Lincoln, IL (LCN)
Christened by Abraham Lincoln with the juice of a watermelon, this community was the first to be named for the man who would become one of the nation's most beloved presidents.
101 North Chicago Street
Lincoln, IL 62656
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 21,245
- Facility Ownership: State Bank of Lincoln Trust #723
- Parking Lot Ownership: N/A
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Amtrak station in the historic center of Lincoln consists of a brick shelter on a platform. Nearby is a brick passenger depot constructed in 1911 for the Chicago and Alton Railroad (later the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio, now owned in this area by Union Pacific). It stands close to where the city was originally christened by Abraham Lincoln in 1853.
The depot was closed to the traveling public in 1972 but was renovated five years later to serve as a restaurant and catering hall. It continued in this capacity until 2013. A year later the building was acquired by the city using high speed rail funds provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The intent is to restore the building’s exterior to its 1911 appearance while providing modern interior amenities. A portion of the renovated building will house a waiting room for Amtrak passengers. New landscaping and sidewalks, as well as parking areas, will also be added. Work is expected to be finished by summer 2017.
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.
When the Chicago and Alton Railroad built its line between Springfield and Normal in the early 1850s, it established what is now Lincoln as a full service rail stop. At the time, steam locomotives could only travel about 30 miles before needing to resupply with wood fuel and water, and thus towns were laid out regularly along a rail line. A local lawyer who had done much with railroad litigation, Abraham Lincoln, was hired by the Chicago and Alton to file the plats; the railroad also asked if it could name the town in his honor.
On August 27, 1853, when the railroad officially opened the town lots for sale, Lincoln came to give a speech. He is said to have taken a watermelon from a boy selling them from a wagon; cutting it open with a pocket knife, he squeezed the juice on the ground to christen the town. A plaque and a sculpture of a cut watermelon commemorate the site today. This was the only city to be named for Lincoln during his lifetime. He returned on a whistle-stop campaign tour in 1860, and finally, in 1865, his funeral train stopped in the town overnight before proceeding to Springfield.
Lincoln is the county seat, and from the train, passengers can often see the impressive dome of the Logan County Courthouse. The city is also home to three colleges: Lincoln College, Lincoln Christian University and Heartland Community College. In 2014, Lincoln College opened a brand new Lincoln Heritage Museum containing an impressive collection of Abraham Lincoln-related documents and artifacts as well as a hands-on exploration of Lincoln’s life.
Historic Route 66, which was the main corridor of car and truck transportation linking the Midwest, Southwest and West in the early 20th century, runs through town. As in other communities along the route, it brought economic growth and development to Lincoln. Colorful murals on buildings in the central business district recognize Lincoln’s rail and highway history.
The phone booth perched atop Lincoln City Hall is a favorite local curiosity. During World War II, people perched in that spot kept watch in the name of Civil Defense. Later, the city erected this phone booth to use for a weather spotting station, with a fully-functional telephone to warn the people below that threatening weather was sighted. A few years ago, the city was going to remove the phone booth as part of roof repair. Public outcry demanded that it be replaced afterward as it is a unique local icon, and it can be seen there today.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at the Lincoln station, which is served by nine daily trains. The Lincoln Service is financed primarily through funds made available by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Dedicated Parking
- Long Term Parking Spaces
- Short Term Parking Spaces
- Wheelchair Lift