During my November 2010 visit to Joliet Union Station I noticed some changes had taken place. The area where passengers load and unload from Amtrak trains had been resurfaced and fenced in. While still not the best look or functionality for the facility it is an upgrade from what was there before. Outside tiles around Joliet Union Station were also being replaced. Overall this gives the station a slightly better look. There is a long way to go in regards to returning this passenger terminal to it’s original glory.
There is conflicting information on how rehabilitation will take place at Joliet Union Station. Newspaper articles I’ve read state the terminal has financing in place for major upgrades to improve and fix much of what is wrong and decaying. My conversation with one person closer to the situation had me believing that wouldn’t be the case. They stated a new station would be built across the tracks instead of Union Station being refurbished.
From 2 round trip visits to the Joliet Amtrak Station I can tell you a lot of work and changes need to take place. Like many Amtrak passenger stations this one is only a shell of what it once was. The list of things needing fixed are long. During my last visit as I waited for Amtrak Lincoln Service the public restrooms had been graffitied. Honestly this may have actually improved the horrid condition of those facilities. One problem I saw that day is a security risk for Amtrak employees. The door that is supposed to protect employees at the ticket counter didn’t seem to want to stay on it’s hinges. From what I overheard this door is constantly a problem along with many other issues. Joliet Union Station is long overdue for some serious maintenance = not just bandaid fixes.
Granted the Springfield Illinois Amtrak station has it’s own problems. The contract for work to begin fixing those has been approved.
I can’t remember if any of the construction workers were Union Pacific employees. What I do know is one of them was very helpful – making sure we knew the train was late. This saved us from waiting and having to freeze outside. I’ll detail that more in another article. From the name on a piece of equipment the contractor looks to be John Burns Construction Company.
Update 10:35 PM
I’ve been unable to find articles I’ve read in regards to Joliet Union Station rehabilitation online. The information within Wikipedia confirms what I was told by the source close to the situation. This isn’t what I remember reading previously in our local paper. For a project that is supposed to be finished in 2013 I’ve seen no work taking place in regards to a new facility build.
In contrast when visiting the Bloomington Amtrak station you can see the new transportation hub being built now. Both communities are definitely being more proactive than Springfield the Illinois Capital.