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The Chicago-St. Louis route would be almost entirely over extremely flat agricultural land. If routed correctly, the only challenges would be crossing some rural highways and floodplains. In order to really take advantage of HSR, one would hope that politics wouldn't require silly stops in e.g. Springfield or Champaign. Chicago seems to make a lot of sense as a hub for a new rail network of this sort, but one suspects third-city bias will prevent that.

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