Shorter schedule makes for better travel times, saves state money
WASHINGTON – Amtrak and CSX have reached a mutual understanding on an improved schedule for the Amtrak Hoosier State, Trains 850 & 851, which operates between Indianapolis and Chicago, via Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer, Ind. CSX owns all of the Hoosier State’s route in Indiana.
Amtrak plans to offer the new schedules next month. While details remain to be finalized, northbound Train 851 will leave Indianapolis later than the current 6 a.m. departure time. Meanwhile, southbound Train 850 will return to Indianapolis earlier than today’s 11:39 p.m. arrival. The times at all the intermediate stops will also change.
The Hoosier State is operated by Amtrak under a contract with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). The schedule reduction will save more than $72,000 in annual operating costs to the state.
The Hoosier State trains operate on days when the Amtrak Cardinal, Trains 50 & 51, does not operate. The state-sponsored Hoosier State runs on Sundays, Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays and the Amtrak National Network-funded Cardinal is scheduledon the three remaining days.
“Together, these trains carried more than 60,000 customers last year and provide daily service on an important Amtrak MidwestSM route, one with great potential that we look forward to developing with our partners at INDOT and CSX,” said Joe McHugh, the Amtrak Vice President for state-supported services. “We’ve brought to this route improved schedules and better reliability, free Wi-Fi and food service. As partners, we can further improve the financial performance, reduce trip times and offer a still better option than driving I-65.”
“I’m encouraged we are finding ways to further improve this service and continue striving for a reduction on the state’s cost per passenger,” said State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica). “Everyone agrees the status quo is not sustainable. As the financial officer on the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, I’ve seen what can be done when partners work together. We can do that in Indiana, too.”
Amtrak serves Rep. Negele’s district from the stations in Crawfordsville, Lafayette and Rensselaer.