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Public meetings this month to share information on proposed Chicago-Rockford passenger rail service

Press Release - Monday, September 18, 2023

Project made possible through $275 million from Gov. Pritzker's Rebuild Illinois

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting public meetings this month about plans to re-establish passenger rail service between Chicago and Rockford, a project made possible by Gov. JB Pritzker's historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program.

"As IDOT continues to progress with delivering this important Rebuild Illinois project, we invite the public to visit with the project team, learn more and ask questions," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "We are excited to share updates and hear from you about re-introducing passenger service between Chicago and Rockford."

At the meetings, the public can learn about the project and provide feedback. Each one will be held in an open-house format, with a video presentation, exhibit boards and other project information. Staff also will be available to answer questions.

The meetings will be held at the following locations:

Thursday, Sept. 21; 4 to 7 p.m.
Huntley Park District
12015 Mill St.

Tuesday, Sept. 26; 4 to 7 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Hall
211 N. Main St.

Thursday, Sept. 28; 4 to 7 p.m.
The Centre of Elgin
100 Symphony Way

Rebuild Illinois is providing $275 million for the project, part of $1 billion included in the six-year, $45 billion capital program to improve passenger and freight rail throughout the state. In July, Gov. Pritzker announced the choice of Metra to operate the service, utilizing the existing Milwaukee District West line and relationships with the Union Pacific Railroad to extend passenger service west of Elgin.

Tentatively scheduled to begin in 2027, the new service will connect Chicago and Rockford, with stops anticipated in Elgin, Huntley and Belvidere. Other project components include improved grade crossings, upgraded bridges and double-tracking at various locations. Stations also will be built in Huntley and Belvidere.

Travel time between Chicago and Rockford is anticipated to be slightly less than two hours, with two round trips a day. Boarding locations in Chicago and Rockford, as well as a fare structure and schedule, are still to be determined.

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