Metro-East News

New St. Louis-Chicago Amtrak engines will cut travel time by an hour

One of the new Amtrak locomotives.
One of the new Amtrak locomotives.

New Amtrak locomotives will hit speeds of 125 mph, with better braking and faster acceleration, the Illinois Department of Transportation says.

Routes, which the faster trains are already serving, include the Lincoln Service, between Chicago and St. Louis, which takes about 5 hours and 40 minutes. According to an Associated Press report, that travel time could be trimmed to 4 1/2 hours.

Each locomotive has a Midwest-made 4,400-horsepower Cummins diesel engine and is manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento. They are expected to reduce fuel costs and be quieter than the previous engines.

Federal funding of $216.5 million bought the engines but is also going to rebuilding tracks, new or upgraded stations and other rail travel improvements.

The 12 locomotives also serve routes from Illinois to Wisconsin and Michigan. Another 21 locomotives are expected to be on the rails in January, serving California and Washington as well as Midwest locations.