Chicago Union Station Upgrades to be Announced

The great hall of Chicago Union Station.

The great hall of Chicago Union Station.

Amtrak and Chicago officials were to announce on Friday a $14 million plan to renovate Chicago Union Station.

The work would include repairing the station’s skylights, restoring an iconic staircase and building a new Amtrak passenger lounge.

Longer term work will include widening station platforms, connecting the station to the Blue Line of the Chicago Transit Authority and improving street access.

Officials have yet to find a source of funding for the long-term projects, which could cost more than $100 million.

Amtrak is expected to kick in $14 million for the initial station work.

Union Station is the third-busiest railroad terminal in the United States, handling an estimated 50,000 daily commuters.

A report that addresses station improvements concluded that the station is plagued by less-than-ideal access and narrow passageways that lead to overcrowding that exacerbates train delays.

A coalition that includes officials from Amtrak, Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority and the city of Chicago will search for a developer and architecture firm to design the station renovations.

In a statement, RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard said the coalition recognizes Union Station’s architectural value and will seek to restore “its former glory.”

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