Amtrak gets OK for 110 mph trains in part of Michigan

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Amtrak announced Monday it will increase the maximum speed of its trains along a 45-mile stretch between Kalamazoo and Albion next week and restore an additional Pontiac/Detroit-Chicago Wolverine Service round trip this summer.

The federal government granted approval to Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation to increase maximum speeds of Amtrak Midwest trains to 110 miles per hour between stations in Kalamazoo and Albion.

Michigan is getting a speed-up on part of Amtrak's route in Michigan.

"Michigan will have the first state-owned rail corridor with passenger trains travelling up to 110 mph," State Transportation Director Paul Ajegba said in a release. "I am proud of the partnership and hard work among MDOT, Amtrak, and its contractors to modernize this vital rail corridor. Passengers will truly benefit from the safety and reliability this important work has provided."   

Accelerated speeds between Kalamazoo and Albion will be effective May 25 and follow infrastructure improvements and testing. This is another phase of accelerated speed increases for Amtrak along the Detroit/Pontiac-Chicago corridor. The train service can run at up to 110 miles per hour on an Amtrak-owned track between Porter, Ind., and Kalamazoo. 

"This expansion of 110 mph service is a major milestone in developing one of the high-performance 'spokes' of our Amtrak Midwest hub, centered in Chicago," said Joe Shacter, Amtrak senior manager for the state-sponsored corridors. 

Also announced Monday was an additional Pontiac/Detroit-Chicago Wolverine Service round trip returning July 19. The Wolverine has been operating with one daily round trip following the temporary suspension of two other trips in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN