by Jeff Smith
City Web Page: https://www.peoriagov.org/394/Peoria-Passenger-Rail
All aboard the new Peoria to Chicago passenger rail corridor, tracing the historic Rock Island Peoria Rocket route! With this new route, communities like Peru-LaSalle, Utica, Ottawa, and Morris will finally have access to rail service, offering 5 daily round trips to Peoria, Joliet, Chicago Union Station, and more, with a flag stop at the stunning Starved Rock State Park. The Tazewell & Peoria Railroad, Iowa Interstate Railroad, CSX Transportation, Metra, and Amtrak will be involved in bringing this exciting project to life, with a potential of 600 daily riders. Peoria, the largest metropolitan area in Illinois without passenger rail service, is working to get the transportation upgrade it deserves!
The City of Peoria is the largest metropolitan area in Illinois without passenger rail service. However, a feasibility study for a passenger rail between Peoria and Chicago Union Station was conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation and found that the route is feasible, projected ridership levels are sufficient, and further analysis is warranted.
The initiative to establish passenger rail service in the city and its neighboring areas has received strong support. The plan entails the construction of stations in Peoria, Peru/LaSalle, Utica (as a flag stop for Starved Rock State Park), Ottawa, and Morris, as well as connections in Joliet and Chicago Union Station (CUS).
The Peoria to Chicago Passenger Rail Service aims to increase safety by diverting car trips to rail travel, projected to attract an average of 600 daily riders. Proposed improvements include upgrading 214 at-grade crossings with signals and gates to reduce accidents and evaluating all crossings for possible closure or grade separation. Upgrades to the rail infrastructure, including tracks and bridges, will provide safer transportation for freight trains and on-time performance for Amtrak's proposed five daily roundtrips.