Stadelman hosts passenger rail town hall tonight, Aug. 27

Staff Report

Anyone interested in learning more about passenger rail service between Rockford and Chicago is encouraged to attend an Amtrak Town Hall Meeting hosted by Illinois State Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford. The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 27, in the auditorium of the Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman St., Rockford.

Stadelman has invited Illinois Department of Transportation experts to give a 45-minute report on the status of the $223 million project. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Passenger rail service to and from Chicago holds tremendous potential for economic growth and enhanced quality of life in the Rockford area,” Stadelman said. “The public is excited about the prospect of a rail link with Chicago, and I think it is important to keep the public fully informed and to involve as much public input as possible.”

Construction is expected to begin in October 2014, with one daily round trip anticipated to be running by the end of 2015, two daily round trips by the end of 2016, and eventual service to Dubuque, Iowa. Amtrak will provide the restored Intercity Passenger Rail (IPR) service from Chicago to Rockford, using Metra and Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Track and bridge upgrades, increased capacity, a layover facility, a UP/Metra connection and new stations — including one in Rockford — are among the improvements being funded through Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Program.

IDOT Project Manager Elliot Ramos will lead an overview discussion of Amtrak service and preparation work before fielding questions with Stadelman and other transportation, engineering and municipal representatives.

Posted Aug. 27, 2014

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