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Amtrak

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Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation said new locomotives will be put into use on a number of routes, including the Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg service between Quincy and Chicago.

Emily Boyer

Gil Belles, age 76, professor emeritus of Western Illinois University's Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration (RPTA) department, was killed when his car collided with an Amtrak train.

Rich Egger

More than 4.6 million people rode an Amtrak train in Illinois in 2016. Overall ridership on Illinois routes was down about 3.5% from 2015. In Macomb, ridership dropped to about 68,000. 

Freshman Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) said he will support Donald Trump if the businessman/TV celebrity ends up as the Republican presidential nominee.  LaHood made his comments during an interview with Tri States Public Radio that also touched on a number of other topics, including Amtrak funding.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

It has been a slow go for Fort Madison when it comes to the city's attempt to bring passenger rail service downtown. But there might soon be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Rich Egger

The passenger rail agency said it will renovate the Macomb Travel Center to make it more easily accessible for everyone.

Renovated Transportation Hub Opens in Galesburg

Nov 19, 2015
T.J. Carson

It took a year to complete upgrades to the building in Galesburg's downtown area. The project cost $689,000, with most of the money coming from the state and federal governments.

Ray LaHood spent more than two decades in Congress and served another 4 1/2 years as President Barack Obama's first Secretary of Transportation.

Katie Finlon

Twenty-one people died from train-related incidents in Illinois last year. That's the second most train-related deaths of any state.  The effect on victims and their families is fairly obvious. But what happens to the railroad employees when that kind of trauma occurs, and how do they cope?

Amanda Vinicky

Amtrak Board of Directors member Tom Carper told Illinois lawmakers service cuts are inevitable should Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40% funding cut take effect.

City leaders in Fort Madison still have some work to do before they can bring passenger rail service to the downtown district.  The Mississippi River was known to surround the historic Santa Fe Depot in Riverview Park on occasion, which does not bode well for train traffic.

Amtrak: Illinois Budget Cuts Would Mean Fewer Trains

Apr 17, 2015
Rich Egger

Amtrak says it doesn’t know which services would be affected if Illinois cuts its funding. But the rail company says it’s sure there would be some service reductions if its grant is cut by a proposed $16 million.

T.J. Carson

State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) wants to find ways to keep an Amtrak line chugging along through his district.  He said service could be cut on the Illinois Zephyr line as part of Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40% reduction in funding for in-state Amtrak lines.

Galesburg Breaks Ground on Transportation Projects

Nov 21, 2014
T.J. Carson

Two projects are underway to help transportation in Galesburg.

T.J. Carson

The City Council this week approved a project to enclose the north and south porch areas at the Amtrak station.

  Amtrak ridership in Illinois has risen in recent years; it's up almost 85 percent from 2006 through last year. That trend developed after the rail service added routes. The train service could grow more in the future.

In 2006, lines branching out from Chicago that went to Carbondale, Quincy and St. Louis added trips.

TSPR's Emily Boyer

A free book rack at the Macomb Amtrak station has been providing reading material to travelers for 10 years.

Tom Carper

Tom and Gayle Carper of Macomb have more than 1,000 photos from the years when Tom owned bars in town.  They decided the pictures should be shared and started posting them to Flickr and Facebook.

Rich Egger

During winter weather, it’s common for flights to be canceled and roads to be closed.  Usually the trains still run without incident. 

Jonathan Ahl

More than 100,000 people ride the Illinois Zephyr train line from Quincy to Chicago each year.  

The next few days will be extremely busy in Burlington as the city plays host to two related events.

East-West Passenger Rail Proposed for Illinois

May 23, 2013
Rich Egger

A group of Illinois lawmakers is encouraging the state to study the feasibility of an east-west passenger rail corridor.

The route -- by bus at first, with the hope to eventually move to trains – would run from the Quad Cities to Danville. It would include stops in Galesburg, Peoria, Bloomington, and Champaign.

Rich Egger

Community leaders on the Amtrak line that runs through western Illinois hope to convince people to use the train for excursions within the region. They want to promote day trips and overnight stays along the line between Quincy and Princeton.

The hurdle that Fort Madison must clear to bring passenger rail service to Riverview Park is getting shorter.

Tom Carper of Macomb has completed his four-year term as chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors.

Carper feels Amtrak enjoyed success during that period, though sometimes it was frustrating because the federal government has no dedicated source of funding for passenger rail service.

“So every year, we’re in the budget. So every year, people who don’t like passenger rail or whatever can take a whack at Amtrak. That’s frustrating,” Carper said.

Rich Egger

Politicians in western Illinois want to make sure those in Washington DC know support for Amtrak reaches across the aisle and across the miles.

Republican State Representatives Norine Hammond and Don Moffitt, Democratic State Senator John Sullivan, and the mayors of four western Illinois communities (Galesburg, Monmouth, Macomb, and Quincy) gathered at the Galesburg train depot to urge Congress to continue funding for passenger rail.

Rich Egger

The head of the Amtrak Board of Directors said the service has benefited from funding stability in recent years.

Chairman Tom Carper, who is a former mayor of Macomb, said it's been crucial to Amtrak's planning to have the threat of cuts removed.

“We've had stability in the last three years, and lo and behold, what's happened? We're building railroads in the Midwest,” Carper said.

He also pointed out ridership is up.

Rich Egger

Illinois will acquire new rail cars for all of the in-state Amtrak routes. Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the new cars will address the increase in ridership experienced by the service for the past five or six years.

“They're going to be bi-level cars,” Schneider said. “It allows us to transport more passengers on the same footprint. So it makes it more efficient and it gives us opportunity to expand service without having to add train sets.”

All of the seating on current cars is on the same level.