Today, Brightline launched passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando, the fastest passenger rail service in the U.S. outside of the Northeast. Brightline will offer 16 round trips a day on the 235-mile corridor, with the trip taking about 3 1/2 hours, and...
Gov. Pritzker re-affirms support for Chicago Hub Improvement Program
On August 3, at an event near Amtrak’s Chicago rail yard, Governor Pritzker announced his support for the Chicago Hub Improvement Program (CHIP). This would fix Chicago Union Station and connect it to two potential passenger-focused mainlines. Amtrak has already applied to the federal government for investment in CHIP, which would benefit people in communities all over the country that are served by Chicago’s hub.
Then, on Sunday, the Chicago Tribune published an outstanding editorial setting new expectations for Midwestern trains by comparing Brightline Florida’s soon-to-launch hourly service linking Orlando to Miami to the paltry service offered in the Detroit, Milwaukee, and St. Louis corridors.
We are excited to see the Tribune take an aggressive stance in favor of Regional Rail, but it won’t happen without a strong federal program.
Amtrak has announced that it seeks to partner with a private company, Texas Central, to advance the planning and analysis for a roughly 240-mile high-speed line between Dallas and Houston. The line would cut travel times between the cities by more than half (versus driving), to 90 minutes. The main artery between the cities, I-45, is among the most congested and deadly in America.
Until Wednesday’s announcement, there had been few updates and little obvious activity since Texas Central won a big legal victory in June 2022.
This is big news, but it wasn’t a total surprise for those who watched our August 4 “brown bag lunch” when we learned that Amtrak has applied for grants from several federal programs to continue design work.
We are very happy that Governor Pritzker and so many others have embraced the concept of running trains through Chicago and to O’Hare. Amtrak’s Chicago Hub Improvement Program sets the stage for making that a reality.
We recently released a new 4-minute video outlining our vision for building upon CHIP to create the foundation for a Midwest high-speed rail network while also creating a modern, crosstown Metra regional rail service.
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Several viewers pointed out that Metra Regional service was represented by a new Hungarian train in the CrossRail video. Here is a YouTube review of the new train: HUNGARY’S NEWEST TRAIN TRIP REPORT
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