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Kankakee station facts for kids

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Kankakee, IL
Kankakee Illinois Central Railroad Depot.jpg
Location 199 South East Avenue
Kankakee, IL 60901
United States
Owned by City of Kankakee
Line(s) CN Chicago Subdivison
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Connections River Valley Metro
Other information
Status Regular stop (Illini/Saluki)
Flag stop (City of New Orleans)
Station code KKI
History
Opened 1898
Traffic
Passengers (2014) 22,898 Increase 4.9%
Services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Champaign–Urbana
toward New Orleans
City of New Orleans Homewood
toward Chicago
Gilman
toward Carbondale
Illini and Saluki
Former services
Preceding station Illinois Central Railroad Following station
Otto
toward New Orleans
Main Line Bradley
toward Chicago
Illinois Central Railroad Depot
Location Kankakee, Illinois, USA
Built 1898
NRHP reference No. 00000409
Added to NRHP April 28, 2000

Kankakee is an Amtrak intercity train station in Kankakee, Illinois, United States. The station is a regular stop for the Illini and Saluki, and is a flag stop for the City of New Orleans, served only when passengers have tickets to and from the station.

History

The Illinois Central Railroad Company was founded in 1851. By 1853, newly founded Kankakee was connected Chicago, 56 miles (90 km) away. The first train pulled into the station on July 11, 1853. The rail connection reduced the travel time between the two cities from six days by wagon to three hours by rail. It also provided Kankakee with access to industrial resources in the north-south direction; the city was no longer dependent on the east-west Kankakee River. Kankakee was incorporated two years later.

The original station was a small, wood-framed station. However, by the 1890s, it had fallen into disrepair and no longer conformed to city ordinances. The Illinois Central agreed to commission a new train station in 1897, which was completed the next year. The first train arrived at the new station at 7:30 a.m. on January 10, 1898. Frank Lloyd Wright traveled through the station on several occasions while designing two houses in Kankakee, remarking of the new building, "not a style of my choosing but good enough for the community." The city was also served by the New York Central Railroad at another station, with trains such as the James Whitcomb Riley, bound for Cincinnati.

Telephones were installed in 1902, replacing the original telegraph wires. These lines were moved underground in 1911. Rail use declined in the 1930s, coinciding with the Great Depression and the increased use of automobiles. Furthermore, the Kankakee Electric Railway Company, which provided interurban service to the station, went out of business in 1933. The station saw a resurgence in the 1940s during World War II, when personnel training at Chanute Field in Rantoul would come to Kankakee on leisure time. The station has remained in continuous use since 1898.

Historical services

Historically, the station served trains on the Illinois Central's routes going southwest, south and southeast. The last of these, aside from the City of New Orleans, Illini and Saluki was the South Wind.

to St. Louis:

  • Green Diamond

to New Orleans:

  • City of New Orleans
  • Panama Limited

to Florida:

  • Seminole
  • South Wind

Disposition today

The station has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the year 2000. By the late 1980s, the depot had fallen into disrepair. The city purchased the building from the Illinois Central in 1990 and finished a full restoration eight years later. The $1 million project was funded with $750,000 in city funds and private donations. Today, the northern end of the station is home of the Kankakee Railroad Museum.

Bus Connections

River Valley Metro: - Routes 1, 7, & 8


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