When Will Pat Quinn Use Amtrak Again?

On Friday, October 19th, right before the election, Governor Pat Quinn took Amtrak on a 15-mile trip.

From Dwight to Pontiac, I think.

The train went 111 miles per hour.

Governor Pat Quinn got a publicity pop a month ago going faster than a car on a very small part of the trip from Chicago to Springfield.

The problem is that a car can still drive from the Chicago area to Springfield faster than the train.

And the Governor can fly in one of the State’s fleet of planes, just like the influential Chicago legislators.

They won’t take the train.

During the 1970′s when I had a lot of time, I often took the train from Crystal Lake to Chicago and from Chicago to Springfield and back.

But it didn’t save me time. Didn’t save me money either, because the State reimbursed the cost of the train ticket.

The train looking like a bullet train, but it’s maximum speed was only 69 miles per hour, just like now on most of the route.

I’d look out the window and see cars passing the train.

After a stop in Joliet and Dwight and Pontiac and Normal and Lincoln, I’d see the same cars and trucks passing us again.

It’s going to be a long time–probably never–when someone from the Northwest, Western or Southwester suburbs is tempted into Amtrak to go to Springfield.

Except to the train riding experience maybe.

And, I’m bold enough to suggest that there are not a lot of regular travelers from Downtown Chicago to Downtown St. Louis.

Hey. It only is going to cost $4 billion.

That would build a lot of roads.


Comments

When Will Pat Quinn Use Amtrak Again? — 2 Comments

  1. Not like I’m doing it much these days, but — I LOVE taking the train to Springfield, in precisely the fashion you describe.

    I can go from my front door in Harvard to the front door of the Capitol Building — and walk slightly more than a mile in the process. Every other inch is via Metra and Amtrak.

    Speed doesn’t matter to me: I can get a lot done on my laptop and phone. (And catch up on my reading! And sleep!)

    Quinn — and you, Cal — are/were setting good examples. Thank you.

    There’s no reason why any governor and staff can’t reserve enough space on Amtrak to conduct state business TODAY while traveling between Chicago and Springfield. (Well, okay, yeah, it’s Thanksgiving. Next week, then!)

    Heck, let’s make over an entire Amtrak car as a dedicated (and rolling) state office, and equip it with conference space and wi-fi and the whole bit.

    In concept, it’d be kind of like Air Force One without wings. Legislators and state staff and press could (and should!) ride it, too, when they’re on official business. Hook it up to regular Amtrak service and make one round trip per day.

    Yeah, I can see it now. “Illinois One.” Lead by example, and encourage more train travel.

    I plainly confess to having a big case of sticker shock with respect to the four billion tab for high speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis. Given our fragile (polite word) finances, I’d prefer to “go slow on going fast” for the present.

    But I wouldn’t put much money into roads, either. As a society, we completely overuse automobiles. We need to change our collective mindset, and drive much, much less.

    Thanks for the soapbox. :)

  2. Hopefully on his way out of office. Find a bench seat for quinn, madigan and cullerton.

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