(The Center Square) – Amtrak’s back to running its pre-pandemic schedule of five daily trains between Chicago and St. Louis, as Monday marked a resumption of the rail carrier’s full downstate service.
Marc Magliari is a spokesperson for Amtrak.
“Throughout the pandemic, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Amtrak have been talking about when would be the right time to resume service, and we’re doing it here, on all the downstate routes, in time for lots of stuff – including the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair, back-to-school for students, and of course cross-state baseball rivalries.”
The return to full service is a boon to central Illinois locations like Bloomington-Normal and Springfield.
“On the tourism side,” said Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder, “we get a lot of visitors for the Lincoln sites, and the more you have accessibility, the better off you’ll be.”
This fall, according to Magliari, riders can look forward to, among other things, new rail cars, improved wi-fi, self-deploying ramps, and expanded business class service.
While Amtrak is again running five trains a day between Chicago and St. Louis, masks are still required on all trains as well as inside all Amtrak stations. Magliari ruled out any rollback of the full schedule due to current or future COVID-19 spikes.
The abridged Lincoln Service had been in effect since March 2020.