Posts Tagged ‘Springfield Illinois’

Clear Block in Springfield

October 15, 2022

With its station work complete in Springfield, Illinois, Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Texas Eagle is leaving the former Gulf Mobile & Ohio station in the capital city. The image was made on March 1. At one time the signal showing the clear indication was a home signal for an at-grade crossing of a Baltimore & Ohio branch line to Beardstown, Illinois. But the ex-B&O line is long gone so the signal is now just an intermediate signal.

On its Way to the Station

April 20, 2022

Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Lincoln Service No. 302 is just moments away from making its station stop in Springfield, Illinois, as it rolls along down South Third Street. No. 302 is the second northbound of the day out of St. Louis for Chicago. Today’s consist is a pure Horizon Fleet offering. The photo was made on March 1, 2022.

Parking to be Limited at Springfield Station

April 8, 2022

A lighting improvement project in the parking lot of the Amtrak station in Springfield, Illinois, will result in limited parking on April 12 and 13.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said 10 spaces at the south end will be available but space is not guaranteed.

The advisory recommended that passengers plan extra time to arrive to the station on these dates.

Customers parked in the complimentary lot will be required to move their vehicle by April 11. Any vehicle left in the project zone may be relocated or towed.

As an alternative, passengers may park in the Bank of Springfield Center Garage, located approximately four blocks from the station.

Passengers are encouraged to arrange for pick up and drop off service, if possible.

Letter Boards are (Sort of) Back

March 15, 2022

For decades railroads placed their names in the letter boards of passenger cars. Amtrak has never adopted this practice. It has had an on again, off again practice of even naming passenger cars.

The new Venture cars that entered revenue service on Feb. 1 in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor have sort of brought back the practice of letter board names.

Shown are two Siemens-built Venture coaches in the consist of Lincoln Service No. 301 in Springfield, Illinois, on March 1. Note that the Amtrak herald and the name “Amtrak Midwest” have been applied to the letter board area of the car.

Now the question is how long this practice will continue. Although the traditional Amtrak colors of red, white and blue have been incorporated into the car’s design, the dominant color is gray.

Crossing East Scarritt Street in Springfield

March 9, 2022

Amtrak SC-44 No. 4615 and its Lincoln Service train are moments away from arriving at the station in Springfield, Illinois. Train 302 is crossing East Scarritt Street in a residential neighborhood on track once operated by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.

Union Pacific owns this track now and Train 302 is following a UP stack train that passed through here just a few minutes before Amtrak did. The Amtrak website showed No. 302 running a few minutes late but I can’t say for certain that that delay was due to freight train interference.

Whatever the case, No. 302 still has stops to make before it reaches Chicago Union Station shortly after noon. So it has no time to waste.

Springfield Property Owners Want Their Land Acquired for Railroad Relocation Project

September 2, 2020

Two property owners in Springfield, Illinois, whose land was not acquired as part of a railroad relocation project are asking that authorities acquire their homes.

The owners contend that construction from the $310 million Springfield Rail Improvement Project is disrupting their lives, has damaged their homes, driven down the value of their property and interfered with their quality of life.

The homes in question were not acquired because they did not meet Federal Railroad Administration rules for purchase.

Project managers said the properties in question were not acquired because the land was not needed.

A project engineer said all property needed for the relocation has been acquired.

The project is seeking to move rail traffic from a former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio line through downtown Springfield into a corridor east of downtown along a line owned by Norfolk Southern.

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service trains use the ex-GM&O route, which now is owned by Union Pacific.

Work on the rail relocation project, which has been in the planning stage for several years, began in 2014 is expected to be completed next year.

Springfield Station Set for One Day Closure

August 1, 2020

A one day closure will occur at the Amtrak station in Springfield, Illinois, on Aug. 4 due to a planned power outage.

The station waiting room will temporarily close at 8 a.m. or several hours. Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

During the closure passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Checked baggage service, express shipping and ticketing will not be available but station agents will be present on the east (parking lot) side of the station beginning 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Tickets for travel from Springfield must be purchased online, via the mobile app or by phone prior to boarding.

Passengers will be limited to carry-on limits for trains unless excess carry-on was purchased in advance.

Springfield Gets Funds for Rail Relocation Project

April 2, 2020

The Illinois Commerce Commission has awarded $33 million to Springfield, Illinois, to construct underpasses as part of a railroad grade separation project.

]The project seeks to move trains, including those used by Amtrak, from Third Street to another rail corridor further east along 10th Street.

The funding will be divided into thirds for underpasses at Madison Street, Jefferson Street and North Grand Avenue.

The funding is being provided by the Commerce Commissioon’s Crossing Safety Improvements budget.

The Third street rail corridor is owned by Union Pacific but previously was part of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.

City officials say when the project is completed rail crossing accidents are expected to fall by 80 percent and vehicle delays at crossings by 70 percent.

The city also plans to implement a quiet zone along Third Street. Moving traffic now using UP tracks is not expected to occur until 2025.

Amtrak serves Springfield with its Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Corridor trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

New Amtrak Thruway Launched in Illinois

February 8, 2020

Amtrak has launched a new Thruway Bus Service in Illinois between its station in Champaign-Urbana and Peoria.

The service began on Feb. 1 2020, with buses boarding in Peoria at the City Link Transit Center.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Buses 8092 and 8093 will make intermediate stops at Springfield and Decatur.

The Thruway Service is being operated by Illinois Charter.

 

Illinois Funding to Help Amtrak Services

June 13, 2019

Amtrak travelers in Illinois will benefit from a recently enacted capital spending program approved by the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. J. B. Pritzker, but it will be years before those benefits can be seen.

There remains much work to be done on engineering studies and land acquisition. Some of those efforts have been on hold since 2015.

In some cases, negotiations have yet to begin between the Illinois Department of Transportation and a host railroad.

That includes a project to improve on-time performance and reliability of Amtrak service using Canadian National tracks between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois.

An IDOT spokesman told Trains magazine that his agency needs to agree on the details with CN, but the project is expected to include some sidings, universal crossovers and other unspecified improvements.

The capital project has earmarked $100 million to improve service on the route used by the City of New Orleans and the state-funded Saluki and Illini.

Amtrak sued CN in 2012 over poor on-time performances of its trains in the Chicago-Carbondale corridor, but that litigation has become bogged down in the courts.

Trains reported that IDOT and CN have already held talks about how to alleviate some sources of delay to Amtrak trains.

IDOT and Union Pacific also need to agree on the nuts and bolts of what it will take to implement a long-discussed plan to reroute Amtrak and UP freight trains onto a grade-separated double-track line in Springfield.

Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains now use a former Gulf Mobile & Ohio route that runs parallel to Third Street and which has numerous grade crossings.

The Illinois capital program has set aside $122 million to move Amtrak and its Springfield station to a corridor along 10th Street that will also be used by Norfolk Southern.

One downside of the move is that the Amtrak station would be further from the heart of downtown Springfield and the statehouse complex.

The capital funding program is expected to give a boost to two proposed new Amtrak routes.

One involves service between Chicago and Rockford using Metra’s Milwaukee West District to Big Timber Road west of downtown Elgin and thence over a UP line via Belvedere to Rockford.

A connection needs to be built at Big Timber to connect the Metra and UP routes.

The IDOT spokesman told Trains that there is no federal funding or service frequency plan for the service.

“The new infusion of funding will require us to re-engage with UP, Amtrak, and the local communities on scope, budget, and schedule after the hiatus,” the spokesman said, making reference to a decision by former Gov. Bruce Rauner to revoke funding approved earlier for development of the route.

Another new Amtrak route would link Chicago and the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa.

The City of Moline, Illinois, has created a station for the service, but engineering and property acquisition needs to be done on a connection near Wyanet, Illinois.

The plan is to use the BNSF route now used by Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg and California Zephyr, to Wyanet and then switch to the Iowa Interstate for the remainder of the trip into Moline.

“Negotiations with the railroad will proceed on the construction, operating, and maintenance agreements,” the IDOT spokesman said, noting that IDOT and Iowa Interstate have yet to discuss “scope, budget, and timelines” that must precede an environmental assessment and preliminary engineering.
The capital funding program allocated $225 million to match a route-specific federal stimulus grant that is set to expire on June 30, 2019,

However, IDOT is talking with the FRA about extending the deadline for the grant.

IDOT had not given a timeline for when the service to Rockford or Moline would begin.

Rockford was once served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Dubuque, Iowa, Black Hawk, before it was discontinued on Oct. 1, 1981.

Although Amtrak has never served Moline, the former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific offered intercity rail passenger service between Chicago and nearby Rock Island, Illinois, until Jan. 1, 1979.