A couple of state lawmakers hoping the state’s AMTRAK trains will soon be running faster have gotten a first-hand look at the equipment that might be part of that operation.  But there’s a hitch.

They’re not talking about the 200-miles an hour bullet train.  They’re talking about one that would average about 85 miles an hour from St. Louis to Kansas City, or, eventually, from St. Louis to Springfield someday.

They’ve gone to a Milwaukee rail car manufacturer to look at the kind of equipment the state transportation department would like to use.  But Representative Rory Ellinger of University City says the federal government could be a problem because the federal government might be requiring AMTRAK to buy only double-decker trains.  He says Missouri doesn’t need double-decker cars that will cost more, can’t go as fast, and will be less economical to operate.

Ellinger is a member of the House Interim Committee on Passenger Rail.  He and committee chairman Rick Stream of Kirkwood made their trip to Milwaukee as guest of AMTRAK.

Ellinger says Illinois has finished planning for its 110-mile an hour train from Chicago to St. Louis. He says the goal is to continue those trains across Missouri.

The committee will discuss the issue more next week.

Listen to interview with Rep. Ellinger 9;34 mp3