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STURTEVANT — The Milwaukee to Chicago Amtrak Hiawatha trains, which stop in Sturtevant, served an all-time record of more than 858,000 passengers in 2018.

That’s a 3.6 percent increase over 2017, and ridership has more than doubled since 2003 when the service began providing seven daily round trips.

“More people are using the Amtrak Hiawatha every year to avoid traffic congestion, tolls, and parking, and have time to work or relax while traveling,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation secretary-designee Craig Thompson stated in a press release.

In his 2019-2021 budget proposal, Gov. Tony Evers included $45 million to expand the Hiawatha rail service.

The Hiawatha Service travels between Milwaukee and Chicago in less than 90 minutes, with stops at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, Glenview, Ill.; and Chicago’s Union Station; in addition to its stop in Sturtevant.

The Sturtevant train station is located at 9900 E. Exploration Court, just south of Washington Avenue and near The REAL School.

The Hiawatha has one of the nation’s best on-time records with more than 96 percent of trains arriving on time.

“Hiawatha Service is about moving people and connecting them to work, school and family. Amtrak is proud to be a partner with Wisconsin and Illinois to provide safe, reliable and quick rail service between Milwaukee and Chicago,” stated Joe McHugh, Amtrak vice president for state-supported services. “We look forward to inviting even more customers with an expansion of the service.”

Two-state support

The Hiawatha Service is supported by Wisconsin and Illinois departments of transportation and is part of Amtrak Midwest, a network of regional trains. Amtrak Midwest offers connections such as Milwaukee to St. Louis three times daily and Milwaukee to Dearborn/Detroit/Pontiac twice daily.

Wisconsin DOT recently was awarded a $5 million grant to improve reliability, safety and accessibility of the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station. The Federal Railroad Administration issued the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program grant to construct a second platform at the station, as well as elevator towers and an overhead pedestrian bridge to connect the new platform to the station.

The new platform will enable trains to operate on both existing tracks instead of just the eastern track, which is set to allow freight and passenger trains to operate more efficiently and reliably. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Improvements

Improvements to Amtrak service over the past few years have included: roll-on bike service; allowing small pets on board; complimentary WiFi; introduction of new locomotives; improved boarding; a new late-night Friday train; and a new train concourse at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.

Improvements planned for this year include additional refurbished coach cars and greater seating capacity to accommodate growing ridership.

The Wisconsin and Illinois departments of transportation, in partnership with Amtrak, and in coordination with the Federal Rail Administration also are completing a plan that would expand service from seven to 10 round trips daily.

“Hiawatha Service is about moving people and connecting them to work, school and family. Amtrak is proud to be a partner with Wisconsin and Illinois to provide safe, reliable and quick rail service between Milwaukee and Chicago. We look forward to inviting even more customers with an expansion of the service.” Joe McHugh, Amtrak vice president for state-supported services

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Reporter

Caitlin Sievers covers cops, crime and the west-end communities. She's a lover of cats, dance and Harry Potter. Before moving to the Racine area she worked at small papers in Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

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