February 14th, 2012 - Drew Dowdell - CheersandGears.com
Michiganers will soon be able to get around a little faster without risking a speeding ticket. The US Department of Transportation has approved Amtrak to run 80 miles of the 97 mile section between Kalamazoo, MI and Porter, IN at 110mph, the first such service outside of Amtrak's North East Corridor. This move comes after the successful implementation of Incremental Train Control System (ITCS) along this section of the route. The two routes that use this section of line are Amtrak's thrice round trip daily Wolverine service, service Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Pontiac to the east and Chicago to the west, and the Amtrak Blue Water train with daily service east to Lansing and Port Huron and west to Chicago.
Amtrak began upgrading this line above the Federal speed limit of 79mph in 2001 to 90mph with an additional limit increase to 95mph in 2005. The new 110mph service will take 10 minutes off the current schedule and is an improvement of 20 minutes over the 79mph schedule.
Amtrak President Joseph Boardman pointed out that this is just the first of two 110mph spokes from Chicago, the other being a planned line from Chicago to St. Louis. Further development of the Michigan line will include 110mph service from Kalamazoo to Dearborn
Amtrak ended its fiscal year 2011 in October with a record 30.18 million riders. The Blue Water and Wolverine ridership ended the fiscal year up 18.6% and 4.4% respectively. Revenues for the trains were up 22.3% and 11%.
Updated schedules are to be announced at a later date.
Source: Amtrak Media Relations