Safety regulators get up for higher train speeds in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Safety regulators have started warning motorists of faster trains along a high-speed rail corridor in Illinois months before Amtrak service at up to 110 mph is set to begin.

The State Journal-Register reports that new safety improvements include crossing gates, signals that communicate with train crews, vehicle sensors in pavement and signs warning of train speeds over 80 mph.

Illinois Commerce Commission rail safety program administrator Mike Stead says the improvements are a regulatory heads-up to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who are used to years of trains operating at much slower speeds.

Illinois transportation officials have set a goal of Amtrak speeds up to 110 mph on much of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor in 2017.

Data from the commission shows that there were more than 140 rail collisions at Illinois crossings in 2015.