New train station offers state-of-the-art facility
THE ISSUE: Does Carlinville benefit from a new train station?
OUR VIEW: The investment in a new station benefits the entire community and county.
CARLINVILLE (Dec. 14, 2017) – Monday, Dec. 11, marked an historic occasion for the city of Carlinville and greater Macoupin County as it was the date for the ceremonial opening of its newly constructed train station. Complete with music provided by the Carlinville High School band and a recitation of the Farewell Address Abraham Lincoln gave in 1862 at the Springfield railroad station before going to Washington, D.C., the event celebrated the city’s newest building.
Fifteen months of construction resulted in a new train station that was built with the future in mind as part of a statewide high-speed rail project connecting St. Louis and Chicago. While high speed rail service is an important investment for the state of Illinois, communities along the route also reap benefits. Funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, IDOT, and the city of Carlinville, Amtrak officials predict that the numbers of travelers and the corresponding revenue will continue to increase as a result of the new station. Truly the city and entire county will benefit from the station and its ability to attract tourism.
According to J. Scott Speegle, passenger rail communications manager with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), “The design intent was for a clean modern look that evokes modern rail transportation while incorporating forms, materials and colors that relate to the historic vernacular of the community.” Expansive windows provide natural lighting and picturesque views of the rails in either direction.
Carlinville native and artist David Bellm painted the beautiful mural that adorns the exterior of the station and features Abraham Lincoln making a whistle stop in Carlinville and tipping his top hat to those looking at the mural.
A true showpiece for the city, the station makes an eloquent first impression on travelers encountering Carlinville, whether that be for the first time or a repeated visit. Parking spaces are now clearly marked and a convenient drop-off area is an added convenience.
Of all the new amenities, frequent rail passengers are most pleased that the station has bathrooms as well as a reliable heating and cooling system. Additional seating is provided, as is a monitor to provide information about arrivals and departures. More than 10,000 travelers used Carlinville’s station in 2016, an increase of about 500 passengers from 2015. The station is well used by commuters on a daily basis and Blackburn College students and other travelers.
We echo IDOT secretary Randy Blankenhorn, who stated, “Investments in transportation aren’t just about trains and roads, they’re about communities. This is going to be a wonderful first impression for your community.” Well said, and we wholeheartedly agree and congratulate all entities who worked together to make the new train station possible.