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Passenger Rail in Indiana: From Our Past to Our Future

[+] Author Affiliations
V. Dimitra Pyrialakou, Konstantina Gkritza

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Paper No. JRC2015-5804, pp. V001T08A006; 11 pages
  • 2015 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2015 Joint Rail Conference
  • San Jose, California, USA, March 23–26, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5645-1
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


The Midwest railroad network connected almost every major city by 1860, accounting for 36% of the United States (U.S.) railroad network mileage. Indiana became famous for the first Union Station in the world, as well as for one of the most developed and luxurious interurban rail system in the U.S. The twentieth century drastically transformed the picture, endowing the country with well-developed and world class highway and aviation networks, but leaving Indiana with a limited passenger rail network.

Today, the Hoosier State line, which operates between Indianapolis, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois, is in danger of elimination. As of October 2013, the State of Indiana, local communities, and Amtrak reached an agreement to support the Hoosier State line, an agreement recently extended through January 2015. Amtrak is hesitant to support the corridor, doubting its economic viability. In response, the Indiana Department of Transportation (DOT) was the first nationally to announce a Request for Proposals (1404s1) under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act in order to obtain competitive bids for the operation of the Hoosier State line.

Recent studies suggest that the improvement and enhancement of the Midwest regional rail system to allow higher speeds has the potential to significantly benefit the area. The route from Chicago to Cincinnati via Indianapolis is a strong candidate among the possible routes in the Midwest, and within the second tier nationwide. Studies also suggest that such an upgrade can return great user benefits, reduce travel times, and bring significant regional economic benefits supporting the creation of new permanent jobs in Indiana.

This paper presents the chronicle of passenger rail transportation in the U.S., Midwest, and Indiana in particular, from the early 1830s to the recent attempts of the State of Indiana to sustain the Hoosier line. This paper also investigates the effect of the community’s support on Indiana’s passenger rail evolution, as well as the potential of “higher” speed rail in the state.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: Rails



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