A long-talked-about effort to launch a passenger rail line to connect two major markets by crossing through a big chunk of the state is moving forward. The Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry have announced a study for the proposed Chicago to Columbus, Ohio route will begin next month.
The total cost of the Alternatives Analysis and Public Involvement Process is $350,000 and will look at preliminary engineering, technical, service and environmental impacts along the potential path. Supporters call it a key first step. Henry says "I’m encouraged by our collective efforts to develop innovative plans to make Fort Wayne a point of destination. The approval from the FRA allows us to begin the process of establishing passenger rail service through Fort Wayne, northern Indiana and northwest Ohio. By working together, we’re committed to making a meaningful difference by bringing more transportation options and economic development opportunities to our region."
Cities and businesses along the proposed corridor are covering the costs of the study and input process, which could be complete sometime in the fall. If all clearances are met, limited service could begin as early as 2020. Ultimately, the city and NIPRA say the corridor could connect 100 Midwest cities through a regional rail network. Plans call for trains to initially travel up to 75 miles-per-hour and eventually be bumped up to a 110 mile-per-hour maximum speed.
You can connect to more about the announcement by clicking here.