Officials celebrate Amtrak, public transportation facility upgrades in Galesburg, Illinois

November 20, 2015

Posted Nov. 19, 2015

GALESBURG — A year ago, the crowd that gathered at the Galesburg Amtrak Station Thursday morning would have been packed in shoulder-to-shoulder.Website Insert New Passenger Train Service copy

However, on Thursday morning visitors were able to spread out and take in the newly renovated space during an open house celebrating the upgrades to the facility. State and local officials who attended the event spoke highly of the new-look depot.

“I’m really happy and pleased on how it turned out,” said Community Development Director Roy Parkin. “It’s exactly what we wanted. It provides additional space for the Amtrak customers as well as the bus company facility.”

What was once an open-air waiting area is now enclosed so train riders can wait in warmth, out of the elements. The depot’s bathrooms were also remodeled as part of the project among other cosmetic renovations.

The station’s upgrades cost more than $600,000, all coming from the state and federal government. Dave Spacek, Illinois Department of Transportation deputy director of public and intermodal transportation, called the renovated station a “positive environment.”

“To me this is all about the customer,” he said. “If the customer can come in and have a really safe, clean, positive environment to wait in, whether it be train service or bus service, it’s a classy environment to be in. It’s not a dumpy train station you’ve got to wait in.”

State Rep. Don Moffitt and state Sen. Chuck Weaver attended the open house as well. Both were excited to see the upgrades.

“The facility looks fantastic and as I was walking in I was thinking, I spent about eight hours in here one night when the weather was bad and the train couldn’t get through and it would be a more enjoyable eight hours now,” Weaver, R-Peoria, said.

Moffitt, R-Gilson, who had a hand in securing the funding, said the renovations created a “new front door,” to Galesburg, especially with the Burlington Trailways bus service office in the station as part of the upgrades. With a number of colleges and universities on the Amtrak “corridor” from Quincy to Princeton, Moffitt said the station better promotes the rail service and could attract more passengers.

Mayor John Pritchard said one new amenity that stuck out to him was the actual new front doors, which replaced the old, heavy ones.

“Anybody that ever used the doors in here, it was a death trap to try and get through here with your bag,” Pritchard said.

Read the full story from reporter Marty Hobe of The Register-Mail by clicking here.

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