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Hoosier State schedule rescheduled to shed minutes from Chicago-Indianapolis run
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Hoosier State schedule rescheduled to shed minutes from Chicago-Indianapolis run

A faster schedule is in effect starting this month for the state-supported, Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State train.

As of May 1, the southbound Hoosier State is scheduled to depart earlier from its intermediate stops and arrive 11 minutes earlier into Indianapolis. The northbound Hoosier State  is scheduled to arrive five minutes earlier in Chicago.

The new schedule for the Hoosier State, which operates four days weekly, is also reflected in the schedule for Amtrak's Chicago-Washington, D.C.-New York City Cardinal. Together, the Hoosier State and the Cardinal provide daily service between Indianapolis and Chicago with intermediate stops at Dyer, Rensselaer, Lafayette and Crawfordsville. Previously-booked customers were notified of the changes.

Katie England, director of multimodal planning and programs at the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), said the schedule change was made by Amtrak to more accurately reflect the length of station stops and travel times.

“We looked at the schedule, we looked at how the train was operated last year, and Amtrak was comfortable taking some time off of the schedule,” she said.

Jim Brzezinski, Amtrak senior regional director of state corridors, said the schedule change was the result of a collaborative effort between Amtrak, INDOT and the route’s host railroad, CSX.

Amtrak and INDOT also announced continued growth in local ridership and revenue for the service between Indianapolis and Chicago. In April, 17,413 passengers rode the Hoosier State, 11.6 percent more than in April 2016, and 4.9 percent above what had been projected.

Ticket revenue in April was $585,524 – 16 percent above revenue in April 2016, and 7 percent above what had been projected.

The Hoosier State train transitioned to modern Amtrak railcars and locomotives on March 1. Both ridership and revenue rose in March and April, with ridership up double-digits in both months and revenue also up versus year ago levels. On-time performance has consistently been near 85 percent since October, and in March, the Hoosier State service had an on-time performance of more than 90 percent.

The Hoosier State is operated by Amtrak under contract with INDOT with a unique partnership of state and local funding. The Indiana General Assembly included $3 million per year for the Hoosier State in the two-year state budget, which was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb and begins July 1.

Amtrak employs more than 700 Indiana residents, including more than 500 at the railroad’s principal heavy maintenance facility in Beech Grove. The Hoosier State train is often used to bring railcars and locomotives to the plant southeast of Indianapolis and to take them to Chicago.

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