More Amtrak For Illinois
Amtrak's website announces today that additional trains will be added to the Chicago-Quincy route in Illinois. The current train, the Illinois Zephyr, will be supplemented by the Carl Sandburg. Amtrak has already added trains to the Chicago-Carbondale route. These developments bode well for Amtrak's partnerships with states and for the survival of its regional trains. I find it interesting, however, that the Illini train operating between Chicago and Carbondale currently appears among Amtrak's "weekly specials," which the struggling corporation uses to inflate its passenger loads. Accompanying today's Carl Sandburg announcement is a self-congratulatory note about the throngs of people populating such regional trains. But if people are riding these trains for next to nothing thanks to bargain bin prices, can we really call their popularity a success? To be fair, the state has every reason to subsidize these trains; many of the towns they serve lack other means of transportation, especially now that Greyhound, which to my knowledge lacks state subsidies, has pulled out of many locations. Happy riders make happy voters!