Put Illinois on the Fast Track

Building a stronger Illinois with fast, frequent, and affordable trains



We Need a Statewide Railway Program

Soon, the Illinois General Assembly will decide whether to modernize Metra or to let Metra whither.

The Assembly should think bigger than just “saving Metra”. We need a modern railway network to create vibrant towns and cities with strong cores—places where people want to live, work, and put down roots.

Ask Springfield to build high-speed and regional rail across the state.

Get Involved

See the Projects

Learn what should be in the program.

Pencil and ruler icon

Sign the Petition

Tell Springfield you want great trains

Get the Booklet

Download a printable booklet that overviews the needed program.


See the officials who have endorsed the concept.

It should be practical and affordable to travel
throughout the state without a car

Frequent trains and buses and coordinated schedules will make it a reality. 

A map showing a potential high-speed and regional rail network connecting all metros in Illinois to each other and to smaller towns.

A statewide regional rail network would make it practical to travel the state without a car.

It Starts With an Integrated Network Plan

An integrated rail network in Illinois would consist of these parts–well coordinated to offer fast, frequent, and affordable travel to every corner of the state. The network would support, and be supported by, better local transit and more walkable communities.

  • Downstate Regional Rail with at least one departure every two hours
  • Metra Regional Rail with service tailored to each route
  • High-Speed Rail linking Chicago, Springfield, and St. Louis in under 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Fast, easy access to O’Hare, the Midwest’s gateway to the world


Learn more about an integrated rail plan for Illinois

A crew is replacing track with a machine that the front rides on the old track and the back rides on the new track. The middle replaces the track and ties all at once.

A track machine replacing track on the Chicago – St. Louis Corridor.

Building a statewide rail network will:

  • Create thousands of good, green jobs across the multiple realms that plan, build, use, operate, and benefit from quality train networks.
  • Shift priorities in the transportation sector—America’s biggest source of carbon emissions.
  • Pull together our state’s incredible but widely dispersed assets.
  • Build a connected, vibrant, and sustainable region that competes successfully on the global stage.

A strong foundation

The good news is that the state has a long history of investing in passenger trains, including Amtrak, Metra, and the South Shore.  And, the official state rail plan lists most of the projects needed to connect the state.

What’s missing is a coordinated phasing plan and the funding to build it.

A new station at Dwight and new locomotives were built as a step towards regional rail on the Chicago – St. Louis Corridor.

Needed Investments

Regional rail, high-speed rail, and freight rail all need similar investments

A Metra train crossing the new bridge over Leland Ave in the north side of Chicago.

New Bridges

Metra needs $280 million per year to replace or repair out-of-date bridges.

A new double track railroad heading away from the camera.

More and Better Track

Slow zones need to be removed and a second or third mainline track will be required in many cases.

Enhanced crossing gates in a small town.

Safer Crossings

A win for the railroads, for communities, and drivers alike. A bridge is the safest.


Metra’s trains are very old and Amtrak’s fleet is too small to add service.

Updated Stations

Many stations will need to be upgraded and connections to local transit need to be enhanced.

A picture of a South Shore train in Chicago emphasising the pantograph.


Electric trains are more efficient, accelerate faster, and are cleaner.

California’s Surfliner offers 16 daily departures.

Who has done this before?

California has been investing heavily in passenger rail, intercity buses, and local transit since 1990.  They published the first integrated rail plan in 2018. And, they have two high-speed rail projects underway.

California is seeking a 10-fold increase in train and bus ridership!

Learn more about the CA rail plan


What needs to happen?

Years of under-investment have left CTA, Metra, and Pace unable to adapt to changing travel patterns.  The General Assembly is debating how to restructure and invest in a better system.

Train riders, and local leaders, need to work together to persuade Springfield to think big, creating a railway program that can connect transit agencies across the state into an integrated network.

Here’s how you can help

Sign the Petition

Ask Springfield to connect the state with fast, frequent, and affordable trains.

Get a local government to endorse

Download a sample letter you can give to your mayor or city council.

Join Us

Join with rail advocates across the state working to make fast trains a reality.