Amtrak Hiawatha upgrade of up to $200M would add three routes per day

MILWAUKEE -- Increased rush hour ridership on Amtrak's Hiawatha passenger rail route has Wisconsin and Illinois planning major upgrades to add up to three new round trips per day.

A public hearing on the project is scheduled for Oct. 27 in Milwaukee, and local officials hope to have federal approval for the project sometime this winter, said Arun Rao, passenger rail implementation manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“Ridership has nearly doubled since we went to seven round trips in 2003,” Rao said.

The project will increase Amtrak’s Hiawatha service from seven to 10 round trips per day between Milwaukee and Chicago. They would have a top speed of 79 miles per hour, the same as current service.

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