LINCOLN – Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn was joined today by city officials and Amtrak to announce the completion of renovations to the station in historic downtown Lincoln, the latest of several station improvements overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation along the Chicago-St. Louis passenger rail corridor. The project returns passenger service to a building constructed in 1911 and last used as a depot more than 30 years ago.
“This impressive facility is just the latest in a string of achievements to improve the passenger experience on one of the country’s busiest rail corridors,” Secretary Blankenhorn said. “The station not only highlights Lincoln’s rich history, but provides travelers and commuters with a great option to get to where they need to go.”
The remodeled facility showcases restored windows, doors and the original ticket counter with a scale once used to weigh luggage. Added features include free Wi-Fi, a climate-controlled waiting room with interior seating, and parking for both vehicles and bikes. The waiting area replaces a passenger shelter to the north that served Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle.
A short IDOT video on the restoration efforts can be viewed here. The project follows the successful opening of new stations in Dwight, Pontiac and Alton, with one in Carlinville opening soon. The stations in Normal and Springfield will be upgraded. A separate project to build a new multimodal transit facility in Joliet also is planned.
“Lincoln is truly fortunate to have such a beautifully restored depot that will serve our community for many, many years to come,” said Mayor Seth A. Goodman. “We are thankful and grateful for the vision, hard work and long hours that went in to the redesign. Now that it’s finished, not only will our own citizens be able to view and use the station, but it will be an amazing facility to greet and welcome countless visitors passing through our city.”
Funding for the $4.04 million Lincoln project is part of a federal grant administered by IDOT to introduce better performance and higher speeds on the Union Pacific Railroad between Chicago and St. Louis. For more information, visit www.idothsr.org.
“Amtrak ridership on this corridor is up by 9 percent, with nearly 60,000 more tickets sold to people this year versus last year,” said Mike Franke, Amtrak Senior Director of State Government Contracts. “That’s almost 720,000 passengers who know Amtrak comfort and fares are a great travel option.”