Approval of four of the five agencies necessary to make the an Amtrak stop for long distance rail travel has been verbally received.
The Illinois and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation, Metra, the City of Lake Forest and Amtrak have granted verbal approval for an Amtrak stop to be added at the West Lake Forest depot, but the project still hinges on the support of Canadian Pacific Railway.
“We are very optimistic at this point,” said.
Canadian Pacific is concerned that adding an Amtrak stop would stress the tracks’ capacity and is looking into how it might affect its freight traffic.
While Kiely said he did not have a timeline for when the railroad will make a decision, he said there is no rush since the stop could not be added until after the station’s is completed. Construction is expected to begin on the project next summer.
“Amtrak has been very adamant that they’re concerned with pedestrian safety,” Kiely said. “They really want to see the tunnel in place before it becomes a full fledged stop.”
Amtrak currently operates stops in Chicago and Glenview. The Lake Forest stop would be the first in Lake County.
“You could hop the train there to go to Summerfest in Milwaukee or switch trains to go all the way to Seattle,” Kiely said. “It really opens up opportunities for residents of Lake Forest, but also Lake County.”