The selection of routes was based on an independent study by the Decatur office of URS Corp., one of the country’s top engineering design firms. The analysis showed that the southern route through Genoa will require a $26.2 million investment in upgraded infrastructure between Chicago and Rockford. Similar improvements on the proposed northern route through Belvidere would cost $62.3 million, raising the total cost of the route to more than $96 million. The study also determined an estimated annual ridership of 76,357 on the southern route compared to 54,988 on the northern route.Pending further political wrangling, at least one round trip a day will be in operation sometime in 2014.
Safety was another deciding factor in the study. The southern route will cross 143 roads and highways. The northern route would cross 176. The southern route also will see fewer delays using only two railroads, while the northern route would require using four railroads. The full report can be viewed [here].
TRAINS TO DUBUQUE. The wrangle between Genoa and Belvidere over the renewal of service through the North West Frontier of Illinois has been resolved by the Illinois Department of Transportation in favor of the Land O'Corn route.