How We Bring the Nation’s Railroad Hub Into the Future
As home of the nation’s railroad hub, Illinois has a pivotal role to play in making high-speed rail a reality in the U.S.
Chicago has direct service to 525 stations in 36 states, and the potential for many more. What happens in Illinois truly has national impact.
Therefore, it’s critical that Illinois be a strong leader in building for fast, frequent, and affordable trains.
An aggressive rail expansion program is necessary for a national rail program and is necessary for the future of the state.
How We Do It: An Integrated Rail Plan in Illinois
Carbondale to Galesburg. Springfield to McCormick Place. Everywhere to O’Hare and then to the world. That’s the power of a broader Illinois plan.
An integrated statewide plan for modern trains, transit systems, and intercity buses, all connected into a robust network, with a 220-mph high-speed trunk line at its core.
Frequent daily departures would carry business travelers, students, and tourists to many destinations now accessible only by car.
We don’t just build tracks. We build a more connected Illinois.
Why High Speed Rail in Illinois? Opportunity for everyone.
What does it mean to reduce travel time and lessen the need for cars across the state? It means a game-changer in the way Illinois grows. How?
- Cleaner air
- More productive commutes
- Easier travel times
- Day travel across the state
What does this lead to? More ability for people to live and work where they need.
Opportunity Outside Chicago: Downstate Development
Illinois is huge. Residents in Cairo and Chicago might be in different countries. People in Champaign might never make it to Quincy. And someone who lives in Ottawa won’t work in Chicago.
High speed rail can change that. It can make it easier for people to travel longer distances, work, and be home for dinner. It can allow businesses to expand their locations. It can make the entire state more productive and more connected.
High speed rail is for everyone. It’s the fast track for growing Illinois.
The Spine of the System: A 220-MPH Backbone
It all comes down to speed.
How do we make it easy to travel across our vast state? The heart of our big-picture vision is a 220-mph high-speed line that will connect Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis and also serve O’Hare, Champaign-Urbana, and Springfield. But this goes beyond cities.
The Chicago to St. Louis high-speed line will be the backbone of a statewide network that opens up economic opportunities for people in communities of any size and allows them to stay connected to their hometowns.
It will also boost ridership on local transit systems, making them more viable, and improve access to O’Hare for all of Illinois.
Statewide Expansion: Buses, Trains, and More
Illinois has been a leader in partnering with Amtrak and privately owned railroads to provide valuable links between Chicago and other Illinois communities. Ridership has grown steadily, despite infrequent departures and out-of-date trains.
We can build on this proven demand by expanding those partnerships. The goal should be to add several new lines and much more frequent service on existing lines.
For example, improvements are now being completed on the Union Pacific-owned tracks between Chicago and St. Louis. The work included more than 243 miles of track reconstruction; seven new or newly renovated stations; safety improvements to more than 200 grade crossings, including new local roads; better train-control systems; and new bridges.
We need similar improvements to lines currently running to Carbondale, Quincy, and Milwaukee. The state should add new routes serving Peoria, the Quad Cities, Rockford, and Galena.
Likewise, the state should work with private companies to expand bus routes to small towns. Although it’s often overlooked by state planning agencies, bus service is a critical link to Amtrak and other transportation options for communities all across Illinois.
Help Us Make Frequent, On-Time, Affordable Connections Easy
It should be practical and easy to make a day trip to Chicago, O’Hare, Springfield, and St. Louis from anywhere in the state.
Trains should be attractive for business trips, access to college, daily commutes, family visits, and more. When we work together, they can be.