Last week Amtrak took advantage of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse to promote their trains from Chicago to Quincy and Southern Illinois to view the spectacle. It was a good marketing tool for Amtrak to exploit.  Those who took Amtrak on the Carl Sandburg from the Windy City to Quincy were greeted by a shuttle vehicle which picked them up at no charge and transported them to the Quincy Riverfront for the Eclipse viewing party celebration.  They were shuttled by the Quincy Visitors & Convention Bureau because eclipse party organizers saw a need to transport people from the current train station at 30th and Wisman Lane to the downtown area. It’s another good marketing idea for Quincy to exploit thanks to the Eclipse. They also transported them back to the train station later that evening for their return trip. During their stay, they spent time in The District restaurants and shops spending money before heading back to Chicago.

So I ask the question that Former Mayor John Spring brought up a few years ago, why not build a train station downtown?   According to former Mayor Spring, he secured $13 million in 2010 to build a station downtown, but in order to get the grant money the city had to fund a feasibility study that would cost $35 thousand.  The city council in 2010 voted no by a vote of 8 to 6 so the potential project died.

If you are traveling to Quincy on Amtrak today you will arrive in Quincy’s northern industrial section of town and nowhere near downtown… not even walking distance either. Hopefully, you have a ride lined up, or can secure Quincy’s one and only cab. The city doesn’t even provide bus service to the train station.

Having Amtrak stop downtown makes all the sense in the world. The City of Quincy has lost 7 years of downtown visitors and seven years is too long.  A downtown train station is needed and should be a priority in future planning.

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