MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — Changes to some Midwest Amtrak stops are right around the corner.
The City of Mattoon has been trying to make improvements to their train station for several years. They’re focusing on making the station more accessible.
City leaders say these improvements are badly needed.
“It’s taken a long time for Amtrak, Canadian National and the city to be able to get on the same page and improve it.”
Mattoon Mayor Tim Gover says the cities station platform is simply falling apart. Now, several years after the dream started, improvements are just around the corner.
“Amtrak is going to improve the Mattoon Railroad Depot and that’s been a long time coming. We’re very happy to see that’s going to be done.”
It’s part of Amtraks’ program to make their trains more accessible. Public Works Director Dean Barber says it’ll be most noticeable outside the stations’ doors.
“Basically they’re fixing up the platforms to where it’s easier to get on and off the trains.”
It should help people with disabilities, or any kind of physical issues that make it difficult to climb the stairs.
The city got a grant nearly 10 years ago to fix up the platform themselves, but Amtrak wasn’t quite ready yet.
“They were just starting to develop their program.”
Barber says they have a good working relationship with the train company, and the city will be handling some of the construction.
“We have a storm sewer that runs underneath the passenger platforms now that they’re going to be replacing that, and they’ll have the platforms torn out, and we’re paying for that portion of the work.”
They’re also working to make the station building easier to use, including new handicap push-buttons. These are all features Gover hopes will boost business.
“It’ll be very beneficial for the people using the trains coming through here.”
The construction work is planned for early next month, and is expected to be done the fall of next year.
It’ll come in phases, so there won’t be a disruption to the train schedules.