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High-speed train here Feb. 15

Published 11:27pm Monday, February 13, 2012

Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation received federal approval to increase maximum speeds of Amtrak trains in western Michigan and northern Indiana to 110 miles per hour following successful installation and testing of a positive train control safety system on Amtrak-owned track between Kalamazoo and Porter, Ind.
Amtrak and MDOT celebrate the faster service on Wednesday.
“Yesterday I had the opportunity to come from Chicago and it is a different ride,” local Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers member Ron Leatz advised Dowagiac City Council Monday night. “The train with dignitaries should be here at 9:30.
“It’s going to stop in New Buffalo because of the casino and Kalamazoo.”
“They told me from New Buffalo to Kalamazoo would be about 35 minutes,” City Manager Kevin Anderson said.
“This is the first expansion of regional high-speed rail outside the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.
“With our partners in Michigan, we will extend this 110 mph service from Kalamazoo to the state’s central and eastern regions in the coming years.”
“Our state put the world on wheels and continues to be a leading transportation innovator,” according to MDOT state Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle.
“Recognizing changing demographics and a burgeoning interest in passenger rail travel, we are proud to be the first state outside the northeast corridor to enable 110 mph service.”
Amtrak began raising speeds on this corridor from 79 mph in 2001 to 90 mph in 2002 and to 95 mph in 2005.
Sustained operations at 110 mph will shave 10 minutes from the 95 mph schedules and about 20 minutes from the 2001 schedules on the Amtrak-owned segment of the corridor.

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