AAO Wants Faster Amtrak Trains in Ohio, Indiana

Rail passenger group All Aboard Ohio is seeking to prod public officials in Ohio and Indiana into seeking federal funds to be used to upgrade Amtrak routes in the two states in order to provide higher speeds.

AAO noted that under federal regulations positive train control systems enable passenger trains to exceed the 79 mph speed limit when track conditions and grade crossing safety devices allow it.

Amtrak logoWith railroads hosting Amtrak trains in the two states working to install PTC, AAO said that reconfiguring grade crossing for higher train speeds could enable Amtrak trains to reach sustained speeds of 90 mph.

An AAO policy statement noted that these routes have good track and long tangents.

Grade crossing circuits would needs to be lengthened, which could cost $50,000 per crossing.

The rail group noted that the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Highway Administration have funding that could be tapped to pay for that work.

One particular beneficiary would be the Chicago-New York Cardinal, which has a top speed of 60 mph on its mostly CSX route between Chicago and Cincinnati.

AAO estimated that upgrading grade crossings would cost about $7 million and cut the running time of the Cardinal  by up to an hour.

Reconfiguring the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern used by the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited west of Cleveland would cost about $15 million.

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