Illini (Amtrak)

Illini (Amtrak)

Infobox Amtrak
name = Illini
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numbers = 393 southbound
392 northbound
route = Chicago – Carbondale, Illinois
distance = mi to km|310
start = 1971
end = present
owners = IC (CN)
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The "Illini" is a 310-mile (499 km) passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the "Illinois Service" rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and by local governments along the route. The train service uses the same track as another Amtrak route, the "City of New Orleans". As of 2006, an additional train, the "Saluki", serves the exact same route at an alternate time.

The "Illini" is a descendant of the "Seminole Limited", a train operated by the Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) from 1909 that ran from Chicago to Jacksonville, Florida via Carbondale. In 1969 declining numbers of passengers forced the ICRR to cancel the service to Jacksonville, leaving only the Chicago-to-Carbondale segment of the route. It was renamed the "Shawnee", after the Shawnee tribe.

In 1971 Amtrak took over all ICRR passenger service and kept only two passenger trains on the Chicago-Carbondale route, one of which was the "Shawnee". Amtrak eventually renamed it the "Illini", named for the Illiniwek, the same Native American confederacy that gave Illinois its name. The "Illini" service was nearly canceled in 1996, but local communities along the route pledged funds to keep it running.

University students make up a significant portion of the "Illini's" passengers. The train has stops near three major Illinois state universities: Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Eastern Illinois University in Charleston (near Mattoon), and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The Champaign station may be a source of the train's name: UIUC's sports teams are called the Fighting Illini.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the "Illini", along with the rest of the Illinois Service trains, posted record ridership levels in the 2005-2006 fiscal year. Ridership has continued to steadily increase every month in 2007.


External links

* [;c=am2Route&cid=1081256321807&ssid=133 Amtrak - "Illinois Service"] (the schedule is linked on the [;c=am2Route&cid=1081256321831&ssid=136 "City of New Orleans" page] )

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