By Natalie Zarowny
A group of Illinois town leaders met today to discuss a big common interest, the Carl Sandburg Amtrak lines that run between the cities.
"We've been train riders for years, we love it," said Linda Rich, a traveler from Normal, Illinois.
Local leaders are trying to spread that love to even more riders.
Officials from Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy joined forces today for the first time to talk about train transportation.
"We're seeking to work with each other on much higher levels," said Mayor Garza, of Galesburg.
They're working as a team to bring tourism to their towns.
They said there's already interest from folks in places like Chicago to come to smaller towns.
"To create a corridor where people either from the Chicago area, or other areas of our state and the region can come to this corridor and experience the tourism aspects," said John Sullivan, a State Senator of the 47th district in Illinois.
But one Chicago train expert said there's a problem these smaller communities have to figure out first.
"The new, fast train has delivered you to the station in this outlying community, now how do you get the last mile or two miles to your destination?" asked F. K. Plous, the Director of Communications for Corridor Capitol, a rail company.
People in the transportation business call this issue the last mile problem.
It can be fixed by having local transportation available at stations when there are big events going on.
Experts said if the last mile problem is fixed, communities and rail services will benefit.