4 submit offers to operate Hoosier State rail service

May 7, 2014

Four companies answered the Indiana Department of Transportation’s request for proposals to improve operation of the Amtrak Hoosier State passenger rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago.

The state, Tippecanoe County, and the cities of Lafayette, West Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Indianapolis and Beech Grove advertised for independent companies to submit plans to find efficiencies and close the gap between revenues and operating costs.

The communities and the state have been covering the roughly $3 million annual cost of operating the 196-mile line since October when the federal government stopped funding Amtrak routes shorter than 750 miles.

Amtrak has acknowledged that the line leaves at inconvenient times, offers no amenities, such as food or Wi-Fi service, travels at slow speeds on track owned by freight railroads and is subject to delays by freight trains…

The companies had the option of performing a portion of the services now provided by Amtrak, performing all of the functions performed by Amtrak or performing all current functions as well as additional items, such as food service and Wi-Fi.

It will take some time to evaluate the plans because there are several variables, said Will Wingfield, INDOT spokesman…

Rest of the story at the Journal and Courier, 5 May 2014.

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