It's been a while since we've heard this sound here in the Stateline. Passengers boarding the Amtrak Train and cruising in and out of town. And now we're one step closer to hitching a ride on tracks.
"It would be a nice boom back to this area not only for tourism but possibly other economic developments," says Brad Englin of the Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition.
There's three different routes being looked at for rail service between Chicago and Dubuque. Option one: Trains would run from Chicago to Elgin stop in Belvidere then Rockford, Galena and then to Dubuque.
Option two: Rail service from Chicago to Elgin, Rockford Airport, Rockford, Galena and Dubuque. And the final choice is from Chicago to Rockford to Galena and then Dubuque.
This is the most costly plan since there's a lot of freight train congestion on this route. But before any decisions are made, local leaders are asking for our feedback.
"In order for this project to move forward we need to have a concensus or decision made of what route makes the most sense," says Marc Magliari from Amtrak.
Once leaders agree on a route, the Illinois Department of Transportation will decide whether they'll bring rail service back to the Stateline. If all goes well, we could start climbing on board sometime next year.
In addition to the study done by Amtrak, bringing a commuter rail service to the area is being looked at as well. A Metra transportation study is still in the works. They're looking at extending rail from the Big Timber stop in Elgin to us here in Rockford.
Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Don Manzullo will be at Rockford College tomorrow at ten a-m. They'll present findings from the study and answer any questions we may have. If you want to learn more about the study go to the Illinois Department of Transportation's website and click on the feasibility study link.