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IDOT continues with rail service from the Quad Cities to Chicago

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 19, 2014 5:33 p.m. CDT

WYANET — The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is continuing its plans to develop passenger rail service from the Quad Cities to Chicago, which includes a connecting point near Wyanet.

On Monday, IDOT spokesperson Jae Miller said IDOT would like to have the project completed in 2015, including the needed upgrades to the 53-mile railway tracks operated by the Iowa Interstate Railroad system from Moline to Wyanet. A construction and start schedule meeting will be held later this year, at which time more details will be available. Though the goal is to have the new service available to passengers in 2015, that date could have to be pushed back to 2016 in order to get needed upgrades completed, Miller said.

As announced by IDOT in August 2013, funding is in place for the project. The needed work will include upgrading the existing track and ties, as well as adding a new signal system. The exact site of the new connecting point near Wyanet has not yet been determined, Miller said.

The proposed Chicago to Quad Cities passenger rail service is expected to have two round trips per day from Chicago to the Quad Cities and other intermediate locations including Princeton, Mendota, Plano, Naperville and LaGrange. New stations were proposed for Moline and Geneseo.

As reported by WQAD News 8, the city of Moline is moving ahead with its own projects in anticipation of the completed IDOT project, including building a new train station and also an 85-room hotel in coming months. The city hopes to complete the new station and hotel by November 2015. When the new tracks and passenger service are in place, the city of Moline will be ready for it, said Moline City Administrator Lew Steinbrecher.

On Monday, Princeton Mayor Keith Cain said the new Quad Cities to Chicago passenger rail service will be a positive thing for Princeton, whenever it happens. The process of getting the project completed will be a long one, possibly longer than anticipated. However, with the planned stop in Princeton, the new passenger service will bring more people to the community, which is a good thing, the mayor said.

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