Illinois rail study wrapping up with virtual public hearing

A FREIGHT TRAIN is seen stopped in front of a Braidwood crossing in this 2017 file photo. The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking public comments on the state's rail system project.


The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is hosting a virtual public hearing through Jan. 21 as part of an ongoing study assessing the state’s rail system to help identify potential improvements and solutions. The event will provide an update on input collected throughout the year on current conditions, capacity concerns and safety challenges.

The event, hosted at, includes a short video and information on feedback received since the study launched a year ago.

The study goals are to identify public safety issues, pinpoint economic development opportunities, identify opportunities for funding, and to find projects to improve rail operations statewide.

The information gathered will be used in the development of a statewide rail plan. It also will serve to inform IDOT’s ongoing Illinois Long-Range Transportation Plan, providing strategic direction for the development of the state’s transportation system.

The study will wrap up at the end of January.

Illinois is the rail hub of North America, the only state in which all seven Class 1 railroads operate. The state has more than 10,000 miles of track and serves a robust passenger rail network, with Amtrak connecting 30 communities statewide and Metra operating 11 lines in the Chicago area.

Under the Rebuild Illinois capital program, Illinois is making investments in both passenger and freight rail, including $500 million to re-establish passenger rail to the Quad Cities and Rockford, $400 million for the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation and Efficiency (CREATE) Program, $100 million for improvements to improve safety and reliability on Amtrak’s Saluki service between Chicago and Carbondale, and $78 million to upgrade rail crossings and improve safety throughout the state.

The virtual session can be viewed through Jan. 21.

Comments can be submitted online following that session, by email to, or by mail to:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Attn: DeAnna Smith
Room 311
2300 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, IL 62764