The April edition of “All Aboard Indiana”, the monthly e-newsletter of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, is now available! Please click on the following link to view or download the newsletter.
The lead, front page, article this month is a call for a grassroots effort to enhance Hoosier State Service. Phillip Streby, treasurer of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA) and a railroad professional, provides an overview of track and signal changes necessary for that to happen. These could include:
1. Separate schedules for the Cardinal and the Hoosier State;
2. Morning and evening departures both eastbound and westbound daily;
3. Additional Amtrak equipment runs – with coach service — to its heavy equipment maintenance facility in Beech Grove, IN;
4. Engineering improvements to restore route speed from 59 to 79 miles per hour.
We would encourage all those concerned with the future of passenger rail in our state to thoughtfully consider sending a letter similar to the sample below to Governor Mike Pence requesting him to direct the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to work with CSX Corporation and other parties to determine what capital investments would be required for a faster Hoosier State with frequencies of two, four or 12 times a day.
A sample letter appears below. The Governor’s address is included. You may find it more convenient to email the governor at http://www.in.gov/gov/2333.htm. The phone number for the Governor’s office is 317-232-4567. We encourage you to customize the sample letter as appropriate to better reflect your circumstances and view point. You might also consider sharing it with local civic leaders in your community.
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Governor Mike Pence
Office of the Governor
200 W. Washington, Rm. 206
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797
Dear Governor Pence:
The Hoosier State Corridor is an ideal market for faster and more frequent train service. Chicago and Northwest Indiana and Indianapolis are metro markets with strong economic ties. The 196-mile trip, combined with unpredictable traffic congestion, makes driving unattractive. The trip is too short to make flying worthwhile. Greater Lafayette is home to a major university and manufacturers with strong international ties. Community leaders there seek a stronger connection to O’Hare.
The Hoosier Stateservice provides safe, productive, and affordable travel to students, tourists, and business travelers. The recent launch of the new Hoosier State has re-energized local leaders across Indiana in support of enhancing the service. Ridership and revenue increases are expected to result from improved service levels and marketing. Now, it is time to invest in the track and signals needed to add faster and more frequent service.
To be most competitive, service times should be reduced to less than three hours and 30 minutes and more daily trips added. This will require improvements in the track and signals on the route. For this to happen, it is important that the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has a clear understanding of the capital costs required prior to the beginning of the new budget cycle. That will require INDOT to request a capital cost and phasing estimate from CSX Corporation (CSX).
I am asking you to direct INDOT to work with CSX and other railroads to determine what capital investments would be required for faster trains running at frequencies of two, four, or 12 times a day.
Fast, frequent and dependable train service connecting Indiana is a valuable tool for growing the state’s economy and tax base. Please feel free to contact me at ________________ if I can be of assistance.
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