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O'Hare Express Rail Service

February 03, 2016

We have long advocated for rail connections to airports throughout the Midwest in cities such as Indianapolis, Saint Paul, Milwaukee and others. Today we are sharing a new opportunity for a transformative project at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. On Saturday, January 30, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a deal with  American and United Airlines for the addition of a sixth runway at O’Hare Airport. This is the first step in the city’s plan to add new terminals and modernize existing ones, creating an opportunity to incorporate a modern train station.

This opportunity becomes clearer with news of A Task Order Services Request (TOSR) regarding an O’Hare Express Rail Service (OER) recently issued by the Chicago Department of Aviation. The TOSR states that, “Express Rail Service between O’Hare and downtown Chicago is a critical goal for the City of Chicago and the Department of Aviation.” The Airport Express must provide a service that can handle peak period traffic while being competitive in speed and quality to other transit options between O’Hare and downtown Chicago. The service would run about 20hrs/day and 365 days/year with fewer stops along the frequent and continuous service.

The comprehensive study of the OER will include terminus options, potential routes, implementation schedules and amenities that would make this an attractive and competitive travel option. It will also include another key element to a successful express service, which is a connection between the express train and the O’Hare Airport Transit System (ATS). The goal will be to make the connection between the two seamless.

We are encouraged by the progress the City of Chicago has made and believe they should make the Airport Express compatible with high-speed trains. The picture above is our view of how a modern train station could be incorporated into O'Hare Airport. This is an exciting opportunity to create a high-speed rail hub that would improve travel across the Midwest.


Dylan Hayward
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

We released our annual survey last Friday to give our supporters the opportunity to have their voice heard and learn more about our community.  Thanks to all of you who have already completed the survey! If you haven’t had the chance yet there is still time to take the survey here.

MHSRA’s Executive Director Richard Harnish gave a presentation in Battle Creek about the importance of frequent service along the Chicago-Detroit Corridor. You can learn more about the project here.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Amtrak to Test Restoration of Rail Service Lost Since Katrina
"Trains on Amtrak's Sunset Limited route, which used to run between Los Angeles and Orlando, have ended in New Orleans since the 2005 storm, which wiped out tracks along the Gulf of Mexico. Amtrak is planning to operate a test train on the route, which includes stops in Alabama and the panhandle of Florida before it heads south to Orlando, to examine the feasibility of restoring the service."

MnDOT Suspends Work on Zip Rail to Rochester Project
"The possible end to Zip Rail, which could make the 100-mile trip in 45 to 50 minutes, doesn't mean the end of a high-speed line connecting the home of the Mayo Clinic with the Twin Cities.

Coalition Working to Connect Chippewa Valley via Rail
"People haven’t stepped onto a platform from a passenger train in Eau Claire, WI for 52 years...But a number of people are working to bring passenger rail service back to the region, and with it, a new economic engine for the Chippewa Valley."

Japan and Trains: The Love Affair
"Japan's railway system typically works flawlessly, from the immaculately clean trains that service the distant southern isles of Japan to the experimental high-speed, floating maglev cars that might hit 372 miles per hour. If you love trains, you'll love Japan."

Siemens Begins Production of Brightline Trains
"SIEMENS has completed fabrication of the first stainless steel passenger coach shell for All Aboard Florida's Brightline inter-city service at its plant in Sacramento, California."

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