Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg to Start Running Oct. 30

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Starting Oct. 30, Illinois’ partnership with Amtrak will include an additional train on the Quincy-Chicago corridor, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced.The expanded service comes after news that all state-sponsored Amtrak routes posted record ridership levels for Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2006; the expansion also includes additional round-trips on the Chicago-Carbondale line. Tickets for the new trains are now on sale.

The expansion is part of a plan to more than double state-sponsored passenger rail service. Round-trips between Chicago and downstate will increase from three daily to seven daily by the end of October.

“Amtrak is an affordable travel option, and in many communities it’s the only form of public transportation,” Blagojevich said. “People want and use Amtrak; that’s why we doubled our commitment to ensuring we have regular passenger rail service. During the past several years we’ve continued to see an increase in the people riding the Illinois state-sponsored trains.”

Starting Oct. 30, daily state-sponsored train service between Chicago and Quincy is being doubled to two round-trips.

Under this schedule, there will be new morning and evening departures from Chicago and Quincy. Combined with the other trains on the Quincy route that are part of the national Amtrak network, there will be four daily round-trips on the Chicago-Galesburg segment, two of them state-supported.

“We are proud that ridership on state-supported Amtrak trains in Illinois is now nearly a million passengers and growing,” said Alex Kummant, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer. “We deeply appreciate the leadership of Gov. Blagojevich and the state legislature in continuing the strong partnership with Amtrak to provide more frequent service for the people of Illinois.”

This spring, Blagojevich and the Illinois General Assembly increased state funding for passenger rail service by Amtrak from $12.1 million to $24 million.

The additional frequency on the Quincy route will be known as the Carl Sandburg and both it and the current Illinois Zephyr will carry new train numbers.

These state-supported trains will operate as reserved service, with the lowest fares ordinarily available with the most advanced purchase, and offer food and beverages in the café car. Ten-ride tickets will also be available, as will Business class in a two-seats/aisle/one-seat configuration with leg rests, footrests and other amenities for a slight surcharge.

Blagojevich recently announced the new schedules, train numbers and ticket availability for the state-sponsored Chicago-Carbondale trains, the new Saluki (Trains 390 & 391) and the current Illini (Trains 392 & 393). Starting Oct. 30, daily train service between Chicago and Carbondale is increasing from two round-trips to three round-trips, two of them state-supported.

– Special to News Wire