The company that will take over management of the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State is talking about making major improvements in the route, including the addition of Wi-Fi and a faster schedule. However, food service is not necessarily among the plans.
Fritz Plous, the director of communications for Corridor Capital, spoke of his company’s plans to improve the Hoosier State during a town hall discussion in Crawfordsville, Ind.
In the short term, Corridor Capital needs to boost ridership, which is now about 85 passengers a day aboard the quad-weekly train.
“We need to see it at double that,” said Plous said, adding that such amenities Wi-Fi and information screens could draw more passengers.
“That’s the first step towards legitimacy: Get people a nice, new train,” Plous said. But, “the funding has to be there.”
Another priority will be reducing the current running time of 5 hours and 10 minutes from Indianapolis to Chicago to about two hours less. Plous did not provide any details as to how that could be accomplished on the train’s circuitous route.
“We won the beauty contest,” Plous said. “We don’t know what mojo made INDOT choose us.”
The Indiana Department of Transportation chose Corridor Capital from among four bidders to improve manage the Hoosier State.
Tim Maloney of the Hoosier Environmental Council said that Indiana has $2 billion in reserves and can afford to fund the train.
“We have the money,” he said. “But it depends on what our priorities are.”
Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton urged community members to lobby elected officials to boost the train.
“At the end of the day, you have to have some quality of life that attracts residents to your community,” Barton said. “We all recognize that. Once a line is gone, it’s going to be difficult to get it back.”