Train Service on Heritage Corridor Line Could Increase
April 4, 2011
By Brian Stanley
WILLOW SPRINGS -- Plans to expand commuter service on the Heritage Corridor rail line are picking up speed.
Local mayors and representatives joined U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski on Monday to announce the Illinois Department of Transportation has agreed to fund a capacity study — the first step in allowing Metra and Amtrak to run more trains.
Currently, Metra runs three morning trains and three evening trains weekdays between Joliet and Chicago’s Union Station with stops in Lockport, Lemont, Willow Springs and Summit.
“Three trains is clearly not enough. We need more,” Lipinski said. “There is a tremendous demand along the line for more service.”
But it isn’t as easy as just adding more trains to the schedule. The tracks, which are owned by Candian National, are also used by freight trains and cross with other lines they use.
“The study is the first step we need to take (to see how to) dovetail all those things,” IDOT Secretary Gary Hanning said. The three-month study, which will be done by CN, will also determine if the Heritage Corridor line will be used for the planned high-speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis.
“(This is) one of the truly untapped corridors in our state, not only for redevelopment, but new development,” Romeoville Mayor John Noak said.
The village has received a federal grant to construct the next stop on the Heritage Corridor line — a 600-parking space station scheduled to be finished by early 2014.
State Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Lockport Mayor Dev Trivedi and Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves also spoke during Monday’s press conference.
“The Heritage Corridor is critically important, whether to get people to the city for work or entertainment,” Wilhelmi said.
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