The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reached an understanding of the clear lines of accountability for passenger rail safety and accessibility between Indianapolis and Chicago, allowing Indiana to implement long-term improvements to the daily service.
INDOT Commissioner Karl Browning met in Indianapolis with FRA staff last week to discuss the roles and responsibilities for providing safe passenger rail service. Indiana's contracts would require Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings, separately, to comply with all Amtrak and FRA requirements. In addition, INDOT would designate a staff member responsible for overseeing contract compliance.
"INDOT and the FRA share the guiding principles of access to safe mobility," Browning said. "Based on these guiding principles, we are both committed to a path toward continuing the Hoosier State service."
INDOT plans to continue existing Amtrak Hoosier State service in the near term until agreements can be finalized with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific. Amtrak, FRA, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspections of Iowa Pacific equipment are ongoing.
For the past year, INDOT has been working to improve passenger rail between Indianapolis and Chicago on behalf of the state and communities with stops along the Hoosier State line. Recently, INDOT has been making progress in negotiating long-term agreements with two experienced passenger rail providers, Amtrak and Iowa Pacific.
Under the proposed service, Amtrak would serve as the primary operator, working with host railroads, providing train and engine crews, and managing reservation and ticketing. Iowa Pacific would provide the train equipment, train maintenance, on-board services and marketing.