Leaders suggest Amtrak increase number of trains

By Maggie Hockenberry

Published 08/08 2014 06:03PM

Updated 08/12 2014 01:50PM

Update: 10:06 pm
ILLINOIS -- There could be more trains making their way through Champaign. Amtrak is looking into how much travel has gone up over the past seven years. WCIA-3's Maggie Hockenberry explains.

"It takes so long. If there is a train, you think you can avoid it, but you can't."

Senator Dick Durbin and Governor Pat Quinn are asking Amtrak to study the growing amount of train travelers. Amtrak says, in the past seven years, nearly 400,000 passengers traveled between Chicago and Carbondale. It would mean more trains passing through Champaign.

"I would say I'm all for it. I mean, if it can take away the amount of time we wait just for a train to go by or wait for a train to leave somewhere, it would be great. If it's not going to do that, then I wouldn't be for it at all."

People using Amtrak trains say they would like it to help travel time.

"They layovers are ridiculous. To get from Southern Illinois up to Chicago to get to other areas like Peoria and Bloomington, you have to wait four and a half hours."

She says the wait is the reason she doesn't like to take the train.

"It's quicker. I could get to my destination in the time that I wait on a layover."

She says the wait in the car can be just as bad.

"You'll be sitting there for fifteen minutes. I've been late to meetings. I've been late to appointments. It's a total inconvenience."

There are three trains running northbound daily; two before 10 am, one in the afternoon.
Original: 5:01 pm
ILLINOIS -- Senator Dick Durbin and Governor Pat Quinn think more trains could be added to Amtrak routes, so they're asking the company to look into how many people are riding it. Amtrak says it's seen an increase of 85% in ridership between 2006 to last year.

That could mean adding more trains, some even passing through Champaign. The study will be the first step in expanding the number of trains along the Chicago to Carbondale route. The request was sent to Amtrak Wednesday.

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