UPGRADING of Amtrak’s St Louis - Chicago corridor is set to get under way, with the award of a contract for the installation of Positive Train Control equipment under the AAR-led joint test programme (RG 6.00 p359). On June 21 the federal Department of Transportation announced that a consortium led by Lockheed Martin Corp had been selected to install PTC on the 193 km Mazonia - Springfield section. The consortium includes Wabtec, Union Switch & Signal and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Linked to the UP control centre at Omaha, the installation is intended to demonstrate a cost-effective system and to establish industry standards for PTC interoperability in the US and Canada.

At the same time, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater approved a grant of $6·5m to Illinois Department of Transportation, as part of the 50% federal contribution to the development of a high-speed passenger link between the two cities. IDoT and Amtrak will invite proposals shortly for a fleet of 17 trainsets to operate the Chicago - St Louis and Chicago - Detroit corridors, to be delivered within two years, with an option for 15 more. Adtranz and Talgo are offering a version of the Talgo XXI; other bidders are expected to be Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier.