Planning for Amtrak Route Begins

MGN Online
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BELVIDERE (WIFR) – Engineers are studying tracks across the country to determine what’s the best fit for our area when it comes to round trip service from Chicago to Rockford.

“We’re excited to see how soon we can start.”

Train tracks in Belvidere will soon get a much needed upgrade starting this summer in order to bring Amtrak service to the area by the end of 2015.

“The train was just like a big birthday present that we got that nobody was sure.”

That’s why state representatives are asking city mayors for help. Representatives met them to discuss plans for round trip Amtrak service from Chicago to Rockford with stops in Huntley, Elgin and Belvidere.

“I feel very confident because this was reassurance meeting also that reaffirmed that everything said in that press conference was reality."

Engineers will inspect the tracks in each city in the next few weeks. That will determine if construction upgrades can begin sometime this summer.

“It’s not just the stations, we have to work with the communities too.”

Ann Schneider is the Sate Secretary of Transportation. She says it’s important to work with city mayors especially with a tight timeline.

"This is their community, this is what they live with every day and they can tell us, they can best tell us what needs to be done,” said Schneider.

Schneider says state reps will also meet with the Union Pacific team next Tuesday to discuss further plans.

Rockford Mayor Morrissey is still traveling from training; however, Ann Schneider says she plans to meet with all city mayors including Mayor Morrissey in the next month to talk about the next steps and possible route designs.

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