Thirty one million in rail money means about 200 jobs for Missourians. MoDOT’s Rod Massman says Missouri’s been awarded federal recovery money for rail improvements.

High Speed Rail

(L-R) Gov. Nixon, Ed Montgomery, Rep. Russ Carnahan Photo by UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Massman says this will improve Amtrak and Union Pacific traffic through our state. Illinois also secured about a billion dollars to make rail improvements from St. Louis to Chicago.

The goal of the improvements is to get hubs on the fast track to high-speed rail.

Installing a second rail bridge over the Osage River, a crossover in Kirkwood and improving crossing safety at 15 other locations is the first step to high-speed in the future.

Massman says the railroad industry is a slightly down right now in terms of the number of trains running, but once the economy improves it’ll go back up.

The money comes from $8 billion dollars in federal recovery funding. MoDOT’s Rod Massman says Missouri applied for the competitive grant money for shovel-ready projects.

The immediate goal is to improve on-time performance for Union Pacific and Amtrak. The eventual goal is to run trains at 110 miles per hour. The top speed now is about 79.

The A train ride from Kansas City to St. Louis takes about five and a half hours. Department of Transporation officials are working to shave that down to about four. Then it would only be another four hours to Chicago.

“This will keep on-time performance going because the infrastructure will be there support much more train fluidity than is out there right now,” Massman says. “What we’re doing is laying the hgroundwork now to get the capacity in there — double tracks, safe crossings — once that basic infrastructure is set, then you move to increased speeds and, absolutely, that is our goal.”