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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak seeks developer for Chicago Union Station improvement plan


Amtrak officials and Chicago-area transportation leaders on Friday announced a set of initiatives aimed at advancing a master plan to redevelop the Chicago Union Station.

The initiatives include a request for proposals for the design of major improvements, as well as a request for information for a master developer, Amtrak officials said in a news release.

"Amtrak is committed to working in partnership with our stakeholders to launch strategies and make investments that deliver value for the company and help realize the full vision a vibrant transportation hub interwoven within an integrated mixed-use urban district,” said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak executive vice president/chief of business development.

Amtrak, Chicago, Metra and Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority have agreed to jointly fund design services to improve the most immediate issues relating to passenger capacity, service, safety, accessibility and mobility at and around the station, Amtrak officials said.

This effort will advance work for renovation of a concourse, expanded and added entrances, widening of platforms, disabilities compliance, and pedestrian passageways. A request for proposals has been issued for these services and is posted on Amtrak's site.

The railroad's request for information, also posted on, includes the opportunity to redevelop the Amtrak-owned station and surrounding land parcels, along with improvements to both passenger and employee facilities.

The RFI represents the first step in the evaluation of interested parties capable of all aspects of project delivery, including an implementable master development plan, Amtrak officials said.

In addition, officials unveiled $14 million of Amtrak-funded 2015-16 station improvements, such as restoration of the station's grand staircases and plans for a new passenger lounge slated to open next summer.

Other improvements include replacing door systems, restoring the 219-foot-long barrel-vaulted skylight above the Great Hall, and the creation of banquet and event space in the former women's lounge.

Slated for completion by the end of 2016, the improvements are aimed at helping to reestablish the Great Hall as a key passenger service location, Amtrak officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/19/2015