JOLIET – New commuter platforms for the Rock Island District and the Heritage Corridor line will open for service Friday.
With the opening of the new platforms, the existing Union Station platforms will be closed, signaling the end of an era for the 102-year-old facility.
Union Station itself will remain open, and the city plans to integrate the historic building into the new Joliet Gateway Center. But even sales of trains tickets are being moved this week to temporary trailers.
All trains arriving and departing prior to 10 a.m. Friday will use the existing Union Station platforms. After 10 a.m., trains from both lines will use the new platforms.
The Heritage Corridor temporary platform is on Michigan Street (Mayor Art Schultz Drive), north of Jefferson Street, just across the street from Silver Cross Field. Handicapped access is available via a ramp at the northwestern corner of Michigan and Jefferson streets. A wheelchair lift will be available at track level to assist boarding for the disabled.
The Heritage platform eventually will be replaced by a permanent structure linked to a new train station yet to be built.
The Rock Island platform is south of Jefferson between Michigan and Eastern Avenue.
The permanent platform, which eventually will link up with the new train station, features handicapped access via an elevator on its eastern end at Eastern Avenue. The west end of the platform features an additional set of stairs, with no elevator.
The new station, which will be located at the southwest corner of Mayor Art Schultz Drive and Jefferson Street, is expected to open in summer 2016.
Tickets for each line will be sold at temporary trailers near each platform, City Manager Jim Hock said.
The Metra ticket office will be on Michigan Street, south of Jefferson. It will open at 4:45 a.m. Monday.
Amtrak’s ticket office will be on Michigan north of Jefferson. It will open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
While no tickets will be sold in Union Station after Monday, Hock noted the building will remain open to provide tunnel access to commuter lots and the new platforms from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The newly reconstructed $1 per day commuter parking lot along the north side of the new Rock Island platform will be available to commuters beginning Friday. Access to the lot is available through a new entrance on the south side of Jefferson Street, just east of Mayor Art Schultz Drive.