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Tourism officials push Amtrak's Chicago to Kansas City direct route

 Passengers getting off Amtrak train
Uptown Normal
Passengers step off an Amtrak train at Uptown Station in Normal.

Tourism officials have launched a campaign to promote Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner, which provides travelers with a direct trip from Chicago to Kansas City. The two-way trip makes daily stops at Uptown Station in Normal.

Previously, passengers would face a two-hour layover in St. Louis when traveling between Chicago and Kansas City.

Tammy Bruckerhoff, the tourism director for Hermann, Missouri, said the addition of Chicago to the River Runner was to provide for the community’s needs.

“We know that so many people from Chicago want to come to Missouri, whether it’s to go to a (St. Louis) Cardinals game or a (Kansas City) Chiefs game, or to ride the Katy Trail, which is a biking and hiking trail, so there’s just always increasing services,” Bruckerhoff said.

Bruckerhoff adds there has been an increase of people utilizing the service since there is no longer a layover.

The direct route has a focus on experiencing various Missouri cities, including Independence, Lee’s Summit, Warrensburg, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington, Kirkwood and St. Louis.

“With gas prices that have increased so much, this is just a wonderful way to travel,” Bruckerhoff said. “So, mom doesn’t have to worry about driving and handling three kids in the car. And business travelers, the train is wonderful, they have tabletops, you have Wi-Fi on the train and they also have the outlets so you can be on your phone and charging your phone.”

Amtrak recently announced its Chicago-to-St. Louis route is about 15 minutes quicker. Trains can now reach speeds of 110 miles per hour.

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Megan Spoerlein is a reporting intern at WGLT. She started in 2023. Megan is also studying journalism at Illinois State University.
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