Homewood, IL (HMW)
The Illinois Central Railroad built the depot in 1923; its Mission Revival design, complete with undulating parapets, was meant to complement the adjacent Ravisloe Country Club.
18015 Park Avenue
Homewood, IL 60430
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2020): 22,994
- Facility Ownership: Canadian National Railway Company (CN) Illinois Central (IC) (A subsidiary of CN) / Metra
- Parking Lot Ownership: Chicago South Suburban Mass Transit District (CSSMTD)
- Platform Ownership: Canadian National Railway Company (CN) Illinois Central (IC) (A subsidiary of CN) / Metra
- Track Ownership: Canadian National Railway Company (CN) Illinois Central (IC) (A subsidiary of CN)
The Homewood depot was built in 1923 by the Illinois Central Railroad (IC) and was served by the well-known Panama Limited and Seminole Limited, as well as commuter trains providing connections to downtown Chicago. Designed by E.E. Bihl and C.J. Bystrom of the IC, the building has a Mission Revival appearance that complements the adjacent Ravisloe Country Club and its noted 1917 Spanish Revival clubhouse.
Today, the station provides a waiting room for Amtrak as well as a platform for regional Metra trains. Access to PACE transit buses is also available at this station. A pedestrian passageway running under the tracks connects the commuter and Amtrak platforms and gives customers access to the depot from the east side of the tracks.
Elements contributing to the depot’s Mission Revival design include a gabled barrel tile roof with exposed rafter tails, vigas (protruding wood rafters), rough stuccoed walls, undulating parapets with decorative recessed niches, round arch windows and doorways, and arcades. Mission Revival architecture was one of many romantic styles influenced by the past that were popular in the early 20th century. This was in part due to the growth of California and the Southwest, areas that had been explored and settled by Spain and were noted for their historic mission complexes. The Homewood depot is the only one of its kind built by the IC.
The three-part building consists of the larger central section with the gabled barrel tile roof flanked by two smaller wings with flat roofs. This layout follows the building use – the central section holds the waiting room featuring pink terrazzo flooring; to the north was the baggage and express room, as noted by the large solid wood doors and smaller windows for security; and to the south is the ticket office, whose two customer windows opened onto the waiting area. At the depot’s southeastern corner, a covered arcade provides an outdoor waiting area and access to the under-track pedestrian tunnel.
In September 2020, federal, state, local and Amtrak officials gathered to break ground on improvements to Amtrak and Metra customer facilities at the shared station, formally beginning a combined $29 million construction project that will continue through spring 2022.
Work began on the west side of the tracks, with Amtrak using $15 million of federal funds it receives for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to replace the stairway and augment the stairs with an enclosed ramp, which will allow all customers to access the pedestrian tunnel under the tracks to both the Amtrak and the Metra train platforms.
Metra electric trains and Amtrak diesel-powered trains operate on separate tracks with different platform heights. Amtrak is demolishing an old platform and constructing a new 650-foot boarding platform to serve its trains. It will serve two tracks, allowing northbound and southbound trains to stop at Homewood at the same time.
Also included in the project are accessibility improvements to the former IC depot, such as upgraded restrooms, new compliant doors at the main entrance, and a level path between the depot, parking, and the stairway/ramp entrance to the tunnel. Across the 46-state network, Homewood was the largest Amtrak ADA project in 2020.
Starting in the spring of 2021, Metra is using $14 million primarily through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning (CMAP) and the Federal Transit Administration, including $4 million from Metra, $585,000 from the Village of Homewood and $300,000 from Cook County, to replace the existing station structure on the east side of the tracks, renovate the existing 1911 tunnel and create accessible paths from both ends of the tunnel. The tunnel will be waterproofed, provided with upgraded lighting, drainage and ventilation systems, and graffiti resistant finishes. Prior to this project, the only all-access path to the Amtrak and Metra platforms has been from the east side of the tracks.
Canadian National Railway (CN), which acquired IC in 1998, makes its U.S. corporate headquarters in Homewood. It includes a state-of-the-art training center where CN conducts its enhanced railroader training program providing railroad employees and customers with a complete range of hands-on technical training. North of the Homewood station is the CN’s Markham Yard and Woodcrest Shop, which provide core mechanical services.
In 2007, the Homewood Rail Heritage committee opened a train viewing platform on the east side of the tracks one block south of the depot to promote tourism among those interested in railroading, as the platform provides a great view of Amtrak and Metra trains, as well as freight trains entering and exiting the CN facilities. An equipment park, displaying heritage CN equipment, lies near the Homewood station.
The first European-American settlers arrived in the region that would become Homewood in the 1830s. Located south of the Little Calumet River, the area’s fertile land appealed to farmers. In 1853, James Hart of Massachusetts platted the land that is today Homewood and named it “Hartford” after himself. Later that year, the Illinois Central laid track through Hart’s subdivision and created a stop that it called Thornton Station after the adjacent, larger village of Thornton along nearby Thorn Creek.
A wood-frame depot with vertical board and batten siding and a gabled roof with deep eaves supported by brackets was erected on the east side of the tracks. With construction of the current depot on the west side of the tracks, the old one was relocated and served as the town’s first library.
Establishment of a flour mill in 1856, to which farmers in the region brought their grain, proved important to the expansion of the community. In 1869, Thornton and Hartford merged and took the new name “Homewood.” The railroad also played a continued role in the town’s growth, especially with the establishment of commuter rail service to Chicago in 1890. Riders could eventually choose from more than 10 daily trains.
At the turn of the 20th century, Homewood blossomed as an attractive suburb only 25 miles south of growing Chicago, offering residents and businesspeople modern big-city amenities such as telephone service and electricity. Nearby country clubs were popular with golfers, some of whom decided to build permanent or summer homes in the town. The Ravisloe Country Club was frequented by many IC officers, most of whom lived in the southern suburbs and rode the commuter service to downtown. The Ravisloe golf course and clubhouse still operate but are now open to the general public, with the latter providing event space.
Homewood has grown since World War II, but retains a small-town flavor: Forbes magazine has rated Homewood as one of the “most livable” suburbs in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The Illini and Saluki are financed primarily through funds made available by the Illinois State Department of Transportation.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- Quik-Trak kiosks not available
- No ticket sales office
- Accessible Restrooms
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- Bag storage not available
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight parking is available; fees may apply
- Accessible platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- Accessible waiting room
- Accessible water fountain
- Accessible same-day parking is available; fees may apply
- Accessible overnight parking is available; fees may apply
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- Wheelchair lift available
|Mon||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
|Tue||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
|Wed||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
|Thu||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
|Fri||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
|Sat||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
|Sun||04:00 pm - 09:00 pm|
Ticket Office Hours
|Mon||12:00 am - 12:00 am|
|Tue||12:00 am - 12:00 am|
|Wed||12:00 am - 12:00 am|
|Thu||12:00 am - 12:00 am|
|Fri||12:00 am - 12:00 am|
|Sat||12:00 am - 12:00 am|
|Sun||12:00 am - 12:00 am|