Illinois slows plan to expand Hiawatha service

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A northbound Amtrak Hiawatha passes through the Glen of North Glenview, Ill., Metra station. Glenview's opposition has led the state of Illinois to slow plans for expanded Hiawatha service.
TRAINS: David Lassen

CHICAGO — A plan to increase Amtrak Hiawatha service between Milwaukee and Chicago has been delayed because of local concerns about noise and the construction of a new siding near Glenview, Ill., the Chicago Tribune reports.

The Illinois and Wisconsin departments of transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration want to increase the number of Hiawatha runs from seven to 10 daily round trips. To do that, a new 10,000 foot siding will have to be constructed in the area to hold freight trains. The new siding would require the construction of a 20-foot retaining wall and the loss of some green space that residents say serve as an effective sound barrier. Residents say the additional service is not worth losing the green space.

Glenview has spent almost $400,000 of city money to fight the planned expansion, including money for public relations work, lobbying, and legal fees. [See "Glenview fight against additional Amtrak service continues with $160,000 for study," Trains News Wire, July 12, 2018.]

“Based on the feedback we received, it’s apparent more analysis and outreach are required before this project moves forward,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says. “We will be asking our project team to perform that analysis and do the necessary outreach so the impacted communities are more involved in the decision-making process.”

It’s unclear how much more additional time the IDOT will need to study the project.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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