Detroit – The Michigan Department of Transportation says $384 million in track improvements have led to faster train speeds and reduced travel times to Chicago.

Department spokesman Michael Frezell says the Amtrak Wolverine route, which runs from Detroit to Chicago, has reduced transit time by 20 minutes. He says the Blue Water route, which runs from Port Huron to Chicago, has been reduced by about 7 minutes.

The new Amtrak schedule with improved times began Monday.

Construction work began in 2012. Improvements included replacing worn tracks, smoothing out curves, upgrading railroad crossings for increased safety, improving train communications and raising maximum speeds in certain areas.

Michigan received $347 million in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. The state provided the remaining $37.5 million.

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