The Amtrak route between Chicago and Carbondale is the least on-time state-supported passenger rail route in the country … according to Amtrak’s own data.
Amtrak blames the Canadian National Railroad … which owns the tracks … for not giving the passenger trains priority … which is required by law.
Democratic U-S Senator Dick Durbin introduced legislation last week that would allow Amtrak to take freight railroads to court to enforce that law.
Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry supports the Rail Passenger Fairness Act recently introduced by Durbin.
This legislation aims to provide Amtrak with a mechanism to keep freight railroads accountable by requiring them to give preference to passenger rail operating on their rail lines.
Mayor Henry says Amtrak's timeliness needs to improve as the City prepares to build a multi-modal station in the downtown area that will host Amtrak.
Carbondale is the southernmost stop of the Illini-Saluki route which currently has a six percent on-time performance for northbound trains and a 17-percent for southbound trains, which is among the worst in the country. A report issued in October by the US Inspector General estimates nearly 60-percent of those delays are caused by interference from freight trains.