Amtrak

An Amtrak employee has pleaded guilty to a scheme in which he steered thousands of dollars in business from its "Polar Express" train ride to his wife's photo company.

Amtrak is offering discounted tickets for passengers traveling to southern Illinois to view the upcoming total solar eclipse.

Prosecutors say a retired federal law enforcement agent told investigators he shot an Amtrak train conductor because he wasn't allowed to de-board in suburban Chicago.  Edward Klein appeared in bond court on attempted murder and aggravated battery charges. DuPage County prosecutors say the 79-year-old was ordered held in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

Authorities say an Amtrak train conductor was shot at a train station outside Chicago.  Naperville police say a Wisconsin man in his 70s fired from inside the train after the conductor stepped onto a platform from the Southwest Chief headed to Chicago from Los Angeles. The unidentified conductor was struck in the stomach.

Amtrak officials say three cars derailed when a train carrying about 200 passengers arrived in Chicago from the East Coast.  Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the train was switching from track to track when three cars in the middle of the eleven-car train lost contact with the track.

David Wilson / Flickr/Creative Commons

 NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Some Amtrak trains operating between Chicago and St. Louis will stop running while upgrades designed to enable trains to reach 110 mph get done.

Brian Robert Marshall / Creative Commons

DWIGHT, Ill. (AP) - A new high-speed passenger rail station has been completed in the northeast Illinois community of Dwight. 

Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn announced the completion last week. The new station is among upgrades aimed at improving high-speed service between Chicago and St. Louis. 

The 1,500-square foot building features a glass facade and modern amenities for passengers on Amtrak's Lincoln Service. That includes connections to bicycle and pedestrian paths and free Wi-Fi.  Construction began last year at the site of a former grain elevator. It's near a historic train depot in Dwight. 

Midwest High-Speed Rail

   SPRINGFIELD - Safety regulators have started warning motorists of faster trains along a high-speed rail corridor in Illinois months before Amtrak service at up to 110 mph is set to begin.

Flickr Creative Commons/Mark Goebel

Amtrak is making plans to unveil improvements at Chicago's Union Station, including the new Metropolitan Lounge.  The $7 million-dollar lounge opens to the public on Monday. Customers will be greeted by Amtrak customer service representatives who will check their baggage and later help them board their trains. 

Loco Steve / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Amtrak says that its passenger numbers in Illinois fell to about 1.3 million in the latest fiscal year, or a decline of about 4 percent.

The passenger rail service attributes the drop to low gasoline prices and high-speed rail construction between Chicago and St. Louis. The construction forced periodic use of chartered buses on the route.

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A federal report says air quality testing found soot concentrations were higher on the platforms at Chicago's Union Station than on the streets outside the commuter station.

Woman saves man stuck on railroad tracks

Sep 16, 2015

AUBURN, Ill. - A 75-year-old central Illinois man is alive thanks to the quick thinking of an Auburn woman. Auburn police say Earl Moorman's motorized wheel chair got stuck on railroad tracks. Ashley Aldridge, who lives near the tracks, heard the man screaming for help and bolted out the door as she heard a train horn. Aldridge on says she struggled at first to pull Moorman from the wheel chair. She says she was freaking out as she saw the train get closer. The 19-year-old, 130-pound Aldridge pulled the 200-pound Moorman out the chair just in time and carried him to safety.

AP

Construction is about to begin on the first station of a planned high-speed rail line between Chicago and St. Louis. Officials will break ground Tuesday on the $3.26 million station in Dwight. The small town is about 70 miles southwest of Chicago.

  INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Department of Transportation says  a four-day-per-week passenger rail service between Chicago and Indianapolis is now in place. It's a two-year contract with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings. Indiana Transportation Department spokesman Will Wingfield says round-trip service started Sunday morning on the Hoosier State train, that  departs Indianapolis at 6 a.m. EDT and arrives in Chicago at 10 a.m. CST.  He says INDOT initially anticipates paying Iowa Pacific about $255,000 per-month. Five communities, in the path will pay a combined $21,000 per month.

  PONTIAC, Ill. (AP) - Amtrak passenger service disrupted by a freight train derailment is expected to resume Wednesday along the Chicago-to-St. Louis line. Amtrak spokesman Mark Magliari says the accident near Pontiac forced the cancellation of four trains on the Lincoln service Tuesday. He full service should be restored Wednesday. Monday night's accident involved a Union Pacific train with three locomotives and 105 cars loaded with corn. Eight of the cars derailed, crushing a van parked along the track.

  CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois transportation officials say that work to increase rail speeds to 110 mph will mean service changes for some Amtrak trains between Chicago and St. Louis. Officials say Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle service will be affected from June 17 to June 20.  Some trains will be canceled and others rerouted. Bus service will be provided on some routes that won't be operating between Bloomington-Normal and St. Louis.

Illinois officials say a safety feature that slows trains traveling dangerously fast is one of the last components that must be installed before a Chicago-St. Louis high-speed line becomes operational. 

The threat of a 40% cut in Amtrak funding drew objections from 16 university and municipal officials this morning.

Fare hikes would not be enough to make up Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40% cut to Illinois' funding of Amtrak.  That's what a member of Amtrak's board of directors told legislators today at a hearing. 

Cuts the governor is proposing for next year's budget are a concern for transportation officials. 

Amtrak says it has not had a single complaint or problem with a pilot project in Illinois allowing customers to travel with small pets. So, it's making the program permanent around the state.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed state budget would cut 40 percent from Illinois' funding for Amtrak trains during a time when ridership has been climbing.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed state budget would cut $16 million from Illinois' funding for Amtrak trains that serve downstate areas.

Amtrak is studying potential rail service between Danville and the Quad Cities.

Amtrak is looking to start a pilot program next year that would bus residents from Peoria to the passenger rail service in Bloomington/Normal. The company says a bus service would generate more than 27,000 riders. The City is looking at Bradley University and the CityLink Center on Adams as two sites for the proposed Amtrak bus terminal.  Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says the bus service makes more economic sense than to bring passenger rail directly to Peoria:

The Canadian National railroad says Amtrak’s poor on-time performance for trains using their track is not entirely its fault.  

Amtrak will begin looking into expanded service on one of its main Illinois routes, at the behest of Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.  

Illinois reaches deal with Amtrak

Oct 10, 2013

 Illinois has agreed to pay more for in-state Amtrak trains. The deal prevents a shutdown of rail service that could have happened as early as next week.