Renovated high speed rail train station opens in Lincoln

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LINCOLN, Ill (WAND)- Residents crowded the newly renovated train station in downtown Lincoln Tuesday. 

The new station will accommodate the high speed rail and features free wifi and climate controlled waiting room. 

"It's such a landmark, it's beautiful, it's brings a lot of people through our community. It's just a blessing to have for so many people to get to experience and see first impressions and so forth, it means a lot to all of us here." said Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman. 

The $4.4 million dollar renovation is part of a federal grant administrated by the Illinois Department of Transportation to introduce better performance and higher speeds on the Union Pacific Railroad between Chicago and Saint Louis. Several other stations have already received restorations including stations in Dwight, Pontiac, Alton, and Carlinville. 

"The stations are averaging $4-6 million. It's a little less in Carlinville and a little more in Joliet. We are investing a little upwards of $50 million in stations so far with a couple more to go." explained Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. 

The investments in the stations and the railway hope to see reduced delays and increased ridership. 

"What we did with this overall project is improve that reliability which is going to draw new passengers. Are we happy with the number of passengers? Absolutely not. We want to grow this and I think this is huge first step in really providing a new and better experience for our riders," said Blackenhorn. "Part of what this project is does is allows us to run trains and double tracks in several areas that allow freight trains to pass so you are not sitting and waiting. I agree whats frustrating is having to wait. The service is great the experience is wonderful if its on time people are going to use it"

For the town of Lincoln they are hopeful the newly renovated station will help to highlight all the great things the community has to offer. 

"The high speed rail is very important to the community because it brings so many people to our community and through our community that without we wouldn't have nearly the amount of tourism and traffic that we have." said Mayor Goodman. 

The newly renovated stations is a building from 1911. 

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