Illinois Zephyr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Illinois Zephyr
Amtrak Train No. 383 the Illinois Zephyr pulled by AMTK 17.jpg
The Illinois Zephyr, westbound on the BNSF Chicago subdivision.
Service type Inter-city rail
Locale Illinois
Predecessor American Royal Zephyr and Kansas City Zephyr
First service November 14, 1971
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Start Chicago, Illinois
Stops 8
End Quincy, Illinois
Distance travelled 258 miles (415 km)
Average journey time 4 hours 28 minutes
Service frequency Daily
Train number(s) 380, 383
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s) BNSF Railway
Route map
Dist. Station
0 mi
0 km
14 mi
23 km
La Grange
28 mi
45 km
DuPage River
38 mi
61 km
Fox River
52 mi
84 km
83 mi
134 km
104 mi
167 km
Hennepin Canal
131 mi
211 km
162 mi
261 km
California Zephyr
and Southwest Chief
202 mi
325 km
258 mi
415 km
Mississippi River
West Quincy, Missouri

The Illinois Zephyr, running since 1971, is a 258-mile (415 km) passenger train operated by Amtrak, that runs between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Between Chicago and Galesburg, Illinois, this train service uses the same double track (BNSF, old CB&Q) as three other Amtrak routes: the California Zephyr, the Southwest Chief, and the Carl Sandburg. The Galesburg to Quincy route (old CB&Q Quincy/Hannibal branch) is only served by the Illinois Zephyr and the Carl Sandburg. The Illinois Zephyr is the "longest continuously operated state-sponsored train."[1]:241

During fiscal year 2015, both the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg carried a combined 208,961 passengers, a 2.8% decrease over fiscal year 2014.[2] The two trains had a total revenue of $5,287,029 in fiscal year 2015, a 4.2% decrease over fiscal year 2014.[2]


Service began on November 14, 1971, between Chicago and West Quincy, Missouri. Passenger service was cut back to Quincy, Illinois on May 1, 1994, after a major flood in 1993. The Illinois Zephyr and the Carl Sandburg trainsets continue to cross the Mississippi River to layover between runs.

The Illinois Zephyr is a descendant of the Kansas City Zephyr and American Royal Zephyr passenger train routes operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad from 1953 until 1968 and 1971, respectively. The state of Illinois intervened in 1971 at the request of Quincy College (now Quincy University), Western Illinois University, and residents of western Illinois. This became part of the "Illinois Service" initiative in 1971 and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.[1]:242 The Illinois Zephyr was never extended to either St. Louis or Kansas City from Quincy, Illinois. Amtrak's Southwest Chief already provided a Chicago-to-Kansas-City route, and the state of Missouri's "Missouri Service" only funded the extension of the Ann Rutledge to provide daily service between Kansas City and St. Louis with continuing services to Chicago via Springfield.

The name "Zephyr" is preserved in the current name of the line. Today the Illinois Zephyr enjoys strong support from the communities it passes through, and is one of the most successful Amtrak routes.[3] The communities promote the train line as the fastest means of getting to downtown Chicago, and train tickets are frequently sold-out. As such, the route is part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, which calls for an upgrade of service from the former 1 daily round trip to 4 or more daily round trips. The addition of the Carl Sandburg train on October 30, 2006, was the first step in this Midwest Regional Rail Initiative service upgrade. The scheduled travel time from Chicago to Quincy, via the Illinois Zephyr, has been 4 hours, 15 minutes.

During 2010, Amtrak contacted officials from communities in northeastern Missouri and western Illinois regarding the feasibility of extending the Illinois Zephyr, plus Carl Sandburg, southwards to Hannibal, Missouri and St. Louis. While a study for the expansion was not conducted, the project could be funded with a mix of federal and state money.[4]

Timetable updates[edit]

The Illinois Zephyr, formerly, ran as trains 347 (evening westbound) and 348 (morning eastbound) until October 30, 2006. On that date, the train numbers were changed, partially in anticipation of other expanded services: train 347 became train 383, and train 348 became train 380. Additionally, the Carl Sandburg service was added, running two new trains on the same route: train 381, a morning westbound, and train 382, an evening eastbound. This doubled the existing service.

Station stops[edit]

Amtrak's original Illinois Zephyr included a stop in Aurora, which would be discontinued on April 28, 1985, in favor of Naperville. Service to Plano began on April 30, 1972. Service to Quincy proper began on April 24, 1983.[1]:251–252

Amtrak Carl Sandburg / Illinois Zephyr route (interactive map)
State Town/City Station Connections
Illinois Chicago Chicago Union Station Amtrak: Blue Water, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, Cardinal, California Zephyr, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Hiawatha Service, Hoosier State, Illini, Lake Shore Limited, Lincoln Service, Pere Marquette, Saluki, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine, Thruway Motorcoach
CTA Buses: 1, 7, 14, 19, 20, X20, X28, 56, 60, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 151, 156, 157, 192
Megabus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M7
Metra: North Central Service, Milwaukee District/North Line, Milwaukee District/West Line, BNSF Railway Line, Heritage Corridor, SouthWest Service
La Grange La Grange Amtrak: Carl Sandburg
Metra: BNSF Railway Line
Pace: 302, 304, 330
Naperville Naperville Amtrak: California Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Southwest Chief
Metra: BNSF Railway Line
Pace: 530, 676, 677, 678, 680, 681, 682, 683, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 714, 781
Plano Plano Amtrak: Carl Sandburg
Mendota Mendota Amtrak: Carl Sandburg, Southwest Chief
Princeton Princeton Amtrak: California Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Southwest Chief
Kewanee Kewanee Amtrak: Carl Sandburg
Galesburg Galesburg Amtrak: California Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Southwest Chief
Burlington Trailways
Galesburg Bus Transit: Route 2.
Macomb Macomb Amtrak: Carl Sandburg
Go West Transit: Routes 5, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19
Quincy Quincy Amtrak: Carl Sandburg
Quincy Transit Lines: Route 4


Today, a normal Amtrak Illinois Zephyr consists of:[5]


Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ a b c Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34705-X. 
  2. ^ a b "Amtrak FY15 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF). Amtrak. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Gray, Jessica (2007-02-24). "More climb aboard". Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  4. ^ "Hannibal rails for Amtrak". 18 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "ILLINOIS ZEPHYR CARL SANDBURG". TrainWeb. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 

External links[edit]