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Major Amtrak improvements scheduled for Spring

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The state is close to finishing a deal with a freight rail company to buy a 140 mile stretch of track between Detroit and Chicago.

The Department of Transportation and Amtrak are planning some big maintenance projects for the three major Michigan routes in the coming months.

Janet Foren is with the M-DOT. She says the partnership between the department and Amtrak to improve the routes is vital for the future of efficient rail travel in Michigan.

"We will see all new cars on Amtrak routes in the next few years that work is obviously going to keep people working. And also as the maintenance along the tracks is taking place that's going to keep people working as well."

Foren says, "It's important for the state of Michigan to have control of this route now and we'll be able to make the upgrades that are necessary to keep this ridership in tact and also protect it for freight business."

Improvements are expected to begin as early as this spring between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek where trains will be able to travel as fast as 110 miles an hour.

It is estimated over 800,000 passengers used the three Michigan routes last year.

-Lindsay Hall, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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