Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Amtrak cleared for HrSR speeds in Midwest

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Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation have received federal approval to increase maximum speeds of Amtrak trains in western Michigan and northern Indiana to 110 mph, following successful installation and testing of a Positive Train Control system on Amtrak-owned trackage between Kalamazoo, Mich., and Porter, Ind., part of its Chicago-to-Detroit service route.

"This is the first expansion of regional high-speed rail outside the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor," Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman said. "With our partners in Michigan, we will extend this 110 mph service from Kalamazoo to the state's central and eastern regions in the coming years."

Amtrak began raising speeds on this corridor from 79 mph in 2001 to 90 mph in 2002 and to 95 mph in 2005. Sustained operations at 110 mph on services like the Wolverine (pictured) will shave 10 minutes from the 95 mph schedules and about 20 minutes from the 2001 schedules on the Amtrak-owned segment of the corridor, one of the few significant stretches of right-of-way owned by Amtrak outside the Northeast.

The PTC technology is GE Transportation's ITCS (Incremental Train Control System).