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Illinois Transport

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By car

Illinois is accessed through interstates 39, 90, & 94 through Wisconsin, 74 and 80 through Iowa, 55, 57, 64, 70, and 72 through Missouri, 24 through Kentucky, and 64, 70, 74, 80, 90, and 94 through Indiana

Concept art for Amtrak's proposed high-speed rail trainsets

Concept art for Amtrak’s proposed high-speed rail trainsets

By train

Amtrak serves many different areas of Illinois. All routes start and end in Chicago. You can get into Chicago from virtually all directions, east coast and west coast, north and south. There are numerous daily trains to and from Milwaukee and it is reasonably fast and reliable. There is daily service (the Empire Builder) to/from from Seattle/Portland, Oregon by way of Milwaukee. You can also get in from Washington DC, New York, and Boston on various daily trains. There are many local trains that serve downstate and southern Illinois that also serve long distance locations. Those routes are as follows:

The UP line from Chicago-St. Louis serves Summit, Joliet, Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville, Alton, and finally St. Louis. There are 4 trains each day, each way. One of those trains that serves this route is the Texas Eagle, and it will bring you into Illinois from San Antonio, Dallas, Arkansas, and Missouri.

The BNSF route from Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy. Only local service serves the Quincy portion of the line. The other service is provided by 2 daily long distance trains coming from either Los Angeles (the Southwest Chief) or San Francisco via Salt Lake City and Denver (the California Zephyr).

The CN route from Chicago-Carbondale has 3 trains each way daily. One long distance train is provided each way daily and will take you to/from New Orleans via Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis.

There is also a daily train to and from Indianapolis with continuing service on certain days of the week to/from Washington D.C. There is regular daily service to/from Washington D.C. via Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

By plane

Chicago has two major airports, O’Hare and Midway. Midway is smaller and closer to the downtown. There are many other airports with regional service in the state, including in Moline, Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and in St. Louis, across the river from Illinois.

Get around


The Baha'i Temple in Wilmette, one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois"

The Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, one of the “7 Wonders of Illinois”

Car travel is best for the majority of the state, easily accessed by interstates. However, if in Chicago, the city’s public transportation is one of the best in the nation. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) runs an extensive bus network in the city, almost every four blocks apart in some cases. Many of the CTA bus routes are 24 hours a day. The CTA also has an expansive subway/elevated rail network with stops approximately every half-mile to a mile apart in the city and some nearby suburbs. Some of the subway/elevated rail lines run 24 hours a day nonstop; the only other city in the world to offer 24 hour local rail service is New York City. Another Chicago-area bus agency, the Pace bus, serves mainly the entire suburbs and parts of Chicago. Metra is a commuter rail network that provides rail service between the city and suburbs far and near. It is quite useful for both morning and afternoon travel. So if in Chicago, getting around without a car is fairly easy. If your stay is in the Chicago suburbs or any other part of the state, a car will be best. Numerous highways run throughout the Chicagoland area. EZ-Pass users from the eastern U.S. can use their transponders on the Illinois Tollway at all toll booths. The price for EZ-Pass and I-Pass Users is half the cash price listed on the sign at the toll booth.

The national train service Amtrak is another way to get around the state. Amtrak serves many cities in the state. Greyhound buses, Megabus discount buses and it’s sister company, Coach USA, serves many Illinois locales. Sizeable cities also run public bus service of their own.

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