EIS Find No Impact for Added Hiawathas

Expanding Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service would result in no significant environmental impacts, a study released this week determined.

Most of the improveHiawatha 2ments planned for the route used by the Hiawathas would be constructed within the existing railroad right of way, the study said.

The draft environmental impact statement was conducted by the Federal Railroad Administration and the departments of transportation of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Public comment on the study is being accepted through Nov. 15 and hearings have been scheduled for Oct. 27 in Milwaukee; Nov. 1 in Chicago; and Nov. 2 in Glenview, Illinois.

Amtrak has proposed adding three additional Chicago-Milwaukee roundtrips on a route that current hosts seven daily roundtrips plus the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder. A portion of the route also has extensive Metra commuter train service in Chicago.

The passenger carrier has indicated that ridership of the Hiawatha Service has been rising and some trips feature standing room only conditions.

Metra owns the tracks used by Amtrak between Chicago and Rondout, Illinois; while Canadian Pacific owns the route between Rondout and Milwaukee.

CP has proposed building a 2-mile siding that has drawn opposition from some Glenview officials and residents who fear that CP freight trains might sit on that siding for long periods of time.

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