Today’s Headlines

  • Amtrak Announces Plans to Restore Passenger Service to Rockford (Courier-News)
  • Editorial: Toothless State Ethics Act Provides Cover for Madigan on Metra Patronage (Tribune)
  • Minor Blue Line Derailment Near Cicero Stop Due to Truck Tire on Tracks (Tribune)
  • State Lawmaker Holding Town Hall to Discuss Rehab of Forest Park Branch (RedEye)
  • Cicero Wants Input From Residents on TOD Plan (Suburban Life)
  • Uber Rallies Voters Against State Bill, Tries to Recruit Cabbies (DNA)
  • Driver Charged With DUI After Killing Pedestrian in Des Planes (ABC)
  • SUV Driver Injures 63-Year-Old Pedestrian in Lincoln Square, Flees (Tribune)
  • Work Finally Starts on Milwaukee/Wood Intersection Overhaul (DNA)
  • Devon Streetscape Will Include Road Diet, Wider Sidewalks, Bumpouts (DNA)
  • Divvy Stocking More Bikes in Stations for Spring (CBS)
  • Tips for Choosing Good Bike Commuting Routes (Active Trans)

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  • No Ur Fax

    Re: Amtrak to Rockford

    “A study by Amtrak in 2007 concluded that the South Elgin-Genoa route would be cheapest to start up, would draw the most riders and would be cheapest to operate.”

    Yet they chose to go the more expensive, less populous route. Sounds like business as usual for Illinois politicians and their friends.

  • Fred,0,5594741.story?track=rss

    “The decision followed unsuccessful negotiations to use tracks owned by the Canadian National Railway.”

    Canadian National not wanting to share tracks for a reasonable price was the reason for not choosing that route. It had nothing to do with politics.

  • The derailment link goes to the wrong Tribune story.

  • No Ur Fax

    Maybe in any other state you could believe that. This is a project that had state backing and federal money. It would work up to only 2 round trips a day. They are also continuing to negotiate for future plans, but sure, go ahead and not be the slightest bit skeptical of what an Illinois Democrat says.

  • CL

    The Devon streetscape sounds cool. Right now, crossing Devon is terrifying in both west and east rogers park.

    I wish they would also put some safety measures further east, by the post office in particular. There are crosswalks there but hardly anybody stops, and cars will speed right past you when you’re in the crosswalk. I always worry about seniors crossing the street to use the post office.

  • Fred

    OR freight railroads are notorious for not cooperating with passenger rail traffic. They are continuing to negotiate with CN for service beyond Rockford because CN owns the only existing track west of there. But sure, go ahead and assume its just politics.

  • Kevin M

    I’m so pleased (and surprised) with the simple twist of fate that has come to the pending Galena – Rockford – Chicago Amtrak route. Placing passenger rail over the same tracks as commuter rail makes so much sense (vs. running it on an isolated line); you’ve already got population density built up along the line, you’ve got solid track infrastructure between Elgin & Chicago, there’s the potential to extend Metra beyond Elgin (as the article noted), and the communities along the MD-W Metra line will easily be able tap in to this new Amtrak service by taking Metra to Elgin instead of having to pick the train up in downtown Chicago.

    Putting the line on the Genoa route would have isolated it and, I think, hindered its potential for growth.

    For comparison, all other four State-sponsored Amtrak lines run over Metra lines. Modeling this new service like those in this way makes a lot of sense.

  • david vartanoff

    actually there is a potential bonus in the chosen route. It goes right by the Illinois Railway Museum, a stunningly large andwonderful display of the history of railroading. Being able to access it without the ugly trip on the interstate will be a joy.

  • Kevin M

    Also, once the track connection is built between the “Belvidere Subsidiary” and the MD-W line in Elgin, it is possible that a Metra spur to Genoa could be setup on the MD-W service (like we see on other Metra lines). So, those communities may find that their hopes for Metra service are not lost with this decision.

  • david vartanoff

    CN of late has been more intransigent than others–these shifts usually track the attitude of the CEO. One should remember that by law any route in operation the day before Amtrak took over is fair game for restoration. As to the pricing, the RRs ask for huge sums, the rail agencies (Amtrak, IDOT…) have funding constraints. The efficiency of using an established Metra route for the Elgin to CUS segment is brilliant.

  • Curtis Kuhn

    The link for the editorial seems broken. Please feel free to delete this comment once it’s been fixed.

  • Fred

    Amtrak Black Hawk service started February 14, 1974 and ended September 30, 1981. Land O’Corn started October 26, 1941 and ended August 5, 1967 so there was no service on this corridor the day before Amtrak took over.

  • what_eva

    Only if a stop is added, which doesn’t seem all that likely, does it?

  • Right now the IRM sometimes runs charter train trips out to it (especially for school trips for kids with mobility issues).

  • david vartanoff

    Thanks for correcting my error. Clearly we need to enhance Amtrak’s rights to rail routes. Maybe a change in real estate taxes such that passenger use earns a credit IF on time performance is satisfactory.

  • FG

    The new route could eventually continue on to Minneapolis…

    Interesting how little attention this is getting, along with the Quad Cities (which I had always thought was going to start before the Rockford service) Service which is coming relatively soon.