Amtrak's Hoosier State Line to end service April 1

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The Indiana Department of Transportation announced Friday that the Hoosier State passenger rail line — which operates four days per week between Indianapolis and Chicago — will end service April 1.

The announcement follows a Federal Railroad Administration decision requiring the state of Indiana to serve as a railroad, even though it owns no track or trains.

"Passenger rail providers and the host railroads are already required to comply with FRA rules," said INDOT Commissioner Karl Browning. "Requiring a redundant layer of bureaucracy would not create improvements in passenger rail service or safety, it would only increase taxpayer costs."

INDOT has been working for a year to improve the Hoosier State service, and had been making progress in negotiating long-term agreements with two experienced passenger rail providers.

"INDOT thanks our partners Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings as we worked together to preserve the Hoosier State service," Browning said.

Under the proposed service, Amtrak would have served as the primary operator, working with host railroads, providing train and engine crews, and managing reservation and ticketing. This would have taken advantage of the priority access and pricing that Amtrak enjoys with the host railroads. Iowa Pacific would have provided the train equipment, train maintenance, on-board services and marketing.

The proposed service was modeled after Amtrak's successful Piedmont service, which operates between Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. The North Carolina Department of Transportation owns the track over which the Piedmont operates, and contracted with Amtrak and private contractors to improve and grow passenger rail.

NCDOT sued the FRA in 2008 when it attempted to place the same impediments on the Piedmont service. INDOT was unsuccessful in convincing the FRA to formally reconsider its decision.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HOOSIER STATE LINE.