Amtrak | WGLT

Amtrak

Tim Butler / Facebook

State and city officials gathered Tuesday to celebrate the completion of renovations to the Amtrak station in downtown Lincoln, the latest along the Chicago-St. Louis route to see improvements.

Dania De La Hoya / WGLT

Here are the top stories we covered this week (Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 2017) on WGLT and WGLT.org.

Staff / WGLT

Plans to introduce new, high-speed rail passenger cars in Illinois are in motion, but a spokesperson for Amtrak says it could be two or three more years before they are in place.

Train in Uptown Normal
WGLT

Amtrak passengers on their way to Chicago were taken off their train in Lincoln on Friday as authorities investigated suspicious items that someone left behind.

Train in Uptown Normal
WGLT

The biggest threat to Amtrak passenger rail service is probably a proposal in Congress to eliminate long-distance routes, according to Normal’s mayor.

Katherine Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

A new Pontiac Rail Station has opened to Amtrak service. State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said this is the latest of several station improvements on the Chicago to Saint Louis Corridor that will improve performance on the high speed rail corridor.   

“After years of construction along one of the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country, the benefits are beginning to show with beautiful new stations in our state’s great communities,” Secretary Blankenhorn said.

Architect's drawing of a park and railroad tracks south of Uptown Station in Normal.
Drawing courtesy of Ratio Architects

A little more than two years after the town of Normal included a nearly $13 million underpass in its Uptown 2.0 plan based on community feedback,  a consultant hired to look at the feasibility is also recommending a wide underpass and park as the safest and best option for accessibility and economic development.

Underpass Study Will Be A 'Public, Dynamic Process'

Oct 3, 2016
Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council approved an engineering study that will examine the proposed underpass at Uptown Station more closely. The study will cost the town over $1.4 million and take about two years. City Manager Mark Peterson said people will be able to be actively involved in the study.

Two-year Underpass Study Could Move Forward

Oct 2, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Normal Town Council members will consider a $1.4 million engineering study for the proposed underpass at Uptown Station. Funding for the study was approved as part of the town's budget for this year.

Michael Gorman

Elena Studier arrived at the 3rd floor WGLT studios by bike, rolling it off the elevator and down the hall.  Not surprising since she's using her bike to explore communities located along passenger rail corridors across the country.

    The Normal Town Council has approved the Destihl Brewery expansion site plan Monday night. The 6 acre expansion will be located on the East Side of Greenbriar Drive, North of Shepard Road, and will include a 47,000 square foot building with brewing, distribution, and event space. The new facility has the potential to more than double the current brewing capacity of Destihl. Councilman Jeff Fritzen was excited to see Destihl keep their business in the community.

Town of Normal

The Town of Normal is hiring two consultants to help secure federal TIGER funding for a probable underpass beneath the tracks near Uptown Station. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Chris Koos told Mike McCurdy the Town's eventual application is not in competition with a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant application from the City of Bloomington to fund the Hamilton Road extension project.

Record Number Of Travelers This Holiday

Dec 21, 2015

"Dead Man's Curve" (note hand painted center line)Credit unknown / Michigan State Highway DepartmentEdit | Remove

Over the next couple of weeks, 100-Million Americans plan on traveling, and 90% of them will do so in a car or truck. Beth Mosher  of the Triple A motor club says even in Illinois, a state with plenty of air and rail travel options, most prefer traveling in an automobile.

Illinois Amtrak Ridership Drops

Dec 14, 2015

Amtrak says that its passenger numbers in Illinois fell to about 1.3 million in the latest fiscal year, or a decline of about 4 percent.  The passenger rail service attributes the drop to low gasoline prices and high-speed rail construction between Chicago and St. Louis. The construction forced periodic use of chartered buses on the route.  

Normal Approves 'Uptown 2.0'

Nov 17, 2015
Brad Basham Photography / bbasham.com and Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council is moving forward with Uptown 2.0. Council members approved the master plan update presented last September. 

Amtrak Chi-Indy Run Grows

Oct 27, 2015
Russel Sekeet / Wikipedia

The Chicago company that now runs the Amtrak line between Indianapolis and Chicago has big plans for the route.