New locomotives expected to speed Illinois rail service

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CHICAGO (AP) Illinois Transportation officials say faster and more reliable locomotives combined with improved signals and tracks will cut the time it takes an Amtrak passenger train to run from Chicago to St. Louis by one hour.

Amtrak and state officials announced Monday that the acquisition of 12 new locomotives will serve passenger lines from Chicago to Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri.

The locomotives were paid for by $215.6 million in federal funds. Another 21 new locomotives will be delivered by January.

State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the new locomotives will have speeds of up to 110 mph and cut travel time to St. Louis from 5 1/2 hours to 4 1/2 hours.

Track improvements have been made on the St. Louis route. Work also continues on signals.

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