217.370.8505 cory@bletislb.org

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and local communities earlier this month reached long-term agreements with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings to continue Hoosier State passenger-rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Service under the new agreements began yesterday. As the route’s operator, Amtrak will work with host railroads, provide train and engine crews and manage ticket reservations. INDOT will pay Amtrak for its expenses not covered by ticket revenue, and Amtrak will provide the state with any excess revenue.

Iowa Pacific will serve as the state’s contractor to provide train equipment and maintenance, food service, and marketing. INDOT will receive 25 percent of Iowa Pacific’s operating profits for the Hoosier State route.

INDOT officials anticipate paying $254,527 per month, while the cities of Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer, Tippecanoe County and West Lafayette would pay a combined $21,194 per month for the service. The contract extends to June 30, 2017; INDOT may extend the service with Iowa Pacific for up to four additional years.

One of the three Iowa Pacific passenger cars on the train is a dome lounge, which soon will house business-class seating, hot meals and drinks, officials said.