Archive for January, 2015

Rockford Settles on Site for Amtrak Station

January 7, 2015

Rockford, Ill., officials have decided on a site for a station for a proposed Amtrak service to Chicago.

The city is reported to be interested in a combination train station and parking deck at the site of the former Tapco building downtown.

The site, one of three that was considered, is south of a planned $53 million hotel-conference center by Gorman & Co. in the former Amerock building.

That project will cost $10 million to $12 million and include 300 to 400 parking spaces.

“What we’re trying to do is combine the train station with a parking structure to reduce that cost,” said City Administrator Jim Ryan to the Rockford City Council, The Amtrak service, which would be funded in part by the Illinois Department of Transportation,  is expected to begin between in late 2015 with one daily round trip.

IDOT plans to spend $223 million to upgrade Union Pacific tracks between Rockford and Elgin. Amtrak has said it would expand service in 2016 and eventually hopes to extend the route to Dubuque, Iowa. Funding of the track upgrade is part of a six-year $31 billion capital plan that outgoing Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn approved in 2009.

It is not known yet if Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner will support the rail project.


Empire Builder to Resume Regular N.D. Route

January 3, 2015


The Empire Builder will resume operating over its regular route between Fargo and Minot, N.D., in both directions effective Jan. 12, Amtrak announced.

The detours via the BNSF KO Subdivision began last May in a westward direction at the requiest of BNSF, which was conducting track construction in the state.

“Amtrak and BNSF continue to work cooperatively on the operational and maintenance issues that affect Amtrak trains on this line,” Amtrak said in a news release. “BNSF is commited to work to improve the performance of the Empire Builder going forward.”

The construction combined with freight congestion led to excessive tardiness that prompted Amtrak to add three hours to eastbound schedules and 90 minutes to westbound trains.

Passengers bound for or originating at Rugby, Devils Lake and Grand Forks, N.D., were carried by bus one direction. Originally, westbound No. 7 detoured on the KO subdivision while eastbound No. 8 followed the regular route.

The trains flipped routes in October to expedite BNSF traffic patterns during the grain-harvest season.