What to expect as Amtrak resumes full service of state-sponsored routes

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Amtrak trains across the state of Illinois resumed full service on Monday, July 19.

This came after months and months of Amtrak only running limited train services to the Carbondale Station.

Amtrak has resumed its Illini and Saluki routes daily to and from Chicago to Carbondale.

“So whether you’re boarding our trains in Poplar Bluff or in Du Quoin and Carbondale all of our regular services now available to you, so daily trains in all these places,” explained Marc Magliari, Chicago-based Amtrak spokesman.

He said full service means more trains on the rails.

“That means daily trains, three each way north and south from Carbondale and Du Quoin up to Chicago, and in Poplar Bluff our daily Texas Eagle is running and in Champaign and Carbondale our daily City of New Orleans train is running,” said Magliari.

He said the state-supported Amtrak trains are ran in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, and they had multiple meetings on when to begin full service.

“What we’re doing now is having all the service in place for the resumption of fall classes at SIU in Carbondale,” Magliari said. “Faculty, staff and students depend on our trains to get to and from. And we’re getting all our services back in time for both the state fair in Springfield on that route and the Du Quoin State Fair on the route that goes through Du Quoin and on to Carbondale.”

March of 2020 was the last time Amtrak ran full service.

In 2018 through 2019, Carbondale had 84,495 riders buy tickets or board, and in Du Quoin it was nearly 7,949.

In 2020, during the pandemic, Carbondale saw 50,761 passengers and Du Quoin dropped to just 4,389.

Miguel Olvera is a regular rider on Amtrak. He said he didn’t notice many changes to his trip.

“It wasn’t substantial change in any way, in my opinion, just because of the amount of people that typically ride the train,” said Olvera.

He was excited to be back on the rails.

“Absolutely, loved it, felt great. Yeah, didn’t have to deal with any inconveniences, so that makes life a little bit easier,” explained Olvera.

Magliari said riders must wear face covering at all times.

“The federal mask mandate that is in place inside stations and on our trains is still in place at least right now through mid-September,” he said. “It’s not clear if that’s going to be extended, it’s not clear if it’s going to be canceled early, so plan to wear a mask aboard our trains and inside our station.”

Magliari also said for those who are worried about crowded train cars, on Amtrak’s website and app you will be able to see how full those cars are.

He also said there is no fee for switching your train ticket either.

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