New passenger rail service from Toronto to Chicago could become reality

Amtrak train pictured in Chicago. (@amtrak/Instagram)

An American passenger rail service is proposing a new route that would connect Chicago, IL. with Toronto.

As part of its “2035 Vision,” released this spring, Amtrak outlined plans for expansion, including a map of proposed new passenger routes, one of which connects Chicago-Detroit-Toronto.

The new route would transport passengers between the two cities in just under ten hours, making 23 stops along the way.

Service from Toronto to Detroit would take just under five hours.

The company says the train would make one daily round-trip.

Currently, Amtrak offers service between Chicago-Detroit and Toronto-Aldershot, Ont. as part of their Maple Leaf Train to New York, NY. To complete the Toronto-Chicago route, Amtrak has proposed seven new stops be installed between Brantford, Ont. and Windsor, Ont.

“Although Chicago and Detroit are currently served by Amtrak, improved frequency along the corridor, with connections to Toronto, will increase demand for rail travel and decrease traffic congestion,” the company said in a statement.

“Improved passenger rail service and connectivity [are] critical to enabling further economic development in the Great Lakes region.”

Amtrak underlined the need for the proposed route by highlighting Chicago and Detroit’s over-reliance on cars, resulting in heavy traffic and congestion.

“Chicago and Detroit face unique environmental and equity challenges due to their heavy reliance on cars,” the company said.

“In 2019, Chicago was the second most congested city in the United States, with the average Chicagoan spending 145 hours in traffic, costing each driver $2,146.”

Amtrak’s existing Canadian routes include their Maple Leaf Train from Toronto, Ont. to New York, NY, their Amtrak Cascades route from Vancouver, BC. to Eugene, OR and their Adirondack route from Montreal, QC. to New York, NY.​

The company has not set a timeline for the proposed project.