Gov. JB Pritzker has selected Metra to operate intercity passenger rail service from Chicago to Rockford, with stops in Elgin, Huntley, and Belvidere. Rail service will provide efficient, safe and reliable transportation operations up to 79 mph to connect Illinois communities with the Chicago metropolitan area. Passenger service is expected to begin by 2027. 


Chicago to Rockford History timeline

  1. 1974 - 1981

    Passenger rail service between Chicago and Rockford is available through the "Black Hawk" route, which ends due to reduced funding and as automobiles become the transportation mode of choice.

  2. 2007 - 2014

    Operators and IDOT conduct feasibility studies and weigh route options.

  3. 2019 - 2023

    Governor Pritzker allocates $275 million in the "Rebuild Illinois" capital plan for Chicago to Rockford Intercity Passenger Rail allowing IDOT to reinstates the program. IDOT begins negotiating stakeholder and operator agreements.

  4. 2023

    Governor Pritzker announces Metra will operate Chicago to Rockford Intercity Passenger Rail service.

  5. 2023 - 2026

    IDOT advances design, field reviews, environmental clearances and stakeholder coordination. 

  6. 2025 - 2027

    Construction of proposed improvements required for Chicago to Rockford Intercity Passenger Rail Service.

  7. 2027

    Intercity Passenger Rail service between Chicago and Rockford is anticipated to resume.

News & Events

Program Updates May 2024

IDOT released program updates regarding crossings and stations. If you would like to subscribe to receive future updates, please visit the Stay Informed page of the website.

IDOT Concludes First Series of Public Meetings

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) concluded their first series of public meetings in September. Additional engagement opportunities will become available as the program progresses. If you were not able to attend a public meeting, the meeting presentation is available for further viewing.  View Presentation

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