Rally to preserve Amtrak Chicago routes
The clock is ticking for Amtrak. If the state doesn't act fast, it could be the end of the line for service from Indianapolis to Chicago. Federal funding for the train route runs out on October 1st. Now, there's an effort to gather support for the service and "wake up, Indiana."
"All aboard" is a call that means convenience for Amtrak passengers like Heidi and Greta.
"I can do work; one of us doesn't have to drive. We can nap if we want to, can get up and walk around and don't have to worry about traffic or anything," they explained.
The sisters are headed to Chicago for a swimming competition. When it comes to deciding on the best mode of travel, for them, it's a no-brainer.
"It's a really easy way to travel and I'd hate to see them not use the trains," said Heidi.
But the Hoosier State Line is in jeopardy. It runs from Indianapolis to Chicago four times a week. But effective October 1st, federal funding will end and the state would have to step in at a price tag of $3 million.
"The legislature back in February put $3 million and gave INDOT authorization to fund the Amtrak contract, but they're under no obligation to do so," said Bill Malcolm, Amtrak supporter.
That's why Bill Malcolm with the National Association for Rail Passengers held an informational event at Union Station to gather signatures and share information. He's calling it "Wake up, Indiana."
"Having an all-weather option like rail service with Amtrak is a vital service to keep the state connected," he said.
Back on the train, the sisters are hopeful they can continue to rely on this fun convenience.
"It's one of our favorite ways to travel even though we don't do it all that often. It works for us today," said Greta.
"We're just hoping to maintain daily transportation service to Chicago through this effort," said Malcolm. He cited the reduction in air service from Indianapolis to Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports as another reason to maintain rail transit.