Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) are gearing up for track improvements along the former Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) route used by Amtrak Wolverine Service and Blue Water trains from Kalamazoo to Central and Eastern Michigan. Amtrak has responsibility for this infrastructure, effective this month. The line is directly connected to the Amtrak-owned Michigan District, which runs 97 miles from Kalamazoo to Porter, Ind. The result is nearly 80 percent of the route between Detroit and Chicago is publically owned and will be maintained for passenger trains at higher speeds. The goal is to expand the 110 mph top speeds for Amtrak trains from the current 80 miles starting eastward with the 22-mile segment between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Travel times will be reduced as more improvements are made in an effort to get the trek down to a five hour trip to the Windy City.