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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak to spend $40 million on Chicago Union Station upgrades


Yesterday, Amtrak announced it has begun work to upgrade Chicago’s Union Station and relieve passenger overcrowding by nearly doubling seating in general passenger lounges, increasing the number of public restrooms and providing air conditioning in the Great Hall. The $40 million project is expected to be completed by 2012’s end.

Amtrak also is advancing a redevelopment plan for the station’s Headhouse Building and selected Jones Lang LaSalle to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

“Improvements to Amtrak Chicago Union Station are a top priority,” said Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper in a prepared statement. “Illinois is a national leader for passenger rail, and its commitment to work with other Midwestern states to build a robust service network from Union Station will allow us to bring more travelers to and from downtown Chicago.”

Amtrak plans to expand seating in the north and south boarding lounges for coach and business class passengers from the current 450 seats to 950 seats by relocating the area used by sleeping car passengers. Additional restrooms also will be installed on the Concourse Level.

Amtrak also plans to reduce costs by moving its regional offices from leased space south of the station into parts of two lower floors of the Headhouse by 2011’s end.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/5/2010