Last updated: 06:39 PM ET, Sat March 07 2015

Indiana DOT: Amtrak Hoosier State Rail Service Ending April 1

Car Rental & Rail | Michael Isenbek | March 07, 2015

Indiana DOT: Amtrak Hoosier State Rail Service Ending April 1

Photo courtesy of Amtrak's Facebook page

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has announced in a recent press release that the Amtrak Hoosier State line, running four days a week between Indianapolis and Chicago will have its last run on April 1.

The announcement was made after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) declared that the state of Indiana must serve as a railroad, “even though it owns no track or trains,” said the press release.

In the release, INDOT Commissioner Karl Browning had some strong words for these new government regulations. “Passenger rail providers and the host railroads are already required to comply with FRA rules,” he said. “Requiring a redundant layer of bureaucracy would not create improvements in passenger rail service or safety, it would only increase taxpayer costs.”

The sea change in regulation began in 2008, when Congress voted to end federal funding for some Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles.  Once Indiana, considered a test case for these new rules, was declared a railroad carrier, they were susceptible to what the press release called, “significant increases in cost, paperwork and liability.”

Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman made it clear he wanted to continue the Hoosier State line in a responding statement.

“Daily Amtrak service to Indianapolis does not have to end in April. Amtrak has offered to continue to operate the train on a month-to-month basis. Amtrak is ready, willing and able to continue to provide safe and reliable service using one of the proven models we’ve used in other states. We have shown how the quality of the passenger experience can be improved by demonstrating modern Wi-Fi and business class seating. We have the expertise in working with the host railroads and have repeatedly offered to be the state’s and the communities’ partner in advancing plans to improve the travel time and the reliability of the service.”

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