Lincoln Service

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Lincoln Service
A Lincoln Service train passing through 35th/Archer station in McKinley Park, Chicago, July 2023.
Service typeHigher-speed rail
LocaleMidwest United States
PredecessorState House, Loop
First serviceOctober 30, 2006
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Annual ridership523,304 (FY23) Increase 9.9%[a][1]
TerminiChicago, Illinois
St. Louis, Missouri
Distance travelled284 miles (457 km)
Average journey time4 hours, 59 minutes[2]
Service frequencyFour daily round trips
Train number(s)300–302, 305–307 (CHI–STL)
318–319 (CHI–KCY)[3]
On-board services
Class(es)Coach Class
Business Class
Catering facilitiesCafé
Baggage facilitiesOverhead racks
Rolling stockAmfleet
Siemens Venture
Siemens Charger
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speedUp to 110 miles per hour (180 km/h)[4]
Track owner(s)CN, UP, NS, CPKC, TRRA

The Lincoln Service is a 284-mile (457 km) higher-speed rail service operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. The train is a part of the Illinois Service and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The train uses the same route as the long-distance Texas Eagle, which continues to San Antonio and Los Angeles. A connection with the Kansas City-bound Missouri River Runner is available in St. Louis.

As of June 2023, the average trip time between Chicago and St. Louis was 4 hours 59 minutes.

During fiscal year 2023, the Lincoln Service trains carried 523,304 passengers, an increase of 9.9% from FY2022.[5] This is a 16.7% decrease from pre-COVID-19 pandemic ridership, with 627,599 passengers in FY2019.[6] In FY2015, the service had a total revenue of $14,266,964, a decrease of 1.3% from FY2015.[7]


Prior to the Lincoln Service, Amtrak had operated the daily State House train between Chicago and St. Louis since 1973. Originally intended to connect Chicago and Springfield, Amtrak extended the State House south to St. Louis at its own expense because Springfield station was not designed to turn equipment. The train used a route previously owned by the Alton Railroad, which had merged with the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad (GM&O) in 1947. The GM&O merged with the Illinois Central Railroad in 1972, a year after Amtrak took over passenger train service.

On October 30, 2006, Amtrak rebranded the State House as the Lincoln Service upon the addition of two new round trips, made possible by upgrades to the line. This resulted in a total of five daily round trips on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, including the Texas Eagle and Ann Rutledge, which terminated beyond St. Louis.[8] Beginning in April 2007, the Ann Rutledge operated only between Kansas City and St. Louis, where it connected once daily to the Lincoln Service.[citation needed] The Ann Rutledge was folded into the Missouri River Runner in 2009, though one Lincoln Service round trip continued to connect with the Missouri River Runner. On May 23, 2022, Amtrak began through-routing one round trip of the Missouri River Runner and Lincoln Service, creating a second one-seat service between Kansas City and Chicago (additional to the Southwest Chief, which takes a more direct route.)[3][9]

Track upgrades[edit]

In July 2010, the state of Illinois and the Union Pacific Railroad reached an agreement under which track speeds between Dwight and Alton, Illinois were to be raised to as high as 110 miles per hour (177 km/h).[10] This speed will cut the travel time between Chicago and St. Louis by 90 minutes, bringing the trip to under four hours.[11] The first track upgrade construction was planned to be between Alton and Lincoln, Illinois and was projected to cost $98 million. The construction on this stretch began on September 17, 2010, in Alton and was completed in 2011. Most of the funding came from $1.1 billion in stimulus money for Illinois high-speed rail from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The remainder of this grant, as well as $400 million in funding from the state of Illinois, was used to complete a high-speed rail corridor for the remaining portions of the St. Louis–Chicago track. Senator Dick Durbin suggested the Dwight–Alton upgrades would create some 900 jobs, while the overall project could generate 24,000.[citation needed]

On March 22, 2011, an announcement was made in Chicago that an additional $685 million would be used to upgrade trackage and grade crossings between Dwight and Lincoln. Construction on the improvement project began on April 5, 2011.[12]

Although much of track upgrade work was completed between 2010 and 2012, there are additional constructions including second trackage, bridge replacement and rehabilitation, drainage improvements, and grade crossings and signal improvements before the full 110-mile-per-hour (177 km/h) service can be fully operated on this route. After all required improvements on the first 15-mile (24 km) segment between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois were completed, Amtrak started the higher-speed rail service with top speeds of 110 miles per hour (177 km/h) on that segment in November 2012, with the entire section between Alton and Joliet expected to have 110-mile-per-hour (177 km/h) operation by 2017.[11][13]

Starting on July 7, 2021, Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains were allowed a top speed of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) after Federal Railroad Administration dual certification of the Incremental Train Control System and Interoperable Electronic Train Management System between south of Joliet Union Station and Alton, Illinois.[14] On December 13, 2021, scheduled travel times were reduced by approximately 15 minutes between St. Louis and Chicago as a result of the increased speeds.[15] Amtrak began testing the line for 110 mph (177 km/h) revenue service in 2022. Effective May 3, 2023, trains are authorized to travel up to 110 mph (177 km/h) on the line, while new schedules are written for the line.[16] The new schedules debuted on June 26, 2023.[17][18]

The slowest portion of the corridor is the segment between Chicago and Joliet, but improving this would require an additional $1.5 billion investment.[19] Two projects proposed from the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) would remove two diamond crossings and construct an overpass to increase train speed and eliminate delays. One project is in the preliminary design phase while the proposed flyover at Brighton Park crossing is unfunded.[20][21] As of 2022, an alternative solution rerouting trains via the Rock Island District, which bypasses these diamond crossings and has relatively few freight trains, is being considered. This option would reduce delays and allow higher speeds between Joliet and Chicago.[22]



Illinois Zephyr (left) and Lincoln Service trains at Chicago Union Station in 2018

A Lincoln Service train consists of the following:[23]


Geographic map of route

The Metra Heritage Corridor commuter line uses the same route from Joliet to Union Station.

One daily Lincoln Service round trip (train 318/319) is coupled with the Missouri River Runner at St. Louis, providing a one-seat ride between Chicago and Kansas City. Additionally, one southbound Lincoln Service (train 301) runs express to St. Louis with stops only at Joliet, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, and Alton.[3]

Station stops[edit]

State Town/City Station Connections
IL Chicago Chicago
Union Station
Amtrak Amtrak (long-distance): California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle
Amtrak Amtrak (intercity): Blue Water, Hiawatha, Illini and Saluki, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, Pere Marquette, Wolverine
Metra Metra:  BNSF,  Milwaukee District North,  Milwaukee District West,  North Central Service,  Heritage Corridor,  SouthWest Service
Chicago "L": Blue (at Clinton), Brown Orange Pink Purple (at Quincy)
Bus interchange CTA Bus: 1, 7, J14, 19, 28, 56, 60, 120, 121, 124, 125, 126, 128, 130, 151, 156, 157, 192
Bus interchange Pace Bus: 755 Plainfield–IMD–West Loop Express
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway, Megabus (North America) Megabus, Greyhound Lines Greyhound, Peoria Charter
Summit Summit Metra Metra:  Heritage Corridor
Bus interchange Pace Bus: 330
Joliet Joliet
Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Metra Metra:  Heritage Corridor,  Rock Island
Bus interchange Pace Bus: 501, 504, 505, 507, 508, 509, 511, 832, 834
Dwight Dwight
Pontiac Pontiac Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Normal Bloomington-Normal Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Bus interchange Connect Transit: Green, Red/Exp, Lime, Brown, Tan, Pink, Yellow, Redbird Express, Sapphire
Bus interchange Burlington Trailways, Greyhound Lines Greyhound, Peoria Charter
Lincoln Lincoln Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Springfield Springfield Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Bus interchange SMTD: 4, 7, 12, 903
Carlinville Carlinville Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Alton Alton Amtrak Amtrak: Texas Eagle
Bus interchange Madison County Transit: Route 11
MO St. Louis Gateway
Amtrak Amtrak: Missouri River Runner, Texas Eagle
MetroLink (St. Louis) MetroLink: Red Blue (at Civic Center)
Bus interchange MetroBus: 4, 8, 10, 11, 32, 74, 80, 94, 99, 36X, 40X, 58X, 410X, 174X
Bus interchange Madison County Transit: 1X, 3X, 12X, 14X, 16X, 18X
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines, Bus interchange Burlington Trailways, Megabus (North America) Megabus, Amtrak Amtrak Thruway


Traffic by Fiscal Year (Oct.–Sept.)
Passenger volume Change over previous year
2007[24] 408,807
2008[24] 476,427 Increase016.54%
2009[24] 506,235 Increase06.26%
2010[25] 572,424 Increase013.07%
2011[25] 549,465 Decrease04.01%
2012[26] 597,519 Increase08.75%
2013[26] 655,465 Increase09.70%
2014[27] 633,531 Decrease03.35%
2015[28] 576,705 Decrease09.00%
2016[29] 548,955 Decrease04.80%
2017[30] 590,497 Increase07.90%
2018[31] 586,166 Decrease00.73%
2019[32] 627,599 Increase 7.10%
2020[33] 334,540 Decrease044.9%
2021[34] 261,160 Decrease021.9%
2022[35] 476,180 Increase 82.3%
2023[5] 523,304 Increase 9.90%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2023 Ridership" (PDF). Amtrak. November 27, 2023. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  2. ^ "Amtrak Timetable Results". Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "AMTRAK'S LINCOLN SERVICE & MISSOURI RIVER RUNNER" (PDF). July 9, 2023. Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  4. ^ "110 mph Schedules Coming for Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis Corridor". Amtrak Media Center. May 3, 2023. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Amtrak FY23 Ridership" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Amtrak FY19 Ridership" (PDF). Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  7. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership and Revenue Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. April 7, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  8. ^ "Governor Blagojevich Announces Amtrak Lincoln Service to Start Running October 30th" (Press release). Amtrak. October 14, 2006. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  9. ^ Cella, Kim (May 23, 2022). "MO Legislature Moves Amtrak Service Back to Twice Daily". Citizens For Modern Transit. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  10. ^ "Union Pacific, Illinois strike agreement on fast trains". Trains Magazine. July 21, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2021.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ a b "110 mph train service starts on part of Chicago-St. Louis route". Crain's Chicago Business. Associated Press. November 23, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  12. ^ "Second phase of high-speed rail expected to begin April 5". Bloomington Pantagraph. March 22, 2011. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  13. ^ "Construction Location". Illinois High Speed Rail. Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  14. ^ "Maximum speeds increase to 90 mph on Amtrak's Chicago-St. Louis corridor". Trains. July 9, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  15. ^ "Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle Schedule Changes Due to Speed Increase". Amtrak. December 13, 2021.
  16. ^ Magliari, Marc (May 3, 2023). "110 mph Schedules Coming for Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis Corridor". Amtrak Media. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  17. ^ "Illinois Increased Speeds Shorten Schedules Chicago to St. Louis". Amtrak. June 26, 2023. Retrieved June 28, 2023.
  18. ^ Pyke, Marni (June 27, 2023) [Original date June 26, 2023]. "'A powerhouse route': Amtrak unleashes 110 mph trains on Chicago-to-St. Louis route". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, Ill. Retrieved June 28, 2023.
  19. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (February 24, 2014). "Improving portion of high-speed rail corridor could cost $1.5 billion". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  20. ^ "P5 Brighton Park Flyover" (PDF). CREATE. November 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 18, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  21. ^ "P6 CP Canal Flyover" (PDF). September 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 18, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  22. ^ "A New Approach to Chicago". High Speed Rail Alliance. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  23. ^ "LINCOLN SERVICE". TrainWeb. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  24. ^ a b c "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2009, Oct. 2008-Sept. 2009" (PDF). Trains Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 30, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 8, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Amtrak FY15 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF). Amtrak. November 15, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  29. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  30. ^ "Amtrak FY17 Ridership Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. November 16, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  31. ^ "Amtrak FY 2018 Ridership" (PDF). Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  32. ^ "Amtrak FY19 Ridership" (PDF). Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  33. ^ Luczak, Marybeth (November 23, 2020). "Amtrak Releases FY 2020 Data". Railway Age. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  34. ^ "FY21 Year-End Revenue and Ridership" (PDF).
  35. ^ "Amtrak FY22 Ridership" (PDF). Retrieved January 20, 2023.


  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1 of the prior year to September 30 of the named year.

External links[edit]