Hoosier State Line safe until 2015

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Hoosier State Line is safe, for now. Indianapolis has confirmed it will be among the seven Indiana communities, including Lafayette and West Lafayette, to continue service until the end of January.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and seven local communities — Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Beech Grove — have agreed Wednesday to a four-month contract extension with Amtrak, according to INDOT.

As News 18 reported last month, the Hoosier State Line was in jeopardy as Indianapolis officials said they would not provide additional funding to keep the line running. At that time, officials said they would call it quits at the end of September.

The Hoosier State railway will continue service between Indianapolis and Chicago through Jan. 31, 2015. The extension was allowed under the state’s existing agreement with Amtrak.

Negotiations continue with Corridor Capital LLC to improve the service and its funding model by the end of the contract extension in January, reports INDOT.

“It does take some time to do things, like refurbish train cars that would offer food service and Wi-Fi and other amenities,” INDOT’s Media Representative Will Wingfield said. “So in an effort to do this the right way, we want to make sure that we take the time that’s necessary.”

In October 2013, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act ended federal support of Amtrak routes that were less than 750 miles. The act allowed Indiana, who was first in the nation, to seek independent proposals. Among the four proposals submitted, the highest-scoring was Corridor Capital who partnered up with RailPlan International for the plan.

Wingfield said INDOT is looking at the model line in North Carolina that has grown with partnering with a private sector and Amtrak.

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