11 months, 2 weeks ago by Peoria Public Radio
Could add more trips for Chicago to Carbondale line
Amtrak will begin looking into expanded service on one of its main Illinois routes, at the behest of Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.
In 2006, Amtrak added trips from Chicago to Quincy, and from Chicago through Bloomington and Springfield to St. Louis. At that time, Amtrak also expanded service for the line that runs through eastern part of the state to southern Illinois.
Spokesman Marc Magliari says in each case, travelers responded; ridership increased. Magliari says Amtrak will begin to look into the possibility of additional trips on that Chicago to Carbondale service, in response to a letter from two of Illinois' top Democrats.
"There are days the train sells out. There are days you can walk into the Illinois Terminal station, which is the name of the station in Champaign, and see the waiting room overflowing. So there certainly is a lot of demand."
The letter from Sen. Durbin and Gov. Quinn says a formal study is necessary for future expansion. It cites a huge increase in the number of passengers taking Amtrak. While ridership in Illinois overall went up almost 85 percent between 2006 and last year, the Chicago to Carbondale line saw ridership rise 117 percent.