• Welcome!
    Logout|My Dashboard

Northern Star Online

DeKalb-to-Chicago passenger train not in immediate future

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 12:00 am

Don't expect a train station any time soon.

There have been rumors DeKalb may again provide rail transportation to Chicago since the DeKalb-to-Chicago train service ended in 1971.

"There has been talk of train service," said DeKalb City Engineer Joe Mauer.

"But not serious talk. Any plans would be long-term, not in the next three years. Maybe in the next six to 10, but probably later."

A funding issue faces the expansion of services from Metra's West-Line ending point in Elburn to DeKalb.

"The first step to getting train service would be to create a mechanism to pay," said Metra Spokeswoman Meg Reile. "However, the special taxing district that helps pay for the service and construction extends only as far west as Kane County. DeKalb County would have to pass a county-wide referendum with tax increases to make the project possible."

As the population of DeKalb changes and grows more connected to Chicago and the eastern suburbs, some think public transportation services must adapt.

"We are an extension of Chicago, we should get more direct service," said senior history major David Dombowski.

Currently, the transit options to Chicago include a Huskie Bus service to the Elburn Metra station, a daily Greyhound from DeKalb's Lukulos parking lot and private transportation.

"The cost-benefit analyses have to be taken into account," Reile said.

"Comparable projects to starting passenger-train service in DeKalb have been in the hundred-million-dollar figures."

Other rumors say there's been opposition to the direct train route from Chicago to DeKalb for safety issues, including fear of an increase of Chicago crime.

"In terms of public safety, we are able to import enough low-lives without a train," said Lt. Jim Kayes of the DeKalb Police Department. "That is not a reason there isn't train service."

To extend passenger train service to DeKalb, a third line would have to be added to the existing train infrastructure.

There are currently two freight lines, which can't accommodate commuter service.

"Maple Park is testing the feasibility of bringing the line to the very edge of Kane County," Mauer said.

That would bring a passenger train within 10 miles of DeKalb, but any closer will take much more time.

Work at the Northern Star
Subscribe to the Northern Star's Weekly News Recap
Northern Star Facebook
Northern Star Twitter


Submit a Letter to the Editor
View Our e-Edition