Indiana replaces Amtrak as ‘Hoosier State’ service provider

All Aboard Ohio will learn from Corridor Capital what impact this may have on the proposed extension to Cincinnati. Stay tuned.

Trains News Wire EXCLUSIVE:
Indiana replaces Amtrak as ‘Hoosier State’ service provider
By Bob Johnston
Published: June 27, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — Although Amtrak conductors and engineers will continue to operate Indiana’s Hoosier State, the Indiana Department of Transportation has selected Corridor Capital LLC of Chicago to provide the equipment and maintenance, effective Oct. 1, 2014, for its state-supported train. Before any contract is signed and agreement details are finalized, however, officials from on line communities which agreed to help keep the train operating through Sept. 30, 2014, must approve the new service plan and funding they will be required to pay beginning Oct. 1. The operation agreement would include the four weekly round-trips over the Chicago-Indianapolis when the Chicago-Washington-New York Cardinal does not run.

Indiana thus becomes the first state seeking to “unbundle” service currently provided by Amtrak under Section 209 of the  Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. That legislation mandates that states assume financial responsibility for any Amtrak train operating less than 750 miles. The legislation requires Amtrak to itemize costs it is passing on to states or operating authorities so whatever it charges can be competitively bid on by other entities. The document released by INDOT this week reveals that Corridor Capital narrowly edged Iowa Pacific Holdings in judging criteria scored by the agency’s Selection Review Committee. Herzog Transit Services and Travel Train Holdings Inc. also submitted proposals.

Department spokesman Will Wingfield tells Trains News Wire that Corridor Capital was essentially tapped as a consultant to help define the scope of alternatives for service that the state and Indiana communities will ultimately decide upon. “Leaders from the towns of Beech Grove, Indianapolis, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, and Rensselaer are being invited to help evaluate the options and costs that will determine how much support the train will need during the next fiscal year,” he says. Ticket pricing, possible café car service, and business class amenities are all on the table.

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