IDOT: High-speed rail system from CHI to STL could take several -

IDOT: High-speed rail system from CHI to STL could take several more years

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

( -- In March of 2011, Illinois Governor Pat announced the second phase of a high speed rail system that would connect Chicago and the Metro East.

The rail system was supposed to be completed in 2014. But as News 4 has learned the project may not be finished until 2017.

An IDOT spokesman tells News 4 they’re not calling it a delay. Instead, they say they never meant the last phase of the massive $1.5 billion project, connecting Alton to St. Louis, would ever be done by 2014; but rather more like another two or three years beyond that.

North of Litchfield, the new rails are in place. Rails that should be able to handle the high speed train service connecting St. Louis and Chicago.

In fact, most of the stretch across rural central Illinois is where most of the work has been done.

“The high speed rail project is moving forward as planned,” said IDOT Spokesman Josh Kauffman. “The vast majority of the project is slated or expected to be complete sometime in 2015.”

And it seems the $1.5 billion from the federal government will help with moving trains at 110 to 125 miles an hour across the corn fields of Illinois.

As News 4 found out though, the project gets a little tricky when it comes to taking the high speed trains into St. Louis or even Chicago.

Especially the trip from Alton into St. Louis, where a lot more study and work is needed.

“It could be as early as 2016-2017 when it comes to the full project,” said Kauffman

There’s no denying this massive project has put thousands to work and likely will continue to do so for a few more years.

About the same amount of time we’ll have to wait to see the fast trains.

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