Looking for a Place to Put a Belvidere Amtrak Station

Yesterday I drove a friend to Belvidere for medical treatment. I had about an hour to wait, so I went exploring in the city I represented in the Illinois House of Representatives for eight years in the 1970’s. Since I knew that the Amtrak route selected by Governor Pat Quinn when through the town, I wondered where the station would be.

I thought the little white building across the tracks on State Street might be a candidate for an Amtrak station.

I stopped on Business Route 20 (State Street) and took the picture above. I wondered if the little white building across the tracks might turn into a train station.

A block east there are parking lots to the north and south of the tracks.

The train would be coming in from the east. The empty spaces you see on the left and right on the other side of the street to the east are parking lots. I drove down to see if Pat Mattison, the publisher of the Belvidere Daily Republican I knew, who was running Belrock Printing after he sold the paper, was still in there.

Belvidere City Hall

He wasn’t.  His old office and plant was now the new Belvidere City Hall. I figured someone inside would know where the new train station would be located. I hit the jackpot.

Belvidere Alderman Andrew Racz

Alderman Andrew Racz was walking in the building as the woman at the City Clerk’s office was telling me that a display was inside the locked door. He recognized me and, while I couldn’t pull his name out of my ancient memory vault, I did remember his face.

Belvidere Mayor Frederic Brereton

He ushered me into to see the mayor, Frederic Brereton, who was outside in his reception area. I thanked him for his council’s having endorsed an Amtrak station in McHenry County before the McHenry County Board did. He told me there was a good working partnership.

Belvidere Mayor Frederic Brereton explains the elements of the display outside his office.

Brereton showed me the display outside his office, telling me the train station was going to be across the street from City Hall.

Mayor Frederic Brereton points to a drawing of the Amtrak Station. You can see City Hall across the tracks to the left in this aerial view.

“Go out the front door, stand in the middle of the street and look to your left. That’s where the station is going to be.” He told me that State Senator Brad Burzynski had gotten some state aid and that by eliminating a grad crossing by putting the station across Whitney Boulevard, he hoped that Amtrak might kick in some money as well, since the fewer grade crossing the better, as far as Amtrak was concerned.

The proposed Belvidere Amtrak Station will straddle Whitney Boulevard north of the tracks next to the Boone County Historical Museum. The street will be closed. Mayor Frederic Brereton envisions the station serving Metra trains as well.

So, I went outside, stood in the middle of the street and took the photo you see above. What will the station look like?

The proposed Amtrak/Metra Station as seen from the direction of State Street, which is Business U.S. 20.

Here’s another drawing I found outside the Mayor’s office.


Looking for a Place to Put a Belvidere Amtrak Station — 3 Comments

  1. Great. Another fake historic Disney rail station. Isn’t the point that this is supposed to be – ultimately – a HIGH SPEED rail connection? Why ask the rail equivalent of a Formula 1 car to stop at a Victorian stage set? Is that really the image Belvidere wants to show to passersby? When it gets to be a real project, please hire an architect that’s designed something in this century.

  2. The “REAL” story begins within the walls of the little red brick building, far right, next to ‘Curves.’

    “c’est la vie health spa & modeling.” See the little ‘Neon Window Sign.’

    The ‘Train Station” is a ‘sideshow’ in comparison! Maybe Keith Nygren can elaborate… Keith can you comment… oh that’s right, you only speak to the NW Herald….

    Bye, Bye ‘Dirty Keith!’

  3. Rail through Belvidere would be great. But the sustainability of rail will only be attained when car owners pay all their costs for parking and driving. The government doesn’t have enough money to subsidize trains as well as cars.

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