Illinois Zephyr

Illinois Zephyr

Infobox Amtrak
name = Illinois Zephyr
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numbers = 383 westbound
380 eastbound
route = Chicago – Quincy, Illinois
distance = mi to km|258
start = 1971
end = present
owners = BNSF
The "Illinois Zephyr" is a 258-mile (415 km) passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. The train is a part of the "Illinois Service" rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Between Chicago and Galesburg, Illinois, this train service uses the same triple track (BNSF, old CB&Q) as three other Amtrak routes: the "California Zephyr", the "Southwest Chief", and the "Carl Sandburg". The Galesburg to Quincy route (old CB&Q Quincy/Hannibal branch) is only served by the "Illinois Zephyr" and the "Carl Sandburg".

Service began on November 14, 1971, between Chicago and West Quincy, Missouri. Passenger service was cut back to Quincy, Illinois on May 1, 1994 after a major flood in 1993. The "Illinois Zephyr" and the "Carl Sandburg" trainsets continue to cross the Mississippi River to layover between runs.

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The "Illinois Zephyr" is a descendant of the "Kansas City Zephyr" and "American Royal Zephyr" passenger train routes operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad until 1968 and 1971, respectively. The state of Illinois intervened in 1971 at the request of Quincy College (now Quincy University), Western Illinois University, and residents of western Illinois. This became part of the "Illinois Service" initiative in 1971 and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The "Illinois Zephyr" was never extended to either St. Louis or Kansas City from Quincy, Illinois. Amtrak's "Southwest Chief" already provided a Chicago to Kansas City route and the state of Missouri's "Missouri Service" only funded the extension of the "Ann Rutledge" to provide daily service between Kansas City and St. Louis with continuing services to Chicago via Springfield.

The name "Zephyr" is preserved in the current name of the line. Today the "Illinois Zephyr" enjoys strong support from the communities it passes through, and is one of the most successful Amtrak routes. [cite web|url=| title=More climb aboard| author=Gray, Jessica| date=2007-02-24| accessdate=2007-07-17|| ] The communities promote the train line as the fastest means of getting to downtown Chicago, and train tickets are frequently sold out. As such, the route is part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, which calls for an upgrade of service from the former 1 daily round trip to 4 or more daily round trips. The addition of the Carl Sandburg train on October 30, 2006 was the first step in this "Midwest Regional Rail Initiative" service upgrade. The scheduled travel time from Chicago to Quincy via the "Illinois Zephyr" is 4 hours, 15 minutes.

Timetable updates

The "Illinois Zephyr", ran as trains 347 (evening westbound) and 348 (morning eastbound) until October 30, 2006. On that date, the train numbers were changed, partially in anticipation of other expanded services: train 347 became train 383 and train 348 became train 380. Additionally, the "Carl Sandburg" service was added, running two new trains on the same route: train 381, a morning westbound, and train 382, an evening eastbound. This essentially doubled the existing service.


External links

* [;;c=am2Route&cid=1081256321807&ssid=133 Amtrak - "Illinois Service"]

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