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Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance Press Release

Outside Support for Continuation of the Hoosier State Line Comes from West Virginia Passenger Rail Advocacy Group

For immediate release: January 9, 2015

Charleston, West Virginia - A West Virginia passenger rail advocacy group has called on "all parties involved with the continuation of The Hoosier State to work carefully, completely, and above all quickly, to resolve any differences left outstanding so that there will be no disruption of service on The Hoosier State on February 1."

This West Virginia passenger advocacy group, officially known as Friends of the Cardinal, is notifying the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Amtrak (the National Passenger Railroad Corporation), the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA, a fellow passenger rail advocacy group), and riders of passenger trains of their concerns about The Hoosier State, a companion train to Amtrak Trains #50/51.

The Cardinal, Amtrak's long-distant train that connects Chicago with New York City via Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Charlottesville, VA, and Washington, D.C., operates three days a week over the same 196-mile stretch of tracks - when The Hoosier State is idle.

As has been widely reported, the Hoosier State is on a four-month extension of a one-year contract signed a year ago October by INDOT and communities served by the railroad. The agreement stipulates the parties will share in the approximate $3 million annual operating cost. The four-month extension ends January 31.

In its resolution adopted this month, the Friends of the Cardinal acknowledge a long series of negotiations between INDOT, Amtrak, and other interested parties over the last few years regarding the continuance and proper running of The Hoosier State.

Citizens of Indiana and IPRA are praised by the West Virginia group for "fostering a continued growth in ridership, continued expressions of official support for The Hoosier State, through participation in meetings, Town Halls, through making resolutions and many other appropriate forms of citizen participation in democratic decision-making."

IPRA announced in its monthly publication released Thursday that "INDOT's discussions are ongoing to obtain pricing from Amtrak." Quoting INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield, "INDOT's negotiations with Iowa Pacific (a private concern) have advanced to the point where the discussions with Amtrak are now on a critical path.

"Should contract negotiations with Amtrak not conclude before Jan. 31, then INDOT would discuss a short extension of the existing service," IPRA reports in All Aboard Indiana, the organzation's monthly publication distributed throughout Indiana.

For more information, contact Donald Yehle, IPRA Media Relations, 765-418-4097 (djyehle@gmail.com) or Steve Coxhead, IPRA president, 219-741-8053 (scoxhead@concast.net).

For Further Information:
Contact Donald Yehle, IPRA Media Relations, 765-418-4097 (djyehle@gmail.com) or Steve Coxhead, IPRA President, 219-741-8053 (scoxhead@comcast.net)