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Amtrak says Milwaukee-Chicago ridership is increasing


UNDATED (WSAU) An Amtrak spokesman says more poeple are deciding to skip the crowded highways and take the train to Chicago. Ridership on the Hiawatha service from Milwaukee was up eight percent in December when compared to the year before. That's despite Amtrak seeing flat-to-lower ridership elsewhere across their rail network.

Those numbers offer optimism for the future of high-speed rail service between Madison and Milwaukee. The Milwaukee-to-Chicago track will be upgraded to 110-mile-per-hour operation.

Construction on Milwaukee-Madison route is expected to start later this year, with service offered in 2013. It will have top speeds of 79-miles-per-hour. About 810 million dollars in federal stimulus money will pay for the project.