As Alton prepares to open new train station, high-speed rail poised to start in the fall

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ALTON, IL (KTVI) - Plans are on track for a new high-speed rail travel on Amtrak.

The upgraded system will run from St. Louis to Chicago. Starting in the fall of 2017 people will be able to get on the Amtrak in St. Louis and it will take about 4.5 hours to get to Chicago instead of current 5.5-hour trip.

Illinois Department of Transportation started work on a new high speed rail train in 2010.

The goal of the project is to update the 260 miles of tracks between St. Louis and Chicago. By doing so trains will be able to run at 110 mph, instead of current 79 mph.

An IDOT spokesperson said they have replaced old wooden ties with concrete ones and are finishing up building a brand-new Amtrak station in Alton.

With higher speeds IDOT is also upping their safety protocols. The spokesperson said they are installing new crossing gates that are four wide instead of two so no vehicles can drive around them.  Also, they are building fencing along the tracks so people can’t walk onto them.

The spokesperson said the price of an Amtrak ticket to Chicago should not change when the high-speed system goes into effect.