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Published on : Friday, September 15, 2017
Amtrak customers today were welcomed by representatives of the railroad, City of Alton, Madison County, state and federal officials to the gleaming new Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center, an Amtrak station with modern amenities, Madison County Transit (MCT) connections and ample parking.
The new station was developed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (Illinois DOT) in conjunction with Alton and MCT. It includes a clock tower and large expanses of glass to allow natural light to flood the interior, free Wi-Fi access and bicycle facilities, replacing a depot opened by the Chicago and Alton Railroad in 1928. The River Bend Region’s rich railroad history is recognized with an exhibit in the new station at 1 Golf Road, Alton, Ill., 62002, part of the redevelopment of a former city golf course.
The Multimodal Transportation Center was built using $7.4 million in federal funding awarded to Illinois DOT, augmented by $13.85 million awarded to the city and MCT through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. Nearly 60,000 Amtrak customers used the old College Avenue station in the last year, a number likely to increase due to the local, state and federal investments.
“We are confident this development will be like the major stations we opened with the Illinois DOT in Champaign in 1999 and in Normal in 2012: it will spark area redevelopment while providing a vital transportation link,” said Mike Franke, Amtrak Senior Director-State Contracts. “This project shows what happens when a great city teams up with a great state transportation department and progressive providers such as MCT and Amtrak.”
“This landmark facility will expand regional transit options and provide opportunities for transit-oriented development adjacent to the new station,” said Mayor Brant Walker. “We are extremely thankful to our project partners, the Federal Railroad Administration, Illinois DOT, MCT and Amtrak for their tireless efforts to make this project a reality.”
“This beautiful new transportation center is one more step in a statewide effort to enhance the passenger rail experience along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor,” said Illinois DOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Travelers in Alton will enjoy a reliable, convenient options to get to where they want to go, while the region benefits from a new station that will help to create economic opportunity for years to come.”
“The opening of the new Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center is an important step forward in a statewide effort to improve the passenger rail experience along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor,” said Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “This beautiful new station will not only provide travelers in Alton and throughout the region with increased transportation options, it will also help spur economic development in and around the station.
“I was proud to work with my state and local partners in securing a nearly $14 million TIGER grant back in 2011 for this project and even prouder to see the result of those efforts here today.”
The Alton station is a popular place for St. Louis-area passengers to begin and end their trips, whether they are from the Illinois portion of the metro area or from the suburbs on the north side of St. Louis. At approximately 9,000 square feet-more than ten times larger than the former Amtrak station on College Avenue that was vacated on Wednesday-the transportation center includes a baggage room, waiting room, electronic information signs and vending machines.
Customers who had planned travel from the old depot were notified earlier this month of the station and schedule change that results in a two-minute difference in the timetables of the eight Amtrak Lincoln Service trains daily between St. Louis and Chicago, which are sponsored by Illinois DOT as part of the Amtrak Midwest network, and the daily Amtrak Texas Eagle between Chicago and San Antonio, with through service to El Paso, Tucson and Los Angeles.