Program Updates May 2024

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News — Chicago to Rockford


In March and April 2024, field diagnostics were completed at the public, at-grade crossings in the communities of Rockford, Cherry Valley, Belvidere, Garden Prairie, Marengo, Union, Huntley, and Gilberts. A total of 50 public crossings were reviewed in the field as part of IDOT’s passenger rail program.

The diagnostic team included representatives from Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad, and the local roadway jurisdiction. At each crossing, the diagnostic team reviewed existing roadway and railroad crossing conditions, records of past diagnostics, anticipated track improvements in the area, drainage needs, and scope of crossing safety improvements required for introduction of passenger rail trains.

With the completion of the diagnostics for the public crossings between Elgin and Rockford, the IDOT design team will begin preliminary engineering efforts for each crossing. Environmental reviews and preliminary designs, to a 30% level, are expected to be complete in 2024.

IDOT anticipates completion of final design in 2025 and 2026 with start of crossing construction in 2026. IDOT will coordinate with all crossing communities during construction seasons to ensure advance notice has been provided and detour routes during temporary crossing closures have been reviewed with local officials, including police and fire departments.

The diagnostic team on site at a public crossing in Belvidere.


The IDOT team has been meeting with the station communities to review conceptual site locations in the areas of Rockford, Belvidere, and Huntley. Station site assessment includes the review of:

  • Site location and proximity to adjacent at-grade crossings
  • Availability to accommodate minimum platform length of 380 feet
  • Accessibility of the site
  • Connection to local public transit networks
  • Connection to local sidewalk and path networks
  • Vehicle access to and through the site
  • Public safety and security
  • Potential for future expansion of station facilities

The anticipated station amenities with IDOT’s passenger rail program will include:

  • Passenger platform for boarding
  • Passenger waiting shelter
  • Passenger seating
  • Site lighting
  • Station signage including directional, informational, and regulatory signage
  • Passenger Information Display System (PIDS)
  • Parking
  • Bicycle parking
  • Landscaping, site furnishings, and safety fencing

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