The Cause

The Benefits

The Organization

Ridership Increases, Business Growth Touted as Potential Cause and Effect

Two Studies Provide Encouraging View of Passenger Rail

Taking the train is becoming increasingly popular, and Indiana businesses stand to benefit according to two recent studies.

This month, the Brookings Institute published A New Alignment: Strengthening America's Commitment to Passenger Rail, analyzing train ridership and funding trends. Some highlights include:

In Indiana, between 1997 and 2012, the Indianapolis metropolitan area population grew 21%. During that same period, the report reveals that rail ridership grew a startling 195%.

In spite of this increase, the Hoosier State line, the 196-mile line between Indianapolis and Chicago, loses an average of $100 per rider (in 2011, the line ran a $4 million operational deficit for its 36,669 riders). There is definitely room for improvement in efficiency, but the ridership increase is a positive sign and is part of a national surge that we at the Indiana High Speed Rail Association believe is only just beginning.

Check out these numbers from around the Midwest:


Main cities served

Ridership change 1997-2012


Chicago, Carbondale


Hoosier State

Chicago, Indianapolis


Zephyr/Carl Sandburg

Chicago, Quincy


Lincoln Service

Chicago, St. Louis



Chicago, Milwaukee


Pere Marquette

Chicago, Grand Rapids


Blue Water

Chicago, E. Lansing, Port Huron



NYC, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago


Missouri River Runner

St. Louis, Kansas City



Chicago, Detroit


Lake Shore Ltd

Chicago, Cleveland, Albany, Boston, NYC


So who stands to benefit by the Midwest's increasing love for passenger rail (besides the riders themselves, of course)?

Indiana businesses, that's who.

The second report, issued last month by the Environmental Law & Policy Center, looked at Midwest companies tied to high speed rail manufacturing that would likely benefit by growth in that industry. The report identified 99 Indiana "supply chain" companies-companies that create the materials and component parts used in the American passenger rail industry. These are generally well paying, blue collar manufacturing companies that directly benefit when America invests in its rail infrastructure. One example highlighted in the report was Fort Wayne's Press-Seal Gasket Fastener Division, whose products help anchor rails to concrete ties.

We think these reports--and the trends they spotlight--indicate great things to come for all Hoosiers.

Content contributed by INHSRA member Chuck Switzer.