Myself and some of the other regulars on Amtrak No. 340 headed from Milwaukee to Chicago had a toast from the beverage cart last night.
Thursday’s announcement that Wisconsin will receive $822 million of the $8 billion in federal dollars marked for rail projects came as good news for those of us who use the route for a living. (And I know what you’re thinking, “You travel from Chicago to Milwaukee every day to write this? Get a hobby!”)
High-speed rail (which still won’t be high speed compared with Japan and Europe) is something everyone who commutes daily has long longed for.
Right now, the trip from Milwaukee to Chicago takes about an hour and a half—not bad compared with the hassles of driving.
But it could be better.
The Milwaukee-to-Chicago spur stands to receive $12 million for rail and safety improvements. Currently, Amtrak’s max speed reaches 79 miles an hour. After moving to “high-speed rail,” trains will approach 110 miles an hour. If I did the math correctly (and I probably didn’t since I’m a journalism major), that would cut the trip between the two cities to about an hour. That might not sound like much, but it buys me an hour a day, five hours a week and 260 or so hours (again, math, but I didn’t account for weekends, holidays, etc.)
So never mind the federal dollars, which we’ll pay for eventually, at least yesterday’s announcement will give me more time to concentrate on this blog … or get a hobby.
Ahh, someday: The only “high-speed” rail in the U.S., Amtrak’s Azalea.