SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that beginning October 30th, Illinois’ partnership with Amtrak will include two additional trains along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor. The expanded service comes after news that all state-sponsored Amtrak routes posted record ridership levels for Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2006; the expansion includes additional round-trips on the Chicago-Carbondale and Chicago-Quincy lines. Tickets for the new trains between Chicago and St. Louis are now on sale.
This expansion is part of a plan to more than double state-sponsored passenger rail service. Round-trips between Chicago and downstate will increase from three daily to seven daily by the end of October.
“Amtrak is an affordable travel option, and in many communities it’s the only form of public transportation,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “People want and use Amtrak; that’s why we doubled our commitment to ensuring we have regular passenger rail service. During the past several years we’ve continued to see an increase in the people riding the Illinois state-sponsored trains.”
Starting October 30th, daily train service between Chicago and St. Louis will increase from three round-trips to five round-trips, three of them state-sponsored. Under this schedule, there will be new morning and evening departures from Chicago and St. Louis.
“We are proud that ridership on state-supported Amtrak trains in Illinois is now nearly a million passengers and growing,” said Alex Kummant, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer. “We deeply appreciate the leadership of Gov. Blagojevich and the state legislature in continuing the strong partnership with Amtrak to provide more frequent service for the people of Illinois.”
This spring, Gov. Blagojevich and the Illinois General Assembly increased state funding for passenger rail service by Amtrak from $12.1 million to $24 million.
All three state supported round-trips on the Chicago-St. Louis line will be known as the Lincoln Service, including the current State House trains. Combined with the other trains on this route that are part of the national Amtrak network, five daily round-trips will now be available.
Reservations and tickets for the Lincoln Service (Trains 300 & 301, 302 & 305, 306 & 307) are now available nationwide through Amtrak.com, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, using Quik-Trak, automated ticket machines, visiting a staffed Amtrak station, or through select travel agents.
These state-supported trains will operate as reserved service, with the lowest fares ordinarily available with the most advanced purchase, and offer food and beverages in the café car. Ten-ride tickets will also be available, as will Business class in a two-seats/aisle/one-seat configuration with leg rests, foot rests and other amenities for a slight surcharge.
IDOT and Amtrak recently announced the new schedule and ticket availability for the state sponsored Chicago-Carbondale trains, the Illini and Saluki. Daily train service between Chicago and Carbondale is increasing from two roundtrips to three roundtrips, two of them state-sponsored.
Earlier this week, IDOT and Amtrak announced the new schedules and ticket availability for the state-sponsored Chicago-Quincy trains, the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg. Daily train service to and from Western Illinois is increasing from one round-trip to two round-trips, both state-sponsored.