Midwest rail corridor to receive $53 million for infrastructure upgrades

December 4, 2023

Construction is expected to begin in 2024 on a slate of railroad infrastructure improvements totaling $53 million along the St. Paul-Chicago rail corridor. Currently in the final design phase, the line will add a second daily trip between the pair of Midwest hubs and several stops for previously unconnected rural areas.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $31.8 million in grants for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Intercity Passenger Rail Project (TCMC), with Amtrak contributing an additional $5 million. The Departments of Transportation for Wisconsin (WisDOT) and Minnesota (MnDOT) have committed $6.2 million and $10 million respectively. These agencies, as well as the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and host railroads that own, maintain and dispatch tracks used by other railroads, will partner to complete the project.

The project includes an array of infrastructure upgrades, such as a project in La Crescent, Minnesota, that would realign a track curve and upgrade moveable joints on a swing bridge over the Mississippi River. These improvements will allow for an increase in freight speed across the bridge from 10 to 15 mph.

La Crescent’s River Junction Yard will also receive a new mainline track, turnouts and the conversion of a yard track to a signalized second main track.

The project will improve a depot area in La Crosse, Wisconsin, by restoring a second mainline track, extending the yard lead and reconstructing a passenger platform. Upgrades in Winona, Minnesota, will include rehabilitating existing siding tracks, installing power turnouts and railroad signals, improving at-grade crossings and building connecting tracks.

The TCMC will follow the 411-mile route of Amtrak’s Empire Builder corridor, an existing rail line between Chicago and the Twin Cities. The project will complement the corridor’s schedule and boost flexibility, providing morning and midday departures from Chicago and St. Paul and new intermediate stops.

WisDOT will add stops for the cities of La Crosse, Tomah, Wisconsin Dells, Portage, Columbus and Sturtevant. MnDOT will add additional connections for the cities of Red Wing and Winona, while IDOT will add a stop for the village of Glenview.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to say Winona is in Minnesota.

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. can provide information on contract opportunities, plus existing and future government funding. For more information, contact research@spartnerships.com.

Photo by Milwaukee beerNut

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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