Iowa/Nebraska

Existing rail service in Iowa and Nebraska is unreliable and provides only a single Amtrak line. Actual improvements have already been made on the current Amtrak service, but more projects must be advanced from the planning to the construction stage. Another rail service is needed to connect other Iowa cities to the Quad Cities and then to Chicago. To establish effective service and integration into the Midwestern rail network, Iowa and Nebraska must work to establish and maintain service from Chicago to the Quad Cities. If this route is shuttered, future rail projects connecting Iowa and Nebraska to the Midwest network will be difficult to provide.

Projects

Chicago-Rockford-Dubuque
Service from Rockford to Chicago, with an eventual extension to Dubuque, was supposed to begin in 2015. However the $223 million expansion is on hold due to Governor Rauner’s budget cuts.

In 2014 plans to restore Amtrak service between Chicago and Rockford were set into motion. Travel was expected to begin in late 2015, with IDOT negotiating for the use of the Canadian National Railway to extend service to Dubuque. However, in February 2015, Bruce Rauner announced that the service would not be started as previously planned, placing the $223 million program on hold.

Future Passenger Rail in Iowa
Future connections could include passenger rail service to Dubuque, Iowa City, Ames, Waterloo, Davenport and Iowa Falls.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has studied the creation of a route connecting Dubuque, Iowa City, Ames, Waterloo, Davenport and Iowa Falls with service of 110mph. Long term plans are to improve connections to Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha and other midwestern cities to facilitate economic cooperation throughout the region. Click here to learn more

Moline Multi-Modal Station
A $30 million station to be constructed in downtown Moline that will have space for a hotel, retail and receiving areas for Amtrak Trains and buses. The project should be completed in 2016.

The Multi-Modal Station is being funded by the state government, local city and a TIGER Federal grant of $10 million. Illinois promised to fund the rest of the station’s costs, but due to state budgetary issues, Moline has paid the state’s portion. Construction began in August of 2015, after several delays relating to grants. After being restored it will serve as the station for future Chicago to Quad Cities Amtrak service. It is intended to improve the downtown area by making it more accessible and spurring additional private investments. The improvements to this station are vital for any plans to expand this line into Iowa to be successful. Click Here to Learn More

Chicago-Omaha via Des Moines
The California Zephyr is the current Amtrak route linking Chicago to Omaha with stops in Burlington, Mt. Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola and Creston. A high speed rail route would include a stop in Des Moines and cut the travel time in half.

A Record of Decision by the FRA concluded that of 5 proposed routes from Chicago to Omaha, the route running through Quad Cities, Iowa City and Des Moines would be the most cost effective and have the highest ridership. The first step for a rail line between Chicago and the Quad Cities is set to be completed in 2016. However, no rail exists from the Quad Cities to Omaha via Des Moines, despite expectations that the line would bring 1.3 million passengers and improve travel reliability in the winters.Click here to learn more

Chicago-Omaha BNSF Upgrades
A first step to creating a high speed rail link between Omaha and Chicago is through upgrades to the BNSF railroad. These upgrades, worth $23 million, will reconnect the Quad Cities with Chicago.

Small upgrades of the current BNSF track are already underway. The Improvements include increasing passenger train capacity along the 109 mile Illinois stretch, which will also restore passenger rail service to the Quad Cities. These improvements cost $23 million and are a combination of federal and state funds. BNSF is also expected to invest significantly in the Iowa portion of the amtrak line. However, more investments are needed to create a more efficient and quicker Amtrak service from Chicago to Omaha.

Chicago-Moline-Iowa City
Illinois was set to resume service from Chicago to Moline (the Quad Cities) in 2016, but this plan has been placed on hold as funding is endangered by Governor Rauner’s proposed budget cuts.

The first step for a rail line between Chicago and Quad Cities is supposed to be completed in 2016. At the moment no rail exists from the Quad Cities to Des Moines via Iowa City. A Record of Decision by the FRA concluded that of 5 proposed routes from Chicago to Omaha, the route running through Des Moines, Iowa City and the Quad Cities would be the most cost effective and have the highest ridership.

Chicago-Omaha via Des Moines
The California Zephyr is the current Amtrak route linking Chicago to Omaha with stops in Burlington, Mt. Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola and Creston. A high speed rail route would include a stop in Des Moines and cut the travel time in half.

A Record of Decision by the FRA concluded that of 5 proposed routes from Chicago to Omaha, the route running through Quad Cities, Iowa City and Des Moines would be the most cost effective and have the highest ridership. The first step for a rail line between Chicago and the Quad Cities is set to be completed in 2016. However, no rail exists from the Quad Cities to Omaha via Des Moines, despite expectations that the line would bring 1.3 million passengers and improve travel reliability in the winters.Click here to learn more

Chicago-Omaha BNSF Upgrades
A first step to creating a high speed rail link between Omaha and Chicago is through upgrades to the BNSF railroad. These upgrades, worth $23 million, will reconnect the Quad Cities with Chicago.

Small upgrades of the current BNSF track are already underway. The Improvements include increasing passenger train capacity along the 109 mile Illinois stretch, which will also restore passenger rail service to the Quad Cities. These improvements cost $23 million and are a combination of federal and state funds. BNSF is also expected to invest significantly in the Iowa portion of the amtrak line. However, more investments are needed to create a more efficient and quicker Amtrak service from Chicago to Omaha.