Chicago-to-Detroit high speed rail lands $196 million for improvements

October 6, 2011

City Room and the Associated Press

Amtrak's Wolverine route from Detroit to Chicago will benefit from federal funding for track improvements.

A high-speed passenger train service between Chicago and Detroit has taken two big steps forward with a $196.5 million federal grant to Michigan and the state's $140 million acquisition of a 135-mile stretch of track.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it has awarded Michigan the funds for signal and track improvements on the rail line between Kalamazoo in western Michigan and Dearborn in suburban Detroit.

Also Wednesday, the state said that it has agreed to buy the tracks between the two cities from Norfolk Southern Railway for $140 million.

The purchase money comes from the U.S. Transportation Department's Federal Railroad Administration, also the funding source for the track improvements.

Officials say the improvements will allow trains to reach 110 miles per hour on the segment - and will reduce travel times and service interruptions between Chicago and Michigan destinations.