Joliet Union Station

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Joliet Union Station
Joliet Union Station.jpg
Location50 East Jefferson Street
Joliet, Illinois 60432
Owned byCity of Joliet (23) and Metra (13)
Platforms1 side platform (Rock Island District)
1 side, 1 island (Amtrak)
Tracks1 (Rock Island District)
4 (Amtrak)
ConnectionsLocal Transit Pace Buses
Bicycle facilitiesYes
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeJOL (Amtrak)
Fare zoneH (Metra)
201761,367[1]Increase 5.42% (Amtrak)
Former services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
toward Laredo or Houston
Inter-American Chicago
toward St. Louis
Lincoln Service Summit
toward Chicago
toward Dallas or Houston
Lone Star
Until 1979
Pontiac Texas Eagle
Streator Southwest Chief
Until 1996
Preceding station Metramlogo.svg Metra Following station
Terminus Heritage Corridor Lockport
Rock Island District New Lenox
Preceding station Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Following station
Millsdale Main Line Lockport
toward Chicago
Preceding station Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Following station
Bird's Bridge Main Line Blue Island
toward Chicago
Terminus Suburban Service New Lenox
toward Chicago
Preceding station Alton Railroad Following station
toward St. Louis
Main Line State Prison
toward Chicago
Joliet Union Station
Joliet Union Station is located in Illinois
Joliet Union Station
Joliet Union Station is located in the United States
Joliet Union Station
LocationJoliet, Illinois, USA
Coordinates41°31′28″N 88°4′46″W / 41.52444°N 88.07944°W / 41.52444; -88.07944Coordinates: 41°31′28″N 88°4′46″W / 41.52444°N 88.07944°W / 41.52444; -88.07944
ArchitectCook Engineering & Construction, Jarvis Hunt
Architectural styleBeaux Arts/Classical
NRHP reference No.78001200
Added to NRHPAugust 1, 1978

Joliet Union Station is a former train station in Joliet, Illinois that served Amtrak long-distance and Metra commuter trains. It was replaced by the new Joliet Transportation Center in 2018, a train station that was constructed adjacent to the Union Station's location.[2] Train service to Joliet Union Station permanently ceased in September 2014.[3] The station is 37.0 miles (59.5 km) from Chicago Union Station on the Heritage Corridor, and 40.1 miles (64.5 km) from Chicago LaSalle St. Station on the Rock Island District.


When it was in active service, Joliet Union Station was at the junction of the former Rock Island Line, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, and Alton Railroad main lines. Therefore, it has two different milepost numbers depending on how far each route is to Chicago. On The Metra Rock Island District Line, Joliet is 40.2 miles (64.7 km) away from LaSalle Street Station, the northern terminus of the line in Downtown Chicago.[4] On The Metra Heritage Corridor and Amtrak routes, 37.2 miles (59.9 km) away from Chicago Union Station, the northern terminus of the line.[5]

The Rock Island line runs via Blue Island, Illinois to LaSalle Street Station (track owned by Metra), while the Metra Heritage Corridor line runs via Summit, Illinois to Chicago's Union Station (track owned by Canadian National). The Blue Island trains leave from a single track on the south side of the station, while four tracks on the east side serve Amtrak, Metra Heritage, BNSF freight, and Union Pacific freight trains (BNSF owns the western two tracks, while UP owns the eastern two).[6][7] CSX takes over ownership of the Rock Island tracks just west of the station, with trackage rights from the Iowa Interstate Railroad.[7]

Five Amtrak trains on the Chicago – St. Louis corridor stop in Joliet daily each way: the Texas Eagle and the Lincoln Service. This was also a stop for the Ann Rutledge until April 2007.


Train service to Joliet was begun by the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad, a predecessor of the Rock Island Line, in 1852. Joliet Union Station was designed by architect Jarvis Hunt in the Beaux Arts Classical style, and was built in 1912.[8][9] The City of Joliet owns two thirds of the station and Metra owns the other third.[6] The former waiting room has been converted to a banquet hall that can hold 350 guests.[6]

Joliet Union Station

This station used to serve the Southwest Chief until the BNSF merger in 1996 when Amtrak rerouted the Southwest Chief over BNSF track to Galesburg. Joliet Union Station is the site of the old Rock Island Line diamond.

When originally built, there were pedestrian tunnels between the terminal and a platform between the first and second track on both the south and east sides of the building. Canopies also covered those platforms. However, the tunnels were later closed and the canopies removed. Finally passenger service on the east side of the building was moved to the third and fourth rails, requiring passengers to cross over the freight tracks to access the trains.[10] Later the number of Rock Island tracks on the south side of the building was reduced from four to one.

Joliet Union Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 1, 1978.[11] The station was extensively renovated and made ADA-accessible in 1989–1991. Eastbound U.S. Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway, passes by Joliet Union Station.


The state government of Illinois announced, on October 28, 2010, a $42 million long-term plan to replace Joliet Union Station and partly rebuild the tracks. Separate tracks, dedicated solely to freight traffic, will be laid for BNSF container stacktrains. Rail passengers will be rerouted into a new multimodal train and bus station.[12] $32 million came from "Illinois Jobs Now!", a six-year, $31 billion statewide capital program supported by 20 year state bonds and federal and local matching funds. The BNSF Railway also pledged $2.2 million and the city contributed $7.5 million.[13] The existing Union Station building will remain, but a new terminal was built beside it. New tunnels provide Metra access to the Heritage Corridor Line trains, eliminating the need to cross the BNSF freight tracks. The project includes a new 500-car parking garage.[12] The new transportation center opened on April 11, 2018.[2]

Currently Metra controls the interlocking tower at the junction of the Rock Island and BNSF tracks. As a result, Metra makes freight trains stop in order to give Metra passenger trains priority. Under the grant, control of the interlock would be shifted to the BNSF and Union Pacific and the tower building itself will be preserved. The Metra Rock Island passenger platform would be moved across the diamond to the east side of the BNSF tracks to avoid conflict with the flow of freight trains.[14]

Bus connections[edit]



  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, State of Illinois" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Fabbre, Alicia (April 11, 2018). "New train station opens for commuters in Joliet, ending a six-year wait". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Wimbiscus, Bill (September 27, 2014). "Final train departs Union Station". The Herald-News. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  4. ^ Metra Railfan Tips - Rock Island District
  5. ^ Metra Railfan Tips - Heritage Corridor
  6. ^ a b c "Joliet Today". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  7. ^ a b Joliet, Illinois junction
  8. ^ "Joliet Union Station". Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  9. ^ "Jarvis Hunt, architect". University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  10. ^ "Historic Joliet Union Station". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  11. ^ Will County Listings at the National Register of Historic Places
  12. ^ a b "State gives Joliet $32 million for massive new transportation center". Joliet Herald-News. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
  13. ^ Great American Stations. Accessed March 21, 2013.
  14. ^ "The Future of Joliet Union Station". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  15. ^ "Route 501 – West Jefferson". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  16. ^ "Route 504 – South Joliet". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  17. ^ "Route 505 – West Joliet Loop". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  18. ^ "Route 507 – Plainfield". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  19. ^ "Route 508 – East Joliet". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  20. ^ "Route 509 – Forest Park". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  21. ^ "Route 511 – Joliet–Elwood–Deer Run". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  22. ^ "Route 832 – Joliet – Orland Square". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.
  23. ^ "Route 834 – Joliet – Downers Grove". Chicago: Pace Suburban Bus Service.

External links[edit]

Media related to Joliet Union Station at Wikimedia Commons