IDOT, IAIS agreement advances Chicago to Quad Cities passenger service

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reached an agreement with Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) to perform design work for a portion of the route for the new passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline. Next month, IDOT is planning to begin making improvements to accommodate service on the BNSF portion of the route.


“This agreement is another significant milestone in re-establishing passenger service between two great Illinois cities,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “I would like to thank IAIS, as well as BNSF, for working with us as the host railroads to deliver a service that will create jobs, spark economic development, provide another travel option and improve the quality of life in so many communities along this line.”

The agreement permits IAIS to begin designing the signal system and plan the execution of the track and tie improvements that will allow passenger trains on the 53 miles between Wyanet and Moline. Once the planning work is done later this year and upon agreement between IDOT and the railroad regarding the scope of the project and the responsibilities for maintenance and operations expenses for the service, IDOT and the railroad willdetermine a construction timeline and start date for service along the entire route between Chicago and Moline.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September at BNSF’s Eola Yard in Aurora to facilitate additional passenger trains on the 109 miles between Chicago and Wyanet.

The Chicago-Moline service is made possible by $78 million from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and $177 million in federal funding.

Service will begin with two daily round-trips, with stops in LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton and Geneseo, which will receive a new $1.7-million station as part of the project.