Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is asking Amtrak to reconsider its decision about suspending morning train service between Quincy and Chicago.
Amtrak announced on November 16th that service between Quincy and Chicago would be suspended until January 16th. They said the rail service would be replaced by Coach buses. Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari told WGEM that the suspension was due to staffing issues. Magliari said the collective bargaining agreement between Amtrak and union employees allows employees to choose their work routes based on seniority. He said enough senior employees had chosen other routes that Amtrak had to make the decision to cancel scheduled trains.
Durbin emphasized in a letter to Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner on Monday the suspension would have serious economic consequences for area residents. Durbin says that the suspension of service has left many without transportation to and from their jobs.
Although Amtrak has provided a bus service in replacement for the Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr trains, Durbin said this will not be able to meet the transportation needs of West Central Illinois residents.
Durbin is asking Amtrak to restore the train service quickly as it provides approximately 5,000 passengers rides on average per month.
Durbin advised Amtrak to work with rail labor unions to prevent and resolve incidents of labor shortages along the Quincy rail system.