NORMAL, Ill. — More and more people in Central Illinois are riding the train instead of taking to the road or skies.
AMTRAK’s officials just announced in the last year they have more riders than ever before.
“My experience, for the most part, has been mostly wonderful,” said Brenda Pedersen of Normal. “I’ve been riding AMTRAK for years and have been on most of the routes.”
Dating back to October of last year, AMTRAK has seen an 8% increase in ridership.
“I went on it the first time yesterday and it was really cool,” said Jay of Normal. “It was really cool. I was telling an Uber driver that if that was a living option, that would be a really cool living option.”
AMTRAK representatives say they’ve done a lot to bring people aboard. The company recently spent $400,000 in train upgrades and another $78 million to improve accessibility.
“You have a lot more space than an airplane, where you’re squished in and can’t move for hours,” said Pedersen. “You don’t have to worry about the weather at all, you have your own dinning room right there. You meet wonderful people on the train.”
There’s even more being done to enhance your experience. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today announced that the Trump Administration will invest $900 million in American infrastructure through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. Of that, $13 million is being spent on upgrading the underpass at Uptown Station.
The station will also get a second boarding platform.
Leaders hope their vision inspires even more people to consider a trip on the train.