Chicago’s Master Plan for Union Station Moves Forward

Today we are encouraged by news that the Chicago Union Station Master Plan is moving forward. On January 13 City Council passed an ordinance authorizing an agreement between the Chicago Department of Transportation, Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and Amtrak to jointly fund preliminary design and engineering work for the first phase of projects at the station.

Phase I improvements include new and expanded entrances, widened platforms with direct access to street level, concourse expansion and pedestrian tunnels to Ogilvie Station and the Clinton Blue Line. Each of these projects will improve passenger capacity, accessibility and mobility issues at Union Station.

Passage of the ordinance clears the way for up to $500,000 from Chicago’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund preliminary design and engineering work towards the Union Station Master Plan. An Additional $1 million in funding for this project comes from Metra, another $1.5 million from RTA, and $3 million from Amtrak.

In October Amtrak issued a Request for Planning (RFP) and a Request for Information (RFI) to development partners in order to identify firms capable of redeveloping the station and surrounding land. Amtrak is also funding some immediate improvements to the Great Hall, which include the recently renovated grand staircase, replacement of door systems, heating upgrades, restoration of the skylight, and the relocation of a passenger lounge in order to ease congestion at the concourse level.

Chicago Union Station is the third busiest station in the country and the center of the Midwest rail network. Improvements to passenger and track capacity are necessary for handling the increasing demand for passenger rail and will enhance travel throughout the region.


Dylan Hayward
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

We are preparing to release our Annual Survey to everyone who reads our newsletter, donates, or follows us on social media. The results will help us better understand our community and by voicing your opinion you can guide us in our efforts.

Articles We Enjoyed:

California High-Speed Rail Authority Inks Station Funding Pact with Burbank
“The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has entered into a station-area funding agreement with the city of Burbank, Calif., to begin the planning process for a multi-modal transportation hub, the authority announced yesterday.”

Feds Explore Options to “Transform” Northeast Rail Infrastructure at Meeting in Hartford
“The Federal Railroad Administration is looking at ways to overhaul the Northeast Corridor — the busiest commuter rail system in the country.”

Union Station Plan Moves Forward and Megabus is Moving Pick-Up Locations
“It looks like plans to renovate Union Station are on track. On Wednesday, City Council passed an ordinance that will move the Union Station Master Plan forward by authorizing an intergovernmental agreement between the Chicago Department of Transportation, Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority, and Amtrak.”

Helsinki and Tallinn Just Might Build the World’s Longest Underwater Rail Tunnel
“This week, Finland got a step closer to building the longest undersea rail tunnel in the world”

South Side Groups: Make the Metra Electric Run Like the CTA ‘L’
“The letter asks for a study to determine how much funding would be needed to extend the Metra Electric to O’Hare Airport. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association, a signatory, calls this project “CrossRail.” It would involve building a couple of connections for Electric Line trains to switch over to other Metra lines and electrifying existing track to create a continuous route to the airport.”

Upcoming Events:

Japan High-Speed Rail Tour

We are planning the tour for October of 2016. 

This trip will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the rich history of train travel the country offers. We are creating an itinerary that includes riding the first high-speed rail line, visiting at least one railroad museum and meetings with experts in the field. We have already begun making contacts to arrange technical visits and train tours. Once we have received 10 fully-refundable deposits we will finalize the details of the trip.

Please click here if you would like to learn more or are interested in joining the trip.

Please click here if you are ready to make a $500 fully-refundable deposit for the trip.

Dylan Hayward
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

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