Joliet, IL (JOL)
Union Station, built in 1912, features soaring round arched windows and walls of limestone. It was designed by well known architect Jarvis Hunt, a leader of the City Beautiful movement.
53 Mayor Art Schultz Drive at East Jefferson Street
Joliet, IL 60432
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 58,211
- Facility Ownership: City of Joliet, Metra
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Joliet
- Platform Ownership: City of Joliet, Metra
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Effective Saturday, September 27, 2014, Lincoln Service trains and theTexas Eagle will begin serving a temporary facility at 53 Mayor Art Schultz Drive (approximately two blocks northeast of Joliet Union Station, directly across from Silver Cross Field baseball park). The ticket office will be open at the temporary location during its normal morning and afternoon hours. Amtrak services will not be available from Joliet Union Station until further notice. Once construction is complete in late 2017, Amtrak will move to the new Joliet Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center.
Joliet Union Station, built in 1912 by Adam Groth Company, was designed by architect Jarvis Hunt. A leader of the City Beautiful movement, Hunt designed many important buildings across the United States in the early years of the 20th century, including Kansas City Union Station, the Kansas City Star building, and the Union Station in Dallas, Texas. The erection of the Joliet station, which was constructed of Bedford limestone at a cost of $250,000, accompanied the elevation of the rail lines through the city center, a project that gained national attention. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 1, 1978.
Train service to Joliet began in 1852 under the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. It is the site of the old Rock Island Diamond and sits at the junction of the former Rock Island Line and Alton Railroad main lines. Today, Metra commuter trains of the Rock Island District and Heritage Corridor stop there as well as Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle. Railfans favor the station as a place to view both freight and passenger trains.
In March 2010, the city unveiled plans for the long-envisioned Joliet Regional Multimodal Transportation Center (JRMMTC), which is designed to unite the services of Amtrak intercity passenger rail; Metra commuter rail; PACE local busses; intercity passenger busses; Chicago airport shuttles; and taxis in one easily accessible downtown location. Pedestrian and bicycle access will be enhanced through new streetscaping and improvements to roads in the surrounding neighborhood.
Later that year, the city received $32 million towards the project from “Illinois Jobs Now!”, a six year, $31 billion statewide capital program supported by 20 year state bonds and federal and local matching funds. This major contribution, combined with $2.2 million from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) and $7.5 million from the city, means that the $42 million JRMMTC is completely financed and can break ground once the design work is completed.
As planned, the JRMMTC will be completed in three phases: construction of a new parking lot and bus turnaround for use by PACE and intercity bus providers (approximately $6 million); realignment of BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad tracks to accommodate new passenger platforms (approximately $17 million); and erection of the transportation center building adjacent to the historic passenger station (approximately $7 million).
Of especial importance is phase two, which will greatly increase passenger safety. The current track configuration requires Amtrak and Metra passengers to cross two active freight lines in order to reach the intercity and commuter rail platforms. This situation will be resolved by reconfiguring the tracks through the station and adding a new passenger platform, stairs, and elevators. The BNSF will also benefit from this work since its freight trains currently have to pause outside of the station—creating delays—while Amtrak or Metra trains are stopped at the platforms.
According to Joliet officials, the 32,000 square foot transportation center, which will house ticket offices, a waiting area, retail outlets, and other passenger amenities, will be designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Sustainable features may include solar panels, a green roof, and highly efficient water and energy systems. Construction of the station is expected to begin in 2012 with completion the next year. Ultimately, the city hopes that the JRMMTC will be a catalyst for the renewal of the downtown core. Transit-oriented development on nearby parcels could foster a lively district in which residents can live, shop, and play without the need for an automobile. The historic station will be renovated to accommodate retail and offices.
Under the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program, the state of Illinois received $1.2 billion to improve the vital Chicago-St. Louis rail corridor so that passenger trains will be able to attain regular speeds of 110 mph. When completed in 2017, the upgraded line is expected to present a strong transportation alternative for drivers along the congested Interstate 55 corridor.
This area’s first non-native settlers came in 1833 and 1834 following the Black Hawk War, settling along the Des Plaines River. James B. Campbell, treasurer of the canal commissioners, laid out the village of Juliet there, which name the local settlers had been using before his arrival. Juliet incorporated as a village in 1837, but rescinded it to lift a tax burden in the 1837 depression. Local residents changed the name to “Joliet” in 1845, and the city reincorporated in 1852. It is speculated that the name was taken from one of the first European explorers to visit the region, Louis Jolliet, who came up the Des Plaines River in 1673 and camped on the clay mound of what became known as Mound Jolliet. Extensive excavation of that resource eventually eroded the mound, and that location was later settled as Rockdale.
Joliet depended on manufacturing in the twentieth century, and is also a close suburb of Chicago; thus it has evolved from a steel town to an exurb of the greater Chicago area. The city center has been undergoing revitalization in recent years. Local landmarks include the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Visitors Center.
The alternate route section of US 66, from Wilmington to Joliet was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 5, 2006. This roadbed, passing through largely agricultural lands, had periods of construction both in 1926 and 1945.
Joliet Prison (Joliet Correctional Center) was in use between 1858 and 2002, and was built with limestone quarried on the site, with convict labor. The prison was the main execution site in Illinois. It has been darkly remembered in poetry—in the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters—in song, in recordings by Memphis Minnie (1932) and Bob Dylan, and in many films.
The Rialto Square Theater, a favored haunt of Al Capone is also in downtown Joliet. There are, furthermore, two riverboat casinos in Joliet—which spans both the Des Plaines and DuPage Rivers—making Joliet the only city in the state to have two casinos, The Empress Casino and Harrah’s, downtown. Chicagoland Speedway is in Joliet as well, hosting annual events from NASCAR and the Indy Racing League.
Amtrak provides both ticketing and help with baggage at this facility, which is served by eight daily trains. The Lincoln Service is financed primarily through funds made available by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
- Accessible Platform
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Long Term Parking Spaces
- Short Term Parking Spaces
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift