Terminals in the News

This is the spot for the latest news about Chicago’s magnificent system of air, bus and rail terminals. Visit this page regularly for breaking news. We think you’ll find it all interminably interesting!

 

July 5, 2017
Big Changes in Service to Indianapolis  

After a couple of less-than-sterling years, O'Hare is once again booming, in part due to new routes added by both American and United.  Rising leisure travel and the remarkable decline in fuel prices since late 2014 are a big part of the story.  Today, American announced a new route to Colorado Springs, CO.  Much of the growth is also being accommodated by larger jets, such as the new Boeing 737-900s, which United has configured for 179 seats, significantly more than older models.  Check out today's coverage here.

April 27, 2017
Big Changes in Service to Indianapolis

 

 

 

 

 


For more than a year, Amtrak's Hoosier State, the Chicago-Indianapolis train running four times per week, was operated under contract with the state of Indiana by Iowa Pacific Holdings, a private company. Iowa Pacific took the unusual step of using a "vista dome" car and other refurbished heritage equipment, hearkening back to the era of the streamliners entering service in the 1940's. Starting last month, however, this service is once again being operated by Amtrak. Ridership has been growing due to growing awareness of the convenience of rail travel. For the story, click here.


February 13, 2017
Historic Bus Station Treasure Trove!


Passenger transportation specialist Ross Capon shared with us these rare photos of U.S. intercity bus stations in the 1940s from the Daily Mail, which illustrate the dynamism of scheduled motor coach travel during World War II. Chicago is not featured in these photos, but several striking images from stations in the Windy City by the same photographer, Esther Bubley, are featured in the Terminal Town book!



January 25, 2017

Stars Aligning for Billion Dollar Union Station Upgrade!

640px-chicago_union_station_hall

 

 

 



After many years of incremental progress, a big leap forward at Union Station - complete with widened platforms, improved access, and an upgraded concourse - appears to be forthcoming. A surprising confluence of political and market forces are making these improvements possible. Read more here.


November 17, 2016
Amtrak "On Track" for Quad Cities Service

amtrak_heritage_portland

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago is already America's premier hub for Amtrak connections, and the system is poised to expand. A push is underway to secure funding in Springfield for an Amtrak route from Chicago Union Station to the "Quad Cities" of Moline and Rock Island, IL, and Bettendorf and Davenport, IA. As noted in the Terminal Town book, this was once a route of the Quad Cities Rocket streamliner. Click here for details.


October 1, 2016
Big Ideas for Terminal Redesign at O'Hare

ord-terminals-image









The city of Chicago, after years of focusing primarily on runway improvements at O'Hare, has made known that it is re-thinking terminal design at this global hub. Some of the artist renderings of the possibilities for new terminals suggest that city planners are "thinking big" about both airside facilities as well as enhanced rail service. Check out this Chicago Tribune article with extensive quotes from Terminal Town author Joe Schwieterman.


August 24, 2016

New "Windy City in Motion" Exhibit at Union Station! 

TThomepageImage2-01

 

 

 

 


We are excited to announce that our all-new exhibit, Windy City in Motion: Movies + Travel in Chicago, is now open at Chicago Union Station. The exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University and the Digital Chicago project at Lake Forest College. You'll find fascinating portrayals of our city's transportation system and neighborhoods in this multi-media exhibit. Join us for the exhibit's Opening Reception in Union Station's Great Hall on September 13 from 4:45 - 6 p.m! Email [email protected] to RSVP.



June 1, 2016
More Optimism at Gary-Chicago Airport

Gary Chicago

 

 

 

Gary-Chicago International has been without passenger service since 2013, but new reports suggest that optimism is running high due to the strengthening economy and runway improvements made last year. (See our Terminals in the News posting from May 2015 for details on the runway extension). Now, discussions are reportedly underway with at least one carrier for the resumption of scheduled passengers service. Efforts are also underway to install a Customs Facility to allow for international cargo and business flights. Could new service be in the offing? Check out this Chicago Tribune feature for details.

 

March 29, 2016
Redevelopment of Grand Central Site Finally to Begin?
780px-1963_Grand_Central_Station

Grand Central Station, Chicago, 1963 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, ILL-1016-1)

Concrete platforms at the site, 2009 (J. Schwieterman)

Former station platforms at the site, 2009 (J. Schwieterman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Chicago's "Big Six" passenger train terminals, Grand Central station was built in 1891 at the corner of Harrison and Wells, just south of the Loop.  Remembered for it's 16-story clock tower and 500-foot long train shed, the station served long-distance passengers on four carriers to destinations including Duluth, Pittsburgh, and most famously, Washington and Baltimore along the B&O's Capitol Limited service.  Already struggling with the lowest ridership and fewest departures of any of the city's six terminals, service at Grand Central ended for good in 1969.  The building stood vacant for several months before B&O had it demolished in 1971 in hopes of selling and redeveloping the site.  Although the River City apartment building was completed in 1986, more than 6 acres of land under the former station remain vacant to this day, serving only as a de facto dog park.  In November 2015, the city's planning commission approved a massive, 10-year plan to redevelop the area, which call for several highrise buildings, an interior park, shoreline restoration, and a publicly-accessible riverwalk.  According to the local development blog, Curbed Chicago, fencing and earth-moving equipment have moved in and construction of the first building, a 30-story residential tower, appears imminent.  Read more about the history of this lost architectural treasure in Terminal Town the book!

 
March 1, 2016
City Studying Options for Express Trains to O'Hare
CTA O'Hare Blue Line Station. Photo by bclinesmith / CC BY 2.0

CTA O'Hare Blue Line Station. Photo by bclinesmith / CC BY 2.0

The idea of express rail service linking the Loop to O'Hare International Airport has been a hot-and-cold topic for over a decade.  Many consider such high-quality rail links to be necessary for "global cities" to achieve their full potential.  Former Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed such service on a revamped CTA Blue Line corridor while preparations were being made for Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games.  The idea lost momentum following the failure of the Olympic bid in 2009 and the end of Daley's final term as mayor in 2011.  However, last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to formally study the possibilities of linking the city's two major economic engines with express transit service.  Click here for more coverage.

 
January 28, 2016
Chinatown Bus Service Grows
Little known to many Chinatown 1-minChicagoans is "Chinatown bus service" to New York City, departing each evening from a stop next to the neighborhood's Red Line station.  Service has recently expanded to two daily roundtrips on the busiest travel days, with tickets sold online at GoToBus.com.  This expansion is in line with national trends in intercity bus service uncovered by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute in our annual report of the industry.  Click here for coverage of our new study in CityLab, or read more about this growing, yet "under the radar" travel option in the Terminal Town book!
 
December 8, 2015
Now Arriving in Chicago!
now arriving coverFrom the old airstrip in Grant Park to Midway Airport and now O'Hare, Chicago's role as the nerve center of U.S. air travel has been at the heart of its emergence as a "global city."  A new book by Neal Samors and Christopher Lynch, Now Arriving: Traveling To and From Chicago by Air: 90 Years of Flight, is bringing a great deal of attention to our city's aviation scene.  We congratulate these noted authors for sharing with us rare photographs and unique insights, which makes this a truly spellbinding volume.  We also would like to thank Mr. Lynch for his assistance with the Terminal Town festival.
 
October 26, 2015
Helicopter Service Back in the News
IMG_7037-web1-300x120A new charter helicopter service began advertising sightseeing tours from a new heliport near the city's Bridgeport neighborhood this month.  The extensive promotion behind it suggests the demand for helicopter flights in Chicago is picking up.  Could scheduled helicopter services between downtown and the airports be not far behind?  As noted in "Terminal Town," the official book of the Terminal Town festival, such service was last offered in 1976, when Chicago Helicopter Airways ceased flying between Meigs Field, Midway Airport, and O'Hare.
 
October 5, 2015
Amtrak Looks to the Future!amtrak
Amtrak has released an ambitious plan to eliminate choke points that have long affected the movement of
trains from Chicago to the East and South!  Among the proposals is a new connection at aptly named Grand Crossing, where the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line passes above the historical Illinois Central - a busy place indeed!  We were pleased here at DePaul University to co-host the event with Northwestern University.  Click here for coverage in the Chicago Tribune.
 
August 27, 2015
Chicago: America's Railroad Capital
240x4009780760346037Chicago is noteworthy for its passenger terminals, which are featured extensively in the Terminal Town festival, but also for its enormous system of freight terminals and classification yards.  We are pleased to report that a new book, Chicago: America's Railroad Capital is now available and includes a detailed look at the complex structure of the region's railroads, including a fascinating account of the importance of the region's massive freight yards.  We congratulate authors Michael Blaszak, Brian Solomon, John Gruber, and Chris Guss on this fine publication.  The book is available for sale at Voyageur Press's online store.
 
Big Enhancements at Union Station
IMG_20150825_141704951To draw attention to the improvements Amtrak is making to the interior of Chicago Union Station - most notably the renovation of the Great Hall/main waiting room - the Terminal Town team unveiled a new display as part of our traveling exhibit entitled, "A Step Back In Time," on August 23, 2015.  The display showcases the magnificent features of Union Station's Great Hall and includes popular question-and-answer features to test the knowledge of visitors.  Please swing by the station to check out our exhibit's new features!
 
August 3, 2015
Chicago-Rockford Airport flies to New York for First Time in Decades
untitledFor more than a decade, Chicago-Rockford International Airport has enjoyed success serving passengers on small airlines flying to and from distant, leisure destinations, but it has lacked nonstop flights to major business centers in the Northeastern United States since the 1970's.  The airport's close proximity to O'Hare, about 60 miles away, makes such business-oriented flights an economically difficult proposition.  However, a new airline, Elite Airlines, is now selling tickets at discount prices to Newark Liberty International Airport, for service starting later this month, albeit, with three flights per week.  Nearly $50 million investments in aircraft service facilities are also underway.  As exemplified by its name, Chicago-Rockford puts considerable emphasis on serving residents and businesses in the Windy City area.
 
July 27, 2015
New Express Trains from LaSalle Street Station!
la salleTravelers at LaSalle Street Station, the busy Metra facility on the site of the historic depot shared by the New York Central System, Nickel Plate Road, and Rock Island Lines, are beneficiaries of the most significant service improvement in years.  Metra has launched weekend express trains that cut about 20 minutes from the schedule for those to Blue Island and beyond!  Click here for local news coverage.  A film clip, showing the 20th Century Limited at LaSalle Street from Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, can be enjoyed in the Exhibits tab or by clicking here.
 
July 7, 2015
Joliet Union Station redevelopment stalls
Joliet union stationThe redevelopment of Joliet's historic Beaux-Arts landmark Union Station into a commercial center is currently stalled.  The project, part of the city's Gateway Transportation Center project, that will unify passenger rail service in downtown Joliet, which sits about 40 miles southwest of Chicago, remains a priority for the city, but high bid costs from private construction companies and the uncertain status of state funding for the project are current hurdles.  Click here for more coverage of this exciting project, which aims to simultaneously improve commuter and passenger rail in the southwest suburbs as well as breath new life into one of the area's most historic transportation terminals.
 
 
May 29, 2015
Gary-Chicago Airport on the Move
Gary AirportAn important chapter in the Chicago region's struggle for additional airport capacity is the on-and-off cycle of scheduled service from Gary-Chicago Airport, which has now lacked scheduled passenger service since August, 2013.  An effort to extend the main runway, which required relocating two major railroad lines, however, promises to make Gary much more attractive for passenger service, allowing for improved all-weather flight operations.  Check out this breaking news.
 
May 6, 2015
"Veriport" Opens in the Illinois Medical District!
300px-BA609_02 An entirely new terminal facility near downtown catering heavily to passengers from outside Chicagoland has opened.  The Illinois Medical District Vertiport (advanced heliport) fills a gap in the downtown helicopter business since the closure of Meigs Field.  The Vertiport will allow executives to save more than an hour instead of taking cabs or limos during peak periods.  Check out this Chicago Business Journal article.
 
February 1, 2015
o'hareChicago is the "Second City" with respects to airports no more!  O'Hare International Airport overtakes Atlanta Hartsfield as the world's busiest airport in terms of annual flight operations.  O'Hare had lost the distinction in 2005.  Click here for the story.
 
 
 
 
January 20, 2015
 Megabus 2
More growth on Chicago's intercity bus system! Check out our new study, Adding on Amenities, Broadening the Base: 2014 Year-in-Review of Intercity Bus Service in the United States, released on January 13, 2015, summarizing some of the exciting changes to the intercity bus system last year, including new Chicago service and reserved seating on several carriers.
 

December 10, 2014

Englewood Flyover opens

More than 30 years after the last passenger boarded a train at Englewood Union Station, dozens of officials gathered at the bygone's station's site for an important ceremony: the opening of the much anticipated "Englewood Flyer." This improvement allows Metra's Rock Island District trains to cross those on the former Pennsylvania Lines (now Norfork Southern) on a bridge, eliminating a notorious bottleneck.  Englewood Union Station was once a busy junction serving the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Rock Island Lines and the Nickle Plate Road.  Virtually nothing of the station remains today, but it remains a busy railroad junction. Click here for a Southtown Star article by Mike Nolan from October 23, 2014.

October 20, 2014

Does O'Hare need new terminal space? With new runways now in place at ORD, attention is again turning to the airport's passenger facilities. This Chicago Tribune editorial draws attention to the proposed "Western Terminal."

September 22, 2014

 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMomentum builds for improvements to Chicago Union Station, including efforts to enhance the character of the historic “headhouse building,” which is the home of the iconic Great Hall. Click here for a Chicago Tribune story by Richard Wronski.

 

 
September 15, 2014

DSCN4222 adjusted

The State of Illinois remains persistent in acquiring land for the South Suburban Airport near Peotone, Illinois, even if this means using its power to condemn land. Click here for Crain’s Chicago Business coverage by Paul Merrion.

Midway Airport, despite having such confined spaces, announces the opening of a new “yoga room” for travelers. The addition of this amenity shows how the city’s airports are evolving from mere transportation facilities to diversified commercial centers offering a vast array of services. O’Hare Airport has been aptly described as an “aerotropolis” by writers John Kasarda and Grey Lindsay. Click here for a Chicago Tribune story by Richard Webner.

Check back next month for more news about Chicago’s terminals!

This is the spot for the latest news about Chicago’s magnificent system of air, bus and rail terminals. Visit this page regularly for breaking news. We think you’ll find it all interminably interesting!

 

July 5, 2016

Good Times are Back at O'Hare  

After a couple of less-than-sterling years, O'Hare is once again booming, in part due to new routes added by both American and United.  Rising leisure travel and the remarkable decline in fuel prices since late 2014 are a big part of the story.  Today, American announced a new route to Colorado Springs, CO.  Much of the growth is also being accommodated by larger jets, such as the new Boeing 737-900s, which United has configured for 179 seats, significantly more than older models.  Check out today's coverage here.

April 27, 2017
Big Changes in Service to Indianapolis

 

 

 

 

 


For more than a year, Amtrak's Hoosier State, the Chicago-Indianapolis train running four times per week, was operated under contract with the state of Indiana by Iowa Pacific Holdings, a private company. Iowa Pacific took the unusual step of using a "vista dome" car and other refurbished heritage equipment, hearkening back to the era of the streamliners entering service in the 1940's. Starting last month, however, this service is once again being operated by Amtrak. Ridership has been growing due to growing awareness of the convenience of rail travel. For the story, click here.


February 13, 2017
Historic Bus Station Treasure Trove!


Passenger transportation specialist Ross Capon shared with us these rare photos of U.S. intercity bus stations in the 1940s from the Daily Mail, which illustrate the dynamism of scheduled motor coach travel during World War II. Chicago is not featured in these photos, but several striking images from stations in the Windy City by the same photographer, Esther Bubley, are featured in the Terminal Town book!



January 25, 2017

Stars Aligning for Billion Dollar Union Station Upgrade!

640px-chicago_union_station_hall

 

 

 



After many years of incremental progress, a big leap forward at Union Station - complete with widened platforms, improved access, and an upgraded concourse - appears to be forthcoming. A surprising confluence of political and market forces are making these improvements possible. Read more here.


November 17, 2016
Amtrak "On Track" for Quad Cities Service

amtrak_heritage_portland

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago is already America's premier hub for Amtrak connections, and the system is poised to expand. A push is underway to secure funding in Springfield for an Amtrak route from Chicago Union Station to the "Quad Cities" of Moline and Rock Island, IL, and Bettendorf and Davenport, IA. As noted in the Terminal Town book, this was once a route of the Quad Cities Rocket streamliner. Click here for details.


October 1, 2016
Big Ideas for Terminal Redesign at O'Hare

ord-terminals-image









The city of Chicago, after years of focusing primarily on runway improvements at O'Hare, has made known that it is re-thinking terminal design at this global hub. Some of the artist renderings of the possibilities for new terminals suggest that city planners are "thinking big" about both airside facilities as well as enhanced rail service. Check out this Chicago Tribune article with extensive quotes from Terminal Town author Joe Schwieterman.


August 24, 2016

New "Windy City in Motion" Exhibit at Union Station! 

TThomepageImage2-01

 

 

 

 


We are excited to announce that our all-new exhibit, Windy City in Motion: Movies + Travel in Chicago, is now open at Chicago Union Station. The exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University and the Digital Chicago project at Lake Forest College. You'll find fascinating portrayals of our city's transportation system and neighborhoods in this multi-media exhibit. Join us for the exhibit's Opening Reception in Union Station's Great Hall on September 13 from 4:45 - 6 p.m! Email [email protected] to RSVP.



June 1, 2016
More Optimism at Gary-Chicago Airport

Gary Chicago

 

 

 

Gary-Chicago International has been without passenger service since 2013, but new reports suggest that optimism is running high due to the strengthening economy and runway improvements made last year. (See our Terminals in the News posting from May 2015 for details on the runway extension). Now, discussions are reportedly underway with at least one carrier for the resumption of scheduled passengers service. Efforts are also underway to install a Customs Facility to allow for international cargo and business flights. Could new service be in the offing? Check out this Chicago Tribune feature for details.

 

March 29, 2016
Redevelopment of Grand Central Site Finally to Begin?
780px-1963_Grand_Central_Station

Grand Central Station, Chicago, 1963 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, ILL-1016-1)

Concrete platforms at the site, 2009 (J. Schwieterman)

Former station platforms at the site, 2009 (J. Schwieterman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Chicago's "Big Six" passenger train terminals, Grand Central station was built in 1891 at the corner of Harrison and Wells, just south of the Loop.  Remembered for it's 16-story clock tower and 500-foot long train shed, the station served long-distance passengers on four carriers to destinations including Duluth, Pittsburgh, and most famously, Washington and Baltimore along the B&O's Capitol Limited service.  Already struggling with the lowest ridership and fewest departures of any of the city's six terminals, service at Grand Central ended for good in 1969.  The building stood vacant for several months before B&O had it demolished in 1971 in hopes of selling and redeveloping the site.  Although the River City apartment building was completed in 1986, more than 6 acres of land under the former station remain vacant to this day, serving only as a de facto dog park.  In November 2015, the city's planning commission approved a massive, 10-year plan to redevelop the area, which call for several highrise buildings, an interior park, shoreline restoration, and a publicly-accessible riverwalk.  According to the local development blog, Curbed Chicago, fencing and earth-moving equipment have moved in and construction of the first building, a 30-story residential tower, appears imminent.  Read more about the history of this lost architectural treasure in Terminal Town the book!

 
March 1, 2016
City Studying Options for Express Trains to O'Hare
CTA O'Hare Blue Line Station. Photo by bclinesmith / CC BY 2.0

CTA O'Hare Blue Line Station. Photo by bclinesmith / CC BY 2.0

The idea of express rail service linking the Loop to O'Hare International Airport has been a hot-and-cold topic for over a decade.  Many consider such high-quality rail links to be necessary for "global cities" to achieve their full potential.  Former Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed such service on a revamped CTA Blue Line corridor while preparations were being made for Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games.  The idea lost momentum following the failure of the Olympic bid in 2009 and the end of Daley's final term as mayor in 2011.  However, last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to formally study the possibilities of linking the city's two major economic engines with express transit service.  Click here for more coverage.

 
January 28, 2016
Chinatown Bus Service Grows
Little known to many Chinatown 1-minChicagoans is "Chinatown bus service" to New York City, departing each evening from a stop next to the neighborhood's Red Line station.  Service has recently expanded to two daily roundtrips on the busiest travel days, with tickets sold online at GoToBus.com.  This expansion is in line with national trends in intercity bus service uncovered by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute in our annual report of the industry.  Click here for coverage of our new study in CityLab, or read more about this growing, yet "under the radar" travel option in the Terminal Town book!
 
December 8, 2015
Now Arriving in Chicago!
now arriving coverFrom the old airstrip in Grant Park to Midway Airport and now O'Hare, Chicago's role as the nerve center of U.S. air travel has been at the heart of its emergence as a "global city."  A new book by Neal Samors and Christopher Lynch, Now Arriving: Traveling To and From Chicago by Air: 90 Years of Flight, is bringing a great deal of attention to our city's aviation scene.  We congratulate these noted authors for sharing with us rare photographs and unique insights, which makes this a truly spellbinding volume.  We also would like to thank Mr. Lynch for his assistance with the Terminal Town festival.
 
October 26, 2015
Helicopter Service Back in the News
IMG_7037-web1-300x120A new charter helicopter service began advertising sightseeing tours from a new heliport near the city's Bridgeport neighborhood this month.  The extensive promotion behind it suggests the demand for helicopter flights in Chicago is picking up.  Could scheduled helicopter services between downtown and the airports be not far behind?  As noted in "Terminal Town," the official book of the Terminal Town festival, such service was last offered in 1976, when Chicago Helicopter Airways ceased flying between Meigs Field, Midway Airport, and O'Hare.
 
October 5, 2015
Amtrak Looks to the Future!amtrak
Amtrak has released an ambitious plan to eliminate choke points that have long affected the movement of
trains from Chicago to the East and South!  Among the proposals is a new connection at aptly named Grand Crossing, where the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line passes above the historical Illinois Central - a busy place indeed!  We were pleased here at DePaul University to co-host the event with Northwestern University.  Click here for coverage in the Chicago Tribune.
 
August 27, 2015
Chicago: America's Railroad Capital
240x4009780760346037Chicago is noteworthy for its passenger terminals, which are featured extensively in the Terminal Town festival, but also for its enormous system of freight terminals and classification yards.  We are pleased to report that a new book, Chicago: America's Railroad Capital is now available and includes a detailed look at the complex structure of the region's railroads, including a fascinating account of the importance of the region's massive freight yards.  We congratulate authors Michael Blaszak, Brian Solomon, John Gruber, and Chris Guss on this fine publication.  The book is available for sale at Voyageur Press's online store.
 
Big Enhancements at Union Station
IMG_20150825_141704951To draw attention to the improvements Amtrak is making to the interior of Chicago Union Station - most notably the renovation of the Great Hall/main waiting room - the Terminal Town team unveiled a new display as part of our traveling exhibit entitled, "A Step Back In Time," on August 23, 2015.  The display showcases the magnificent features of Union Station's Great Hall and includes popular question-and-answer features to test the knowledge of visitors.  Please swing by the station to check out our exhibit's new features!
 
August 3, 2015
Chicago-Rockford Airport flies to New York for First Time in Decades
untitledFor more than a decade, Chicago-Rockford International Airport has enjoyed success serving passengers on small airlines flying to and from distant, leisure destinations, but it has lacked nonstop flights to major business centers in the Northeastern United States since the 1970's.  The airport's close proximity to O'Hare, about 60 miles away, makes such business-oriented flights an economically difficult proposition.  However, a new airline, Elite Airlines, is now selling tickets at discount prices to Newark Liberty International Airport, for service starting later this month, albeit, with three flights per week.  Nearly $50 million investments in aircraft service facilities are also underway.  As exemplified by its name, Chicago-Rockford puts considerable emphasis on serving residents and businesses in the Windy City area.
 
July 27, 2015
New Express Trains from LaSalle Street Station!
la salleTravelers at LaSalle Street Station, the busy Metra facility on the site of the historic depot shared by the New York Central System, Nickel Plate Road, and Rock Island Lines, are beneficiaries of the most significant service improvement in years.  Metra has launched weekend express trains that cut about 20 minutes from the schedule for those to Blue Island and beyond!  Click here for local news coverage.  A film clip, showing the 20th Century Limited at LaSalle Street from Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, can be enjoyed in the Exhibits tab or by clicking here.
 
July 7, 2015
Joliet Union Station redevelopment stalls
Joliet union stationThe redevelopment of Joliet's historic Beaux-Arts landmark Union Station into a commercial center is currently stalled.  The project, part of the city's Gateway Transportation Center project, that will unify passenger rail service in downtown Joliet, which sits about 40 miles southwest of Chicago, remains a priority for the city, but high bid costs from private construction companies and the uncertain status of state funding for the project are current hurdles.  Click here for more coverage of this exciting project, which aims to simultaneously improve commuter and passenger rail in the southwest suburbs as well as breath new life into one of the area's most historic transportation terminals.
 
 
May 29, 2015
Gary-Chicago Airport on the Move
Gary AirportAn important chapter in the Chicago region's struggle for additional airport capacity is the on-and-off cycle of scheduled service from Gary-Chicago Airport, which has now lacked scheduled passenger service since August, 2013.  An effort to extend the main runway, which required relocating two major railroad lines, however, promises to make Gary much more attractive for passenger service, allowing for improved all-weather flight operations.  Check out this breaking news.
 
May 6, 2015
"Veriport" Opens in the Illinois Medical District!
300px-BA609_02 An entirely new terminal facility near downtown catering heavily to passengers from outside Chicagoland has opened.  The Illinois Medical District Vertiport (advanced heliport) fills a gap in the downtown helicopter business since the closure of Meigs Field.  The Vertiport will allow executives to save more than an hour instead of taking cabs or limos during peak periods.  Check out this Chicago Business Journal article.
 
February 1, 2015
o'hareChicago is the "Second City" with respects to airports no more!  O'Hare International Airport overtakes Atlanta Hartsfield as the world's busiest airport in terms of annual flight operations.  O'Hare had lost the distinction in 2005.  Click here for the story.
 
 
 
 
January 20, 2015
 Megabus 2
More growth on Chicago's intercity bus system! Check out our new study, Adding on Amenities, Broadening the Base: 2014 Year-in-Review of Intercity Bus Service in the United States, released on January 13, 2015, summarizing some of the exciting changes to the intercity bus system last year, including new Chicago service and reserved seating on several carriers.
 

December 10, 2014

Englewood Flyover opens

More than 30 years after the last passenger boarded a train at Englewood Union Station, dozens of officials gathered at the bygone's station's site for an important ceremony: the opening of the much anticipated "Englewood Flyer." This improvement allows Metra's Rock Island District trains to cross those on the former Pennsylvania Lines (now Norfork Southern) on a bridge, eliminating a notorious bottleneck.  Englewood Union Station was once a busy junction serving the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Rock Island Lines and the Nickle Plate Road.  Virtually nothing of the station remains today, but it remains a busy railroad junction. Click here for a Southtown Star article by Mike Nolan from October 23, 2014.

October 20, 2014

Does O'Hare need new terminal space? With new runways now in place at ORD, attention is again turning to the airport's passenger facilities. This Chicago Tribune editorial draws attention to the proposed "Western Terminal."

September 22, 2014

 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMomentum builds for improvements to Chicago Union Station, including efforts to enhance the character of the historic “headhouse building,” which is the home of the iconic Great Hall. Click here for a Chicago Tribune story by Richard Wronski.

 

 
September 15, 2014

DSCN4222 adjusted

The State of Illinois remains persistent in acquiring land for the South Suburban Airport near Peotone, Illinois, even if this means using its power to condemn land. Click here for Crain’s Chicago Business coverage by Paul Merrion.

Midway Airport, despite having such confined spaces, announces the opening of a new “yoga room” for travelers. The addition of this amenity shows how the city’s airports are evolving from mere transportation facilities to diversified commercial centers offering a vast array of services. O’Hare Airport has been aptly described as an “aerotropolis” by writers John Kasarda and Grey Lindsay. Click here for a Chicago Tribune story by Richard Webner.

Check back next month for more news about Chicago’s terminals!

This is the spot for the latest news about Chicago’s magnificent system of air, bus and rail terminals. Visit this page regularly for breaking news. We think you’ll find it all interminably interesting!

August 24, 2016
New "Windy City in Motion" Exhibit at Union Station! 

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We are excited to announce that our all-new exhibit, Windy City in Motion: Movies + Travel in Chicago, is now open at Chicago Union Station. The exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University and the Digital Chicago project at Lake Forest College. You'll find fascinating portrayals of our city's transportation system and neighborhoods in this multi-media exhibit. Join us for the exhibit's Opening Reception in Union Station's Great Hall on September 13 from 4:45 - 6 p.m! Email [email protected] to RSVP.



June 1, 2016
More Optimism at Gary-Chicago Airport

Gary Chicago

 

 

 

Gary-Chicago International has been without passenger service since 2013, but new reports suggest that optimism is running high due to the strengthening economy and runway improvements made last year. (See our Terminals in the News posting from May 2015 for details on the runway extension). Now, discussions are reportedly underway with at least one carrier for the resumption of scheduled passengers service. Efforts are also underway to install a Customs Facility to allow for international cargo and business flights. Could new service be in the offing? Check out this Chicago Tribune feature for details.

 

March 29, 2016
Redevelopment of Grand Central Site Finally to Begin?
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Grand Central Station, Chicago, 1963 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, ILL-1016-1)

Concrete platforms at the site, 2009 (J. Schwieterman)

Former station platforms at the site, 2009 (J. Schwieterman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Chicago's "Big Six" passenger train terminals, Grand Central station was built in 1891 at the corner of Harrison and Wells, just south of the Loop.  Remembered for it's 16-story clock tower and 500-foot long train shed, the station served long-distance passengers on four carriers to destinations including Duluth, Pittsburgh, and most famously, Washington and Baltimore along the B&O's Capitol Limited service.  Already struggling with the lowest ridership and fewest departures of any of the city's six terminals, service at Grand Central ended for good in 1969.  The building stood vacant for several months before B&O had it demolished in 1971 in hopes of selling and redeveloping the site.  Although the River City apartment building was completed in 1986, more than 6 acres of land under the former station remain vacant to this day, serving only as a de facto dog park.  In November 2015, the city's planning commission approved a massive, 10-year plan to redevelop the area, which call for several highrise buildings, an interior park, shoreline restoration, and a publicly-accessible riverwalk.  According to the local development blog, Curbed Chicago, fencing and earth-moving equipment have moved in and construction of the first building, a 30-story residential tower, appears imminent.  Read more about the history of this lost architectural treasure in Terminal Town the book!

 
March 1, 2016
City Studying Options for Express Trains to O'Hare
CTA O'Hare Blue Line Station. Photo by bclinesmith / CC BY 2.0

CTA O'Hare Blue Line Station. Photo by bclinesmith / CC BY 2.0

The idea of express rail service linking the Loop to O'Hare International Airport has been a hot-and-cold topic for over a decade.  Many consider such high-quality rail links to be necessary for "global cities" to achieve their full potential.  Former Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed such service on a revamped CTA Blue Line corridor while preparations were being made for Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games.  The idea lost momentum following the failure of the Olympic bid in 2009 and the end of Daley's final term as mayor in 2011.  However, last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to formally study the possibilities of linking the city's two major economic engines with express transit service.  Click here for more coverage.

 
January 28, 2016
Chinatown Bus Service Grows
Little known to many Chinatown 1-minChicagoans is "Chinatown bus service" to New York City, departing each evening from a stop next to the neighborhood's Red Line station.  Service has recently expanded to two daily roundtrips on the busiest travel days, with tickets sold online at GoToBus.com.  This expansion is in line with national trends in intercity bus service uncovered by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute in our annual report of the industry.  Click here for coverage of our new study in CityLab, or read more about this growing, yet "under the radar" travel option in the Terminal Town book!
 
December 8, 2015
Now Arriving in Chicago!
now arriving coverFrom the old airstrip in Grant Park to Midway Airport and now O'Hare, Chicago's role as the nerve center of U.S. air travel has been at the heart of its emergence as a "global city."  A new book by Neal Samors and Christopher Lynch, Now Arriving: Traveling To and From Chicago by Air: 90 Years of Flight, is bringing a great deal of attention to our city's aviation scene.  We congratulate these noted authors for sharing with us rare photographs and unique insights, which makes this a truly spellbinding volume.  We also would like to thank Mr. Lynch for his assistance with the Terminal Town festival.
 
October 26, 2015
Helicopter Service Back in the News
IMG_7037-web1-300x120A new charter helicopter service began advertising sightseeing tours from a new heliport near the city's Bridgeport neighborhood this month.  The extensive promotion behind it suggests the demand for helicopter flights in Chicago is picking up.  Could scheduled helicopter services between downtown and the airports be not far behind?  As noted in "Terminal Town," the official book of the Terminal Town festival, such service was last offered in 1976, when Chicago Helicopter Airways ceased flying between Meigs Field, Midway Airport, and O'Hare.
 
October 5, 2015
Amtrak Looks to the Future!amtrak
Amtrak has released an ambitious plan to eliminate choke points that have long affected the movement of
trains from Chicago to the East and South!  Among the proposals is a new connection at aptly named Grand Crossing, where the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line passes above the historical Illinois Central - a busy place indeed!  We were pleased here at DePaul University to co-host the event with Northwestern University.  Click here for coverage in the Chicago Tribune.
 
August 27, 2015
Chicago: America's Railroad Capital
240x4009780760346037Chicago is noteworthy for its passenger terminals, which are featured extensively in the Terminal Town festival, but also for its enormous system of freight terminals and classification yards.  We are pleased to report that a new book, Chicago: America's Railroad Capital is now available and includes a detailed look at the complex structure of the region's railroads, including a fascinating account of the importance of the region's massive freight yards.  We congratulate authors Michael Blaszak, Brian Solomon, John Gruber, and Chris Guss on this fine publication.  The book is available for sale at Voyageur Press's online store.
 
Big Enhancements at Union Station
IMG_20150825_141704951To draw attention to the improvements Amtrak is making to the interior of Chicago Union Station - most notably the renovation of the Great Hall/main waiting room - the Terminal Town team unveiled a new display as part of our traveling exhibit entitled, "A Step Back In Time," on August 23, 2015.  The display showcases the magnificent features of Union Station's Great Hall and includes popular question-and-answer features to test the knowledge of visitors.  Please swing by the station to check out our exhibit's new features!
 
August 3, 2015
Chicago-Rockford Airport flies to New York for First Time in Decades
untitledFor more than a decade, Chicago-Rockford International Airport has enjoyed success serving passengers on small airlines flying to and from distant, leisure destinations, but it has lacked nonstop flights to major business centers in the Northeastern United States since the 1970's.  The airport's close proximity to O'Hare, about 60 miles away, makes such business-oriented flights an economically difficult proposition.  However, a new airline, Elite Airlines, is now selling tickets at discount prices to Newark Liberty International Airport, for service starting later this month, albeit, with three flights per week.  Nearly $50 million investments in aircraft service facilities are also underway.  As exemplified by its name, Chicago-Rockford puts considerable emphasis on serving residents and businesses in the Windy City area.
 
July 27, 2015
New Express Trains from LaSalle Street Station!
la salleTravelers at LaSalle Street Station, the busy Metra facility on the site of the historic depot shared by the New York Central System, Nickel Plate Road, and Rock Island Lines, are beneficiaries of the most significant service improvement in years.  Metra has launched weekend express trains that cut about 20 minutes from the schedule for those to Blue Island and beyond!  Click here for local news coverage.  A film clip, showing the 20th Century Limited at LaSalle Street from Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, can be enjoyed in the Exhibits tab or by clicking here.
 
July 7, 2015
Joliet Union Station redevelopment stalls
Joliet union stationThe redevelopment of Joliet's historic Beaux-Arts landmark Union Station into a commercial center is currently stalled.  The project, part of the city's Gateway Transportation Center project, that will unify passenger rail service in downtown Joliet, which sits about 40 miles southwest of Chicago, remains a priority for the city, but high bid costs from private construction companies and the uncertain status of state funding for the project are current hurdles.  Click here for more coverage of this exciting project, which aims to simultaneously improve commuter and passenger rail in the southwest suburbs as well as breath new life into one of the area's most historic transportation terminals.
 
 
May 29, 2015
Gary-Chicago Airport on the Move
Gary AirportAn important chapter in the Chicago region's struggle for additional airport capacity is the on-and-off cycle of scheduled service from Gary-Chicago Airport, which has now lacked scheduled passenger service since August, 2013.  An effort to extend the main runway, which required relocating two major railroad lines, however, promises to make Gary much more attractive for passenger service, allowing for improved all-weather flight operations.  Check out this breaking news.
 
May 6, 2015
"Veriport" Opens in the Illinois Medical District!
300px-BA609_02 An entirely new terminal facility near downtown catering heavily to passengers from outside Chicagoland has opened.  The Illinois Medical District Vertiport (advanced heliport) fills a gap in the downtown helicopter business since the closure of Meigs Field.  The Vertiport will allow executives to save more than an hour instead of taking cabs or limos during peak periods.  Check out this Chicago Business Journal article.
 
February 1, 2015
o'hareChicago is the "Second City" with respects to airports no more!  O'Hare International Airport overtakes Atlanta Hartsfield as the world's busiest airport in terms of annual flight operations.  O'Hare had lost the distinction in 2005.  Click here for the story.
 
 
 
 
January 20, 2015
 Megabus 2
More growth on Chicago's intercity bus system! Check out our new study, Adding on Amenities, Broadening the Base: 2014 Year-in-Review of Intercity Bus Service in the United States, released on January 13, 2015, summarizing some of the exciting changes to the intercity bus system last year, including new Chicago service and reserved seating on several carriers.
 

December 10, 2014

Englewood Flyover opens

More than 30 years after the last passenger boarded a train at Englewood Union Station, dozens of officials gathered at the bygone's station's site for an important ceremony: the opening of the much anticipated "Englewood Flyer." This improvement allows Metra's Rock Island District trains to cross those on the former Pennsylvania Lines (now Norfork Southern) on a bridge, eliminating a notorious bottleneck.  Englewood Union Station was once a busy junction serving the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Rock Island Lines and the Nickle Plate Road.  Virtually nothing of the station remains today, but it remains a busy railroad junction. Click here for a Southtown Star article by Mike Nolan from October 23, 2014.

October 20, 2014

Does O'Hare need new terminal space? With new runways now in place at ORD, attention is again turning to the airport's passenger facilities. This Chicago Tribune editorial draws attention to the proposed "Western Terminal."

September 22, 2014

 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMomentum builds for improvements to Chicago Union Station, including efforts to enhance the character of the historic “headhouse building,” which is the home of the iconic Great Hall. Click here for a Chicago Tribune story by Richard Wronski.

 

 
September 15, 2014

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The State of Illinois remains persistent in acquiring land for the South Suburban Airport near Peotone, Illinois, even if this means using its power to condemn land. Click here for Crain’s Chicago Business coverage by Paul Merrion.

Midway Airport, despite having such confined spaces, announces the opening of a new “yoga room” for travelers. The addition of this amenity shows how the city’s airports are evolving from mere transportation facilities to diversified commercial centers offering a vast array of services. O’Hare Airport has been aptly described as an “aerotropolis” by writers John Kasarda and Grey Lindsay. Click here for a Chicago Tribune story by Richard Webner.

Check back next month for more news about Chicago’s terminals!