30.6.09

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN.

Trains for America picks up a Chicago Tribune story about a super-interurban connecting Chicago and St. Louis by way of Urbana and Springfield.
The trip between Champaign and Chicago would take 45 minutes; and 90 minutes between Springfield and Chicago, the study said. The study estimated the cost of building the 220-m.p.h. Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor at $11.5 billion in 2012 dollars. It does not include the cost of new trains, maintenance facilities and other expenses.

Construction of IDOT's 110-m.p.h. plan from Chicago to St. Louis is estimated to cost $2 billion, officials said. But the association's study said the straight and level railroad alignments in Illinois provide "ideal conditions for implementing fast operation at reasonable cost."
The idea dates to 1894.
Ground will be broken for the Chicago and St. Louis Electric Railroad, it is said, on May 1. Twenty miles of the road from Alpine Heights into [Chicago] are to be built.
In the early days of electric railroading, somebody, possibly the Dr. Wellington Adams named in the article, envisioned a 100 mph electric railroad on a straight course between Chicago and St. Louis. I saw a woodcut depicting such a four-track railroad in some traction history, possibly Trolley Car Treasury. (It's a different proposal from the Chicago - New York Electric Air Line.)

The Midwest High Speed Rail proposal deviates from the existing Amtrak line that uses the Alton Route. The Illinois Central line between Chicago and Champaign used to be a fast railroad, and the current station at Champaign is the former Illinois Terminal station. Although the Illinois Terminal got out of Champaign during the Depression, it offered service to Decatur, Springfield, and St. Louis, latterly with these streamliners.



The Illinois Traction Society sells art prints of these streamliners, including one of a two-car train vaulting over Route 66.

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