Macomb Joins National Train Celebration

Macomb, IL – Amtrak travelers were greeted at the Macomb depot by more than just family and friends on May 8.

The event was held in conjunction with the 3rd Annual National Train Day. Representatives from the city, the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Corporation, the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation handed out bags containing a city map, a visitor's guide, a postcard, and a cookie.

In addition, children under 10 received a conductor's hat, a crayon set, and a coloring page.

Chamber President Penny Lawyer says the groups want to thank people for using Amtrak service in Macomb.

"Along the line from Quincy to Chicago, we're the second most populated station as far as number of riders on an annual basis," says Lawyer.

Lawyer says the weekend trains through Macomb are often booked full. She says there is talk of adding more cars to those trains.

"We're definitely turning people away, and we want to utilize the train to the best of our abilities," says Lawyer. "Turning people away is really very non-productive."

She's concerned the city might be missing out on opportunities, whether it be visitors or business travelers.

Also as part of National Train Day, former Macomb Mayor Tom Carper spoke at Union Station in Chicago. Carper is now Chairman of the National Amtrak Board.

Extending the Line

Lawyer says there has been some talk of extending the train line beyond Quincy and into Hannibal, MO. She believes that would benefit Macomb.

"There are a lot of people who go to Hannibal. It's an educational opportunity for our students," Lawyer says. "It might be nice to put the kids on a train instead of a bus."

Lawyer says a feasibility study must be done and she believes it could be an expensive venture. She says its not yet known who will pay for the study.

She says it's definitely on the docket but won't happen any time soon.