The Uptown Station in Normal, which opened in July this year, and the Kewanee train station are the two newest depots in Illinois. (B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Jim Anderson
NORMAL - Illinois is undergoing train station modernization
New stations recently opened in Normal and Kewanee, and new facilities are planned in Alton, Dwight, Moline, Pontiac, Rockford and Springfield.
Rehabs are planned in Carlinville, Joliet and Chicago Union Station. These are paid for with a mix of federal, state, local and private funds.
A train depot can last a century –unless it becomes deficient or obsolete, says IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider.
“A lot of it is the platforms need to be redone, and while we’re doing that there are some upgrades within the stations themselves that also need to occur, and on the ones that have major rehabs, there obviously are some major issues with those stations and that’s why we’re having to re-do them,” she said.
In some cases, the location of the station is moving, usually for local concerns. The current Alton location monopolizes parking, the Pontiac and Dwight locations cause the trains to block traffic when they’re stopped, and city fathers in Springfield want Amtrak trains to come through town on a different track, says Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.
Joliet has a problem with Amtrak, Metra and freight trains interfering with each other.
The stations that are on the St. Louis-to-Chicago route are partially funded by the $1.9 billion in federal money committed to the high-speed rail line.