40-year-dormant line restored


Author: Mankirat Kaur

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has announced that it is partnering with Metra to restore the Chicago to Rockford service that was discontinued over 40 years ago in 1981.

Part of IDOT’s so-called ‘Rebuild Illinois’ project, $275 million will be invested in the recreated line, with State Senator Steve Stadelman says the train service will be a ‘game-changer’ for Rockford and Belvidere. The trains are expected to be in service by the end of 2027.

The plan is to use existing Metra rolling stock for two roundtrips per day. The number of cars per train is still to be determined based on ridership projections and agreements to be reached with Metra.

Governor JB Pritzker says, ‘With this new service, we're connecting more communities and creating greater opportunities for people across the state line region.’

In order to restore the passenger service, IDOT states that track improvements between Elgin and Rockford would be necessary such as increasing speeds from 40mph to 79mph. This will enable quicker journeys which would take less than 2 hours and allowing customers to reach their destination sooner.