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Quinn Calls on Amtrak to Study Rail Service to O'Hare

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 21, 2011 10:05PM

Gov. Quinn has asked Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman to conduct a study looking into the feasibility of one day connecting Amtrak Service from Union Station to O'Hare as a nonstop commuter rail as an alternative to Mayor Daley's much-criticized plan for high speed rail from the unfinished Block 37 station to the airport. Quinn sees an opportunity to connect O'Hare with proposed high-speed rail lines between St. Louis and Chicago. the goal of the study is to measure the costs of doing so and figure out the logistics.

Part of those logistical problems is developing a route from Union Station to O'Hare using Amtrak rails. The Tribune's John Hilkevitch notes Metra has limited weekday service to Antioch with a stop at the O'Hare connector station just outside Gate F parking lot. But Metra uses rails owned by Canadian National Railway, which is why that service is limited on weekdays. The study Quinn commissioned will include discussions with CN/Wisconsin Central and Metra. Another hurdle: the city Department of Aviation has halted plans for a western terminal to the airport as part of the O'Hare modernization plan, at least temporarily.