The US States of Missouri and Illinois have joined hands to bolster the bid to win funds for a high-speed rail line between the cities of St Louis and Chicago.

The existing St Louis–Chicago rail line runs at less than 80mph and could reach 210mph after renovation, cutting travel time from more than five hours to less than four.

The two states are already among the front runners to win part of $8bn in federal funds meant for high-speed rail.