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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Amtrak considers restoring service between Chicago and Dubuque

At the request of the state of Illinois, Amtrak recently completed a study that evaluates the feasibility of restoring intercity passenger-rail service between Chicago, Rockford, Ill., and Dubuque, Iowa. Passenger trains haven’t operated between the cities since 1981, when Amtrak discontinued Black Hawk service.

The report identified three potential routes. Project costs would include about $62 million to upgrade existing freight-rail infrastructure to accommodate passenger trains, and less than $5 million annually to operate any of the routes, according to the study.

Travel times would be compatible with automobile travel; trains would run between Chicago and Rockford in about two hours, and Chicago and Dubuque, in less than four-and-a-half hours.

Amtrak also will conduct a study to determine the feasibility of operating state-supported service to the Quad Cities. Passenger-train service hasn’t operated in the area since 1978, when the Rock Island Railroad discontinued operations. The report is expected to be complete by year’s end.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/6/2007