Train service from Moline to Chicago will not be high-speed public transportation; at best, it will be a three-hour amusement ride. Want to take it as a feeder to O’Hare to catch a plane? Sorry, it doesn’t come within 20 miles of the airport. Guess you will have to take another train from downtown back to the airport and add an hour or two. Cubs, Sox and Bear games — now we are talking! This might make sense for maybe a thousand or so Quad-Citians in a year. And for the people who can afford $250 per night for a hotel room downtown, this might make for a memorable $1,500 weekend trip for the family for maybe another thousand folks.
If we really want a conveyance so we can sit back and enjoy the ride without having to drive, we already have that, too. It’s called Greyhound Bus and it currently leaves multiple times a day. But a serious suggestion: Use the new Moline terminal to board luxury tour buses to take travelers to Princeton, Ill., to catch the existing AMTRAK.
AMTRAK already uses this system to expand routes off the tracks. Downside to the feeder approach is government politicians won’t get to spend $250 million to upgrade track and buy new trains, but that money would fix the Illinois Quad Cities' bombed out streets.
There are reasons AMTRAK gets about $2 billion in subsidies a year yet still looses about $700 million – ideas like this.