QC Rail Organizes Special Train Visit to the Wyanet Connection 

The Iowa Interstate train arrives at the Wyanet 
Connection for the QC Rail Site Visit.

Participants see firsthand how the BNSF tracks 
cross over the IAIS without a connection.

Mike Franke, Amtrak, explains the work needed to construct the Wyanet Connection.

QC Rail participants return to the Quad Cities.

It’s full speed ahead for Quad Cities Amtrak service as a result of the Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition's site visit to the Wyanet Connection on November 10th.  State legislators, Congressional staff members, and local elected and community officials gained firsthand knowledge of what is needed to make Quad Cities Amtrak service a reality.  QC Rail is asking state and federal legislators to utilize this information and experience to aggressively seek funding for the Quad Cities route. 

QC Rail has identified the Wyanet Connection as the most critical infrastructure improvement needed to expand Amtrak service on the preferred route from Chicago to the Quad Cities. While many people have heard of this connection, few have ever visited the site.  Thanks to the Iowa Interstate Railroad, who provided the Abraham Lincoln and Hawkeye trains, QC Rail was able to organize this unique event. George Weber, IDOT Railroad Bureau Chief, and Mike Franke, Amtrak’s Assistant Vice President for State Partnerships, informed QC Rail's site visit participants about the work needed to connect the IAIS and BNSF tracks at the Wyanet Connection.  

The Wyanet Connection is located just west of Princeton, where the BNSF’s route is grade-separated over the Iowa Interstate’s main track. Essentially, there currently is no connecting track between the two lines, which is needed to allow for Amtrak service to expand from Chicago to the Quad Cities.   

Connection Details

  • To permit straightaway train movements, a connection track needs to be constructed in the site's northeast quadrant.

  • Approximately seven acres of land would have to be acquired to accommodate the proposed connection track.

  • The proposed design includes a crossover with powered switches between the two BNSF main tracks just east of the proposed turnout for the connection, and a turnout in the Iowa Interstate’s main track.

  • This design would accommodate a passenger train speed of 50 mph on the short connection.  Train speed is 79 mph before and after the connection.

  • The total cost of this 4000-foot connection is estimated at approximately $5.6 million in 2007 dollars.  Today's estimates range from $6-7 million.

Next Step: The Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition is working with Illinois legislators to request the IL DOT begin work as soon as possible to construct the Wyanet Connection.  QC Rail is advocating for state and federal funding to construct the Wyanet Connection.


© 2007 Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition