30.1.10

MORE TRAINS TO COME. Despite Illinois's parlous fiscal condition, the state has sold sufficient bonds for Governor Quinn to visit Rockford and the Quad Cities to announce capital expenditures for restored passenger train service to Dubuque via Rockford, Freeport, and Galena and to the Quad Cities. These trains will not be the speeded-up conventional trains that received federal grants under the economic stimulus rubric. I've commented on both of these services before: the Rock Island Line less frequently. The most logical routing for both of these services, assuming away issues such as competing freight operators, would be on the Overland Route, with the Rockford service diverging at Rochelle and the Quad Cities service diverging at Clinton, Iowa. That, however, would involve running passenger trains on a 110 mph-capable Union Pacific, a company that would prefer to run 70 mph intermodal trains without any interference. The routing of the Dubuque service east of Rockford is yet to be determined, but at least my fear from last July that wrangling over the route could preclude any trains is allayed for the moment. The proposal currently envisions one train a day (that was the old morning-eastward, evening-westward Black Hawk) which is unlikely to please passenger rail advocates at Northern Illinois University -- see also this post, which includes a splendid video of a 110 mph Hiawatha departing Chicago.

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