"We took the last Amtrak train between Galena and Chicago."
Twenty-six years ago, John and Bonnie Cox said goodbye to rail service in the Stateline. But they could soon hear those late-night train whistles once again, if Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Don Manzullo get Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation to hop on board and bring Amtrak back to town.
"It's gonna reduce congestion and pollution it will create opportunities for economic development I think it's something that will be a huge plus for our region," Durbin says.
There are three Amtrak route options. All three travel from Chicago to Rockford then Galena and end in Dubuque. The Rockford Airport and Belvidere are each mentioned once and Elgin twice in the plan. The trains would run round-trip daily. And would cost 20-dollars and less than two hours of time to ride from Rockford to Chicago.
"This particular expanded service would not be so much an excursion line but potentially be used for commuters going to and from economic opportunities to provide better incomes for themselves and their families," says I-DOT Secretary Milt Sees.
At the same time, nearby Peoria and the Quad Cities are looking at restoring Amtrak service as well. Which Senator Durbin says all three are possibilities as long as Northern Illinois stays focused.
"If Rockford stumbles, if there's disagreement if there's a fight over a corridor if there's a delay it creates an advantage for another community," Durbin says.
I-DOT still must give its' approval. Which depends on how much federal and state dollars are awarded. And if all goes well, we can start riding the Amtrak train sometime next year.
There will be another public forum sometime next month. We'll give you an exact time and location when it becomes available.
If you want to learn more about restoring Amtrak service head to I-DOT'S website.