses will be required to add frequencies and increase speeds to at least 90 mph.
New, electrified tracks dedicated to very high-speed trains (150 mph - 220 mph) will be needed to achieve truly competitive transit times and hourly service on core routes.
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association advocates for a blended approach, with flexible trainsets using both new sections of dedicated high-speed track and upgraded freight tracks to complete a journey.
Steady federal and state funding is needed to:
Expand and Modernize Amtrak: Partnering with the freight railroads to make trains faster, more frequent and more dependable by using modern, high-performance trainsets. All stations should have several daytime departures to choose from.
Start at the Center: A major expansion of Chicago Union Station, a new railroad station at O’Hare airport, and dedicated passenger tracks leading into and out of Chicago.
220-mph High-Speed Rail Demonstration Project: Two demonstration segments are under study: O’Hare–Chicago–Champaign and Minneapolis/St. Paul–Rochester, Minnesota. We need to step up the pace.