One Year In: Hoosier State Train Keeps Rolling

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(Image courtesy of the Indiana Department of Transportation) (Image courtesy of the Indiana Department of Transportation)

As the revamped Hoosier State train celebrates its first year, Iowa Pacific Holdings says key metrics continue to come back positive. Marketing and Sales Manager Heather Hice says ridership, on-time performance and customer satisfaction are all up, compared to a year ago. Hice says the number legislators pay attention to, revenue, was also up 65 percent in May and June. The contract between the state, Iowa Pacific, Amtrak and cities and towns along the Indianapolis-to-Chicago route is set to expire in June of 2017.

During an interview in June on Inside INdiana Business Television, Hice said the public-private partnership is the first of its kind. Iowa Pacific provides what Hice calls "the rolling stock," which includes the trains, equipment and on-board services, as well as marketing services. Amtrak is the operator and is responsible for train and engine crews, coordination with host railroads, reservations and ticketing. The line is funded by INDOT and the cities and towns along the way including Crawfordsville, Dyer, Lafayette, Rensselaer and West Lafayette.

The Hoosier State includes new amenities such as improved food service, free WiFi and new business class features, which Hice says has helped earn the train a #1 ranking for service in the entire Amtrak fleet.

Hice says, while she can't give specifics, negotiations are expected to include potential expansion and enhancement of the services, as well as discussion of a two-year extension.

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