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      Hannibal rails for Amtrak

      Amtrak service from Chicago may be down the tracks for America's hometown.

      But first the Hannibal Convention and Visitor's Bureau says it needs your support to make that happen.

      An Amtrak spokesperson says the rail service has had talks with officials from Hannibal and Western Illinois about extending the service to Hannibal and on to St. Louis. Amtrak is also interested in conducting a study to make this possible.

      Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Beau Hicks says the city already has the depot and parking needed to host a service line.

      Only improvements to the area's lighting would be needed.

      The rail lines from Palmyra to Hannibal would also have to be certified for passenger rail service.

      Any improvements needed there could be paid for with available federal stimulus money.

      The only thing that potentially could stand in the way is the state of Missouri.

      To get the stimulus dollars, the state has to pitch in 20 percent of the cost.

      That's why the Visitor's Bureau is asking businesses and residents to show their support by signing a petition for the line.

      They're hoping it convinces Missouri lawmakers to push for the necessary funds for an Amtrak station in Hannibal.

      Hicks said, "Really it is a Tri-State effort. It would bring people down the line through Macomb through Quincy to Hannibal and gives us an ending point. When you have people like Mayor Spring online to do this we just need the Missouri legislature in favor of it. Downstate Illinois knows the importance of Amtrak. We need to make it known in Northeast Missouri."

      Hicks says the line would not only help bring visitors to Hannibal, but would draw more students from the Chicagoland area to Hannibal-LaGrange College.

      In fact petitions for the service are circulating in the windy city between people interested in using the service to Hannibal. Click here to learn more: