Amtrak ridership increasing in Western Illinois

We drive past the gas station almost everyday and see that it's at four dollars a gallon.

To take that price and figure what it costs to drive to Chicago, it's almost cheaper to ride the train.

And it appears that more people are starting to do just that.

As the train whistle blasts as Amtrak approaches the Quincy station, that's the sound that 4,000 riders heard who got on the train in Quincy in April of this year. And comparing that number to last year in April of 2010, it's an increase of about 10%. With high gas prices and the convenience of not having to worry about driving more and more people are turning to the train as their way of getting to Chicago.

Tony Crane is a business owner in Quincy and he was getting off the noon time train in Quincy on Monday. He said that with a gallon of gas at the four dollar mark, it makes sense to ride the train.

" With gas prices and everything the way they are, it's pretty logical choice for a lot of people I'm sure and it's convenient. You can do a lot of work while you are riding, a lot of benefits ," said Crane.

Benefits aside, you can see by the numbers that quite a few people are making their choice to let Amtrak do the driving. Last year alone, there were 46, 880 boardings in Quincy. Now it was down a little in 2009, but in 2008, it was the highest number ever for Amtrak ridership out of the Quincy station. Amy Looten is the director of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce and she says business or pleasure, Amtrak is the way to get to Chicago.

L ooten said, " I think the train is very popular way to get to Chicago and especially with gas prices being a little higher they they were last year. I think that probably has a little bit to do with it as well. "

And on the national level, the Quincy to Chicago routes have also seen an increase from last April to this April as well as comparing the first six months of the fiscal year for 2011 compared to the same time for F-Y 2010.

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