Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance Media Advisory
Rail Alliance Group Praises Initiatives to Improve Indiana Passenger Rail Service
For immediate release: April 14, 2014
The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance today announced it is supportive of efforts to improve passenger rail service in Indiana between Chicago and Indianapolis. Specifically, the group is monitoring the INDOT's request for proposal regarding the Hoosier State Amtrak passenger rail service which operates between Indianapolis and Chicago. They are also monitoring Amtrak's tests of alternative routings.
"We will monitoring INDOT's effort regarding this matter," said Steve Coxhead, President of the Alliance. "We support the RFP's goal of improving service including:
- rerouting the train to avoid the current use of multiple rail lines between Dyer, IN and Chicago. This move could reduce the travel time by 30 minutes or more and reduce delays.
- adding food and beverage service to the train
- adding free WiFi to the train
- adjusting departure and arrival times. (The current train leaves Indianapolis at 6 a.m. and returns at midnight.)
- putting a new crew on in Chicago which has been a cause of delays this winter when Amtrak attempted to change crews in Lafayette instead."
"Common sense and INDOT's own study suggests that the train would be friendlier to travelers if it left Indianapolis at a later hour (and returned before midnight). Also, improving the duration of the trip is obviously needed," continued Alliance member Doug Yerkeson. "These and other recommendations are detailed in a consultant report on alternatives and improving service prepared for INDOT last year," he continued.
The group also supports removing the scaffolding and improving the appearance of Indianapolis's Union Station on South Illinois Street. Since November 2013, scaffolding has been up around the station. Also, the facility needs better cleaning.
"This is no way to welcome passengers to our city," noted Bill Malcolm, who handles media and government relations for the group. "Union Station should be as clean and welcoming as our international airport, not an eyesore," he stated. The group has met with the City to urge them to make these simple changes. So far, the City of Indianapolis says it must wait for a consultant report.
Meanwhile, the Association has also met (via the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce) with Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman in Washington to urge improved service.
The group is also supporting the effort to re-institute service between Chicago and Ft. Wayne.
Indianapolis has daily train service to Chicago via The Cardinal (3 days a week, arrives from New York City) and the Hoosier State (originates in Indianapolis).
Since October, the state and local communities (Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Dyer) along the route (and Beech Grove) have funded the Hoosier State, which is operated by Amtrak.
The group is also working with Amtrak on National Train Day to be held May 10 at Union Station in Indianapolis.
Media contact: Bill Malcolm (317) 259-7505, (317) 698-6106