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Indiana proposed budget zeros out Hoosier State funding

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ruck

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The budget cuts a $3 million annual subsidy for the Hoosier State Train. The future of the train has been unclear for years due to its many challenges, including slow speeds and infrequency. 

In 2017, Amtrak took over operation of the train from Iowa Pacific Holdings, which wanted a larger subsidy.

If approved, the state money would run out June 30, putting its future more in question. The train is funded by INDOT, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Crawfordsville and Rensselaer. 
-from the Indianapolis Star

As someone on the route who uses it, it would be a shame to see it go. What that train really needs is someone with vision to see how the route could benefit all the communities and the power to get funding from the state for increased frequencies.
 

VTTrain

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The article lists slow speeds as a challenge.  I'm not sure how often the train runs on time, but the timetable times suggest an average speed for the northbound train of 49 miles per hour.  That's nothing to brag about, but it's better than I was expecting based on the article.

However, things change when you look at the southbound train.  The average speed for the southbound train is 33.2 miles per hour.
 

keelhauled

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The article lists slow speeds as a challenge.  I'm not sure how often the train runs on time, but the timetable times suggest an average speed for the northbound train of 49 miles per hour.  That's nothing to brag about, but it's better than I was expecting based on the article.

However, things change when you look at the southbound train.  The average speed for the southbound train is 33.2 miles per hour.
I believe you have failed to take into account the crossing of time zones.  The trip is scheduled for about five hours each way, or about 39 mph.
 

VTTrain

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I believe you have failed to take into account the crossing of time zones.  The trip is scheduled for about five hours each way, or about 39 mph.
Ah... that explains it.  

As much as I hate to see routes being cut, and average speed of 39 mph is just not going to attract many people.
 

Bierboy

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This, however, is far from certain. The last sentence in the Amtrak portion of the story... "House and Senate Republican leaders said they planned to talk over whether to continue funding the train as the session progresses."
 

Anthony V

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The need to keep this train running long enough to see if it's performance will improve when the 75th St CREATE project in Chicago is completed. If performance is improved following that project's completion, the train will still be around to see the potential ridership gains stemming from these improvements in Chicago. In addition, the train needs a daily schedule independent of the Cardinal and needs to be extended to either Cincinnati or Louisville and Nashville.
 

Seaboard92

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Honestly I would rather see a private operator take over it again because It's time we start talking about improving our rail system and not maintaining the status quo. Amtrak has been pretty crappy for the last several years especially the Hoosier State.

So what I would like to see in the reauthorization bill is language that guarantees that all of the long distance routes be maintained. But eliminates Amtrak's funding and let's the private sector bid on the various routes.

That would give incentive for the various bidders to provide better equipment, better on board service, better frequencies. And all of that would be better for the passenger.

But I do believe that the current network should be preserved, just not Amtrak. Amtrak is managed horribly and I think it's time we put the passengers and crews out of their misery by eliminating it.

Of course we will have to figure out ticketing, union agreements, and other things. I used to be Amtrak's staunchest supporter but now I'm fed up with the food service cuts, the agent cuts, the PV cuts especially, and the death by a thousand cuts our trains are getting. So let's save the trains and dump Amtrak.
 

looshi

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I think this might be the year the Hoosier State is finally taken out behind the shed and put down. Amtrak has proven that they can get equipment to Beech Grove on the Cardinal, so they aren't going to be in the mood to deal, and the current train is a real poor setup. Unless INDOT plans to invest in the route long-term, and there has been no indication over the last few years that they have any interest, there's no sense paying Amtrak's crazy allocated costs for 4 days a week in perpetuity. Indianapolis and Lafayette can deal with the same crap 3 per week service as Cincinnati.
 

John Bobinyec

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Honestly I would rather see a private operator take over it again because It's time we start talking about improving our rail system and not maintaining the status quo. Amtrak has been pretty crappy for the last several years especially the Hoosier State.

So what I would like to see in the reauthorization bill is language that guarantees that all of the long distance routes be maintained. But eliminates Amtrak's funding and let's the private sector bid on the various routes.

That would give incentive for the various bidders to provide better equipment, better on board service, better frequencies. And all of that would be better for the passenger.

But I do believe that the current network should be preserved, just not Amtrak. Amtrak is managed horribly and I think it's time we put the passengers and crews out of their misery by eliminating it.

Of course we will have to figure out ticketing, union agreements, and other things. I used to be Amtrak's staunchest supporter but now I'm fed up with the food service cuts, the agent cuts, the PV cuts especially, and the death by a thousand cuts our trains are getting. So let's save the trains and dump Amtrak.
I would suggest the NC model for Indiana DOT:

  • Buy your own equipment
  • Contract out the maintenance on your own
  • Own the track (this is not likely, but NC is extremely fortunate)
  • Work out your own schedules
  • Contract out with Amtrak to run the trains and do the ticketing/reservations.
jb
 

neroden

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Indiana remains ruled by car-promoting politicians.  Unfortunately I don't see it being fixed any time soon.  It's a pity it's located between Ohio and Illinois.
 

neroden

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Oh, CSX would sell most of the route from Indianapolis to Chicago; they don't really use it, which is why it's deteriorated and the speed limit has dropped.

The problem is lack of interest by the car-centric Indiana legislature and governor.  If this were Massachusetts they would have bought it already.
 

Thirdrail7

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Honestly I would rather see a private operator take over it again because It's time we start talking about improving our rail system and not maintaining the status quo. Amtrak has been pretty crappy for the last several years especially the Hoosier State.
 
Iowa Pacific did a great job improving things like the schedules, on time performance, connectivity and maintenance when they operated it, so why no................hey! Wait a minute. they did nothing of the sort...and they only had one line!

So what I would like to see in the reauthorization bill is language that guarantees that all of the long distance routes be maintained. But eliminates Amtrak's funding and let's the private sector bid on the various routes.
 
Sounds like some of the language of PRIIA, which solicited bid fror the private sector to take over three routes at 90% of the subsidy. I think  the delay is awarding a contract is due to the fact they are still go through the thousands of bids they received to take over service that the private sector turned their back on because they couldn't make a profit.

Oh..wait. that's wrong too. Turns out no one has made a bid for the long distance service yet.

That would give incentive for the various bidders to provide better equipment, better on board service, better frequencies. And all of that would be better for the passenger.
All on the freight railroad's schedule, tracks and maintenance schedule. I can't wait for CSX to call one of these mythical entities you're envisioning operating a train and telling them "your train is canceled for the next week. Don't try to protest because we own everything you need to get up and down the east coast to Florida."

The bright side is this new operator will have full liability for any incidents that occurs. I'm suuure that is a great incentive for a start up.

But I do believe that the current network should be preserved, just not Amtrak. Amtrak is managed horribly and I think it's time we put the passengers and crews out of their misery by eliminating it.

Of course we will have to figure out ticketing, union agreements, and other things. I used to be Amtrak's staunchest supporter but now I'm fed up with the food service cuts, the agent cuts, the PV cuts especially, and the death by a thousand cuts our trains are getting. So let's save the trains and dump Amtrak. 
I'm sure a private enterprise would love to tackle all of this. It is a mystery that Amtrak was formed. Passenger rail was doing so well before Amtrak.  Of course, you could always lobby to FUND it and that means actually money for equipment, routes, training, incentives to the hosts and making the job attractive so that railroaders would want to remain involved with it and it might be managed....like a railroad.

Nah.....Maybe Virgin will take over part of it. Then, you can have another airline group saying "what's this about private cars wanting to pick ups in the middle on nowhere?"
 
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tonijustine

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I live midway between Indy and Crawfordsville and the fact that it takes 5 hours for a drive that would take 3:15 to get to the same place is a killer. Though the schedule is great for a Chicago day trip, it really stinks for everything else. I have contemplated driving up to Michigan City or thereabouts and taking the South Shore in to Chicago instead and it’s sad that that can truly be an option.
 

Thirdrail7

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, ci

I live midway between Indy and Crawfordsville and the fact that it takes 5 hours for a drive that would take 3:15 to get to the same place is a killer
It certainly doesn't help that it takes an hour to travel from Chi to the first stop, which is 29 miles away. I suppose things have gotten better. After all, it used to take an hour and fifteen minutes. If memory serves, it travel on 4 different railroads between CHI-DYE, correct?
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Yes the barriers for a new passenger train operator is high.  Yet Amtrak keeps losing contracts, something about there lovely personality it seems.

The whole were the only game in town thing is proving wrong. Sure new operating companies are struggling but given time...

I do wonder how much longer Amtrak will be running on the inland line in Connecticut?

New York State?

Washington State?

California?

To say Seaboard ideas are dead on arrival is very premature.
 

Thirdrail7

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Yes the barriers for a new passenger train operator is high.  Yet Amtrak keeps losing contracts, something about there lovely personality it seems.

The whole were the only game in town thing is proving wrong. Sure new operating companies are struggling but given time...

I do wonder how much longer Amtrak will be running on the inland line in Connecticut?

New York State?

Washington State?

California?

To say Seaboard ideas are dead on arrival is very premature.
Notice where new operators are providing service: State Supported services. There is a big difference between state supported services 9which generally have their costs covered and receive a subsidy) and long distance service, which require the cooperation of multiple entities and states.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Yes there is a big difference, but to say it not doable at some point?  Crappy service is not limited to the Hoosier State.

Keep annoying the politicians and see what happens. 
 

jis

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Anything is possible, specially given infinite time. We are just talking probabilities in say a time window of ten years. Maybe it will happen someday. Then again maybe the US will split into two or more countries some day too. [emoji57]
 

Just-Thinking-51

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One thinks the backorder of rail cars is not 10 years. <_<

Goverment can move when it needs to.

#FreeTexas
 
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Thirdrail7

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Keep annoying the politicians and see what happens. 
Can you remind us of the prosperity, system expansion (not state extensions) and equipment stockpiling  Amtrak had when the politicians weren't annoyed?

Amtrak's general existence has annoyed politicians for years, including attempts to slash its funding, eliminate its funding and contract with other entities to operate portions of the system
 
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Amtrak706

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Can you remind us of the prosperity, system expansion (not state extensions) and equipment stockpiling  Amtrak had when the politicians weren't annoyed?

Amtrak's general existence has annoyed politicians for years, including attempts to slash its funding, eliminate its funding and contract with other entities to operate portions of the system
I think this did actually happen during the Claytor years. There was expansion, new equipment, and service quality improvements completely in spite of a very conservative and anti-Amtrak government.

Amtrak today somehow has what seems to be actual support (and record funding) from Congress. But we have Anderson and Gardner, so cost cutting, careless disposal of institutional knowledge, pointless wheel-reinvention, and all kinds of other mismanagement is the name of the game.
 
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