Hoosier State goes from Amtrak to Corridor Capital

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Paulus

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Jul 13, 2012
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They just barely edged out Iowa Pacific

The Indiana Department of Transportation on June 24, 2014 selected Corridor Capital as its preferred vendor to manage and operate the current Amtrak Hoosier State route between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Indiana DOT and Corridor Capital are now in discussions towards an agreement for a changeover in operations commencing October 1, 2014.
 

MattW

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And so it begins. I think all eyes are going to be on this to see how well it works out, as well as to see what role Amtrak has, if any beyond initial rolling stock.
 

Anderson

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One of the main factors looked at was the ability of the possible providers to work with the freight lines.
 

afigg

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Did the freight railroad(s) have a say in this?
Yes. The IN DOT RFP covered the subject of freight railroad access. But freight access agreements were: "INDOT, along with the contractor, will discuss track access arrangements with host freight railroad right of way owners after the notice to proceed is sent to the successful contractor."

If CSX and CN ask for large access fees, this deal could fall apart. Or IN DOT has already reached an informal agreement with the freight railroads. Doubt it though.

Corridor Capital has the Sante Fe hi-levels, so presumably they proposed to provide them for HS. So Amtrak will have a few more Horizon cars available. What locomotives CorrCap* will use, no idea.

What we don't know is whether CorrCap proposed to run the HS as a 4 day a week service or with options for a daily service. The bottom line is that come October 1 (or by January 2015 if there are delays in CorrCap starting up), Amtrak will not be operating the HS. Lots to find out about the award and what CorrCap proposed.

* CorrCap is my proposed abbrevation for Corridor Capital so it is not confused with the Capitol Corridor.
 

neroden

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Feb 23, 2014
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Yes. The IN DOT RFP covered the subject of freight railroad access. But freight access agreements were: "INDOT, along with the contractor, will discuss track access arrangements with host freight railroad right of way owners after the notice to proceed is sent to the successful contractor."

If CSX and CN ask for large access fees, this deal could fall apart. Or IN DOT has already reached an informal agreement with the freight railroads. Doubt it though.
Lest we forget, the current route of the Hoosier State requires agreement from CSX, CN, UP, (possibly) the Belt Railway of Chicago, (possibly) NS, Metra, and Amtrak. That's a LOT of railroads to get agreement from.

If CN gets friendly, this could be reduced to CSX, CN, and Amtrak by rerouting up the IC route to the St Charles Air Line, but that's the minimum.
 

MrFSS

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Wonder if The Cardinal will become the only hospital train to Beech Grove?? The HS is used most often, now.
 

neroden

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Honestly, I don't see this happening; I think Indiana DOT doesn't know what they're dealing with, and the negotiations will drag on for a couple of years and then be cancelled. If I'm wrong, it indicates an improvement in attitude on the part of the freight railroads, and so I would welcome it.
 
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D

Daniel

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So if this happens, would it be no longer part of Amtrak's system, i.e. it wouldn't be in Amtrak's timetables and trains wouldn't be labeled as one?
 

rickycourtney

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It will be interesting to see what level of involvement Amtrak will have. I don't know who will decide that (Corridor Capital, Indiana DOT).

Speaking of the Capitol Corridor... that's an example of a line where Amtrak has very little involvement:
The Capitol Corridor is operated by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (a board made up of six local transit agencies in the counties where the train runs). Most of the funding is provided by the State of California and the equipment is owned by the California Department of Transportation. The CCJPA contracts with the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (the operators of BART) for day-to-day management of the line, commissary services for the café cars is contracted to Gourmet Rail Services and operations (T&E crews, LSA) ticketing and some maintenance is contracted to Amtrak.

Since Amtrak provides ticketing, the Capitol Corridor is still included in Amtrak's timetable and is still a part of the "system."

That being said as more states move to situations like this Amtrak will have to bid aggressively to keep contracts.
 
S

SactoRailFan

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Rickey, you do know the Amtrak commissary in Oakland contracts directely with Gourmet Rail Services. The CCJPA does not.
 

Paulus

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Just to be clear, the Capitol Corridor JPA and Corridor Capital are two completely different and unrelated organizations.
 

oldtimer

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I think I'll add a tall cool draft to go with the hot buttered popcorn!

If they think that they can have this up and running in 3 months (even 6 months) Ill have what they are smoking.

:wacko: :help: :giggle:
 

seat38a

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It will be interesting to see what level of involvement Amtrak will have. I don't know who will decide that (Corridor Capital, Indiana DOT).

Speaking of the Capitol Corridor... that's an example of a line where Amtrak has very little involvement:

The Capitol Corridor is operated by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (a board made up of six local transit agencies in the counties where the train runs). Most of the funding is provided by the State of California and the equipment is owned by the California Department of Transportation. The CCJPA contracts with the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (the operators of BART) for day-to-day management of the line, commissary services for the café cars is contracted to Gourmet Rail Services and operations (T&E crews, LSA) ticketing and some maintenance is contracted to Amtrak.

Since Amtrak provides ticketing, the Capitol Corridor is still included in Amtrak's timetable and is still a part of the "system."

That being said as more states move to situations like this Amtrak will have to bid aggressively to keep contracts.
I think the "Capitol Corridor Train" is the model to follow if they are going to move most of the operations away from Amtrak. Even though the "Capitol Corridor Train" has very minor Amtrak involvement, it is still branded as "Amtrak California" with ticket sales through Amtrak and you still earn AGR points. Any savings the state gets by giving the contract away from Amtrak would probably get eaten away by having to setup their own marketing and ticketing system.
 

Ryan

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I think I'll add a tall cool draft to go with the hot buttered popcorn!

If they think that they can have this up and running in 3 months (even 6 months) Ill have what they are smoking.

:wacko: :help: :giggle:
Yeah, this is going to be fascinating to sit back and watch play out. I've got little to no faith in the IN government to not screw this up.
 

edjbox

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Feb 7, 2014
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according to Trains Magazine, Amtrak engineers and conductors will still be used, new equipment (like Piedmont Service) and new maintenance. Probably will remain under Amtrak system (ticketing, rewards, etc)
 

Anderson

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Ok, deep breath...

If Corridor Capital is taking over the equipment supply and they're looking to run the Hi-Levels (which, if they're supplying equipment, is not a bad guess given that they've been trying to put those cars to good use for a while)...yeah, there are going to be a few days this fall or winter that I kill getting on that train. One thing to remember: Amtrak is probably charging something like $500k/yr for the use of those Horizons (I'm basing this guess off of what VA gets charged), and with daily operation that would likely go up. The "cost" for Corridor Capital to put the Hi-Levels into service for a hypothetical decade would likely be a steal next to that, especially if they're going to seriously look at going to twice-daily operation within a reasonable time horizon.
 

Bob Dylan

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I too will have a Large Diet Coke ( No Pepsi)and a Super Giant Bucket of Popcorn with Real Melted Butter and sit back and watch Indiana's Crack DOT and Politicians make a Keystone Cops Mess out of this!
 
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MikefromCrete

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Trains News Wire says that the service will start out with single level cars that are Amtrak certified and currently in private car service. The equipment will be similar to that used in North Carolina. Since Amtrak will apparently still be actually running the train, I'm not sure what is going to be saved by going to Corridor Capital, although some form of food service probably will be offered (and maybe some kind of parlor car/business class). It's interesting to note that several of the Corridor Capital officials are people who are long-time railfans/passenger train advocates, including some who formed the 20th Century Railroad Club back in the 1970's.
 
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afigg

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according to Trains Magazine, Amtrak engineers and conductors will still be used, new equipment (like Piedmont Service) and new maintenance. Probably will remain under Amtrak system (ticketing, rewards, etc)
The Trains Magazine News Wire report provides a lot of details on what Corridor Capital role will be for the Hoosier State service with some items yet to be determined. The News Wire report is behind a paywall for subscribers only, so I'm not posting a link. CorrCap will not be providing the Sante Fe hi-levels, but 5 single level cars which are certified for Amtrak operation.

Railplan International in Baltimore "is being hired as a subcontractor to retrofit luggage towers and modular bathrooms into the cars, “to make them fit for daily intercity operation and be responsible for maintenance,” Plous says."

The deal is not finalized as the 5 communities that are providing subsidy funding to the HS will have to agree to the new arrangement. In short, this contract with CorrCap is not replacing Amtrak as the operator, but so IN DOT can dump the Horizons in favor of alternate rolling stock which will be maintained by RailPlan rather than Amtrak's Chicago facility.

Also, "“We were selected based on our reputation and our sub-contractor’s reputation,” Plous says, “but costs are not settled yet.” Hmm.

The report ends on this note, which suggests to me that there may be a move to run the HS daily so it is completely separated from Cardinal operations.

"Of concern for both parties is the fact that as currently scheduled, the Cardinal arriving into Chicago Monday morning doesn’t leave the Windy City until Tuesday evening. This means that unless the Corridor Capital’s cars and locomotives operate in tandem with the Cardinal on those trips, they will be out of position to take the next run."
 

Anderson

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Nov 16, 2010
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I think Indiana does, in fact, want a daily train with a separate schedule. As it stands, the times in Indianapolis are awful, and the crew situation is a disaster. Remember, Amtrak reversed the crew base situation for this train, moving the base from one end to another, and it became an expensive mess (which is one thing that could generate savings: A different schedule that reduces crew costs). Likewise, an arrival time in Indianapolis sometime before almost midnight would almost assuredly help ridership.

I will still want to be on this train now that it is likely to have better service (and better equipment). I'd be rather surprised if CC doesn't seriously pursue either food service of some kind (at a bare minimum a refreshment cart, but probably at least a partial cafe) and/or wifi.
 
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