A train once equipped to go 75 miles per hour is now raising the bar to 110.
"A train that's on time, has a good speed, comfortable and affordable, that's what we're doing," said United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "That's what we're celebrating. That's what this is about."
LaHood along with dozens of state, national and local leaders took the first ride on the high speed rail.
"This is even bigger than Illinois. This is really building a first class world class passenger railroad service in the Midwest," said Amtrak Chairman Tom Carper.
It's a larger than life journey that nearly met a dead end five years ago.
"See it going from nearly losing our service to doubling the service and now going to high speeds, it's just progress," Carper added.
These riders say the new corridor is the result of public and private money, new technology, and strong leadership.
"The investment of two billion dollars has created jobs. The reason the trains are going faster is because people worked on putting new infrastructure down," said LaHood.
Each car holds about 60 passengers.
With increasing ridership each year, Amtrak says the high speed rail is a great benefit for the environment.
"You just do the math. Three, four, five, six, seven cars. You can have anywhere from 300 to 500 people on the train depending on the number of cars," said Carper.
With more people on the job making the new rail possible, leaders say it not only helps travelers get places faster, it's also getting the economy back on track.
"We added to the service and what you've seen today is the result," said LaHood.
Once it's finished, the high speed rail will link routes from Chicago to St. Louis.
It's expected to be close to completion by 2015.