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4/2/2004



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Illinois commuter-rail group to study feasibility of Rockford-to-Chicago service


The Northern Illinois Commuter Rail Initiative (NICRI) recently awarded a contract to engineering firm TranSystems Corp. to conduct a feasibility study on commuter-rail service between Rockford and Belvidere, Ill., and downtown Chicago.

Comprising the Rockford Area Transportation Study, cities of Belvidere and Rockford, Rockford Mass Transit District, and non-profit economic development agency Boone County and Growth Dimensions, NICRI is trying to determine the prospect of operating the service through Kane, McHenry, Boone and Winnebago counties.

Scheduled to begin later this month, the study will analyze existing and potential rail operations; evaluate infrastructure and stations; review transit and highway connections; forecast ridership; and evaluate land use, cost and environmental impacts.

The commuter service would extend Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp., or Metra, service 35 miles over existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks.



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