Governor Quinn Announces $223 Million to Restore Chicago to Rockford Amtrak Service

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Governor Pat Quinn announced a $223 million state capital investment that will create hundreds of jobs and restart Amtrak service between Rockford and Chicago beginning in 2015. The return of passenger rail to Rockford for the first time since 1981 will begin with one round trip daily between Chicago’s Union Station and a temporary station located in Rockford. Service will be expanded the following year and will eventually continue west to Dubuque, Iowa. The projects are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

The announcement is possible because following two years of negotiations, the state of Illinois has decided to switch to a new route, utilizing tracks owned by Metra and the Union Pacific Railroad. The new northern route was selected following lengthy negotiations with the Canadian National Railway, whose tracks were originally chosen for the service. Switching to the new tracks will ensure that service begins in 2015 and isn’t held up by continued delays.

The new route will use Metra’s Milwaukee District-West Line and connect to the Union Pacific Railroad near Big Timber Road in Elgin. The Rockford station will be temporarily located at 703 Seventh Street on the east side of the Rock River, while IDOT and the city continue to develop a permanent Main Street station on the river’s west side. Governor Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin dedicated $3 million in state and federal funding in 2012 in develop this new, multi-modal station. Stops also are being planned for Elgin, Huntley and Belvidere.

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