Local leaders seek better service from Amtrak

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – After a meeting in Washington, D.C. with Lafayette-area leaders, Amtrak is looking for ways to improve service.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said trains running on time was the main issue covered in last week’s meeting.

Roswarski said Amtrak is looking into using a Canadian National Railway line in Chicago, which could help cut travel- time by 35 minutes each way.

Roswarski said they would like to keep the train around, but it needs to be reliable.

“We need to have rail service here, but again even people that love the service – if it’s not reliable, if it’s not on time, if it’s consistently late and you can’t trust it, there simply not going to use it,” said Roswarski.

Roswarski said they would like to see Amtrak increase its marketing around the area, have more amenities on the train and upgrade the track. Roswarski said he believes Amtrak cares about making those improvements.

Another option could come from competitive railway carriers.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has hired R.L. Banks and Associates to develop a Request for Proposals. Once finished and agreed upon, local leaders would be able to look at competitve carriers.

Roswarski said local leaders told Amtrak’s president about the proposal in last week’s meeting.

With only a one-year window to improve the railway, they have to explore all options.

“I know Amtrak would like to give us more time for them to make some of these improvements. We certainly do want to work with them, but we’re working within this year window. We’re already into March, so we have to be doing dual steps in this process at the same time,” said Roswarski.

Roswarski said the proposals could be complete by April, but said if they did change railways, it would take months to transition to a different carrier.

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