Kankakee station

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Kankakee Illinois Central Railroad Depot.jpg
Location 199 South East Avenue
Kankakee, IL 60901
United States
Owned by City of Kankakee
Line(s) Illinois Central (CN)
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Connections River Valley Metro
Other information
Station code KKI
Opened 1898
Passengers (2014) 22,898[1]Increase 4.9%
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward New Orleans
City of New Orleans
toward Chicago
toward Carbondale
Illini and Saluki
  Former services  
Illinois Central
toward New Orleans
Main Line
toward St. Louis
St. Louis – Chicago
Illinois Central Railroad Depot
Kankakee station is located in Illinois
Kankakee station
Kankakee station is located in the US
Kankakee station
Location Kankakee, Illinois, USA
Coordinates 41°7′9.48″N 87°51′56.16″W / 41.1193000°N 87.8656000°W / 41.1193000; -87.8656000Coordinates: 41°7′9.48″N 87°51′56.16″W / 41.1193000°N 87.8656000°W / 41.1193000; -87.8656000
Built 1898
NRHP Reference # 00000409
Added to NRHP April 28, 2000

Kankakee is an Amtrak intercity train station in Kankakee, Illinois, United States. The station is a flag stop for the City of New Orleans, served only when passengers have tickets to and from the station.


The Illinois Central Railroad Company was founded in 1851. By 1853, newly founded Kankakee, Illinois was connected Chicago, 56 miles (90 km) away. The first train pulled into the station on July 11, 1853. The rail connection reduced the travel time between the two cities from six days by wagon to three hours by rail. It also provided Kankakee with access to industrial resources in the north-south direction; the city was no longer dependent on the east-west Kankakee River. Kankakee was incorporated two years later.[2]

The original station was a small, wood-framed station. However, by the 1890s, it had fallen into disrepair and no longer conformed to city ordinances. The Illinois Central agreed to commission a new train station in 1897, which was completed the next year. The first train arrived at the new station at 7:30 a.m. on January 10, 1898. Frank Lloyd Wright traveled through the station on several occasions while designing two houses in Kankakee, remarking of the new building, "not a style of my choosing but good enough for the community."[2]

Telephones were installed in 1902, replacing the original telegraph wires. These lines were moved underground in 1911. Rail use declined in the 1930s, coinciding with the Great Depression and the increased use of automobiles. Furthermore, the Kankakee Electric Railway Company, which provided interurban service to the station, went out of business in 1933. The station saw a resurgence in the 1940s during World War II, when personnel training at Chanute Field in Rantoul would come to Kankakee on leisure time. The station has remained in continuous use since 1898.[2]

The station has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the year 2000.[3] By the late 1980s, the depot had fallen into disrepair. The city purchased the building from the Illinois Central in 1990 and finished a full restoration eight years later. The $1 million project was funded with $750,000 in city funds and private donations.[4] Today, tche northern end of the station is home of the Kankakee Railroad Museum.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

In Steve Goodman's song (popularized by Arlo Guthrie), which shares its name with this line, the train departs the Kankakee Station.

Bus Connections[edit]

River Valley Metro: - Routes 1, 7, & 8


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2014, State of Illinois" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c http://gis.hpa.state.il.us/pdfs/205581.pdf
  3. ^ Kankakee County Listings at the National Register of Historic Places
  4. ^ Great American Stations. Accessed March 27, 2013.
  5. ^ "Welcome". Kankakee Railroad Museum. 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Kankakee (Amtrak station) at Wikimedia Commons