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Rail News: Amtrak

Iowa Pacific withdraws from Hoosier State Train service

Amtrak will take over the Hoosier State passenger-rail service from Iowa Pacific Holdings starting March 1, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced yesterday.

Iowa Pacific has operated the state train under an agreement with INDOT and Amtrak since July 2015. The railroad company "notified INDOT that it would soon be unable to continue providing passenger train equipment and onboard services under the terms of the existing contract," INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said in an email.

"INDOT and Iowa Pacific came to mutual agreement to transition the service between Feb. 28 and March 1," he said.

Ridership and revenue have exceeded Amtrak's projections for the Hoosier State, which operates between Indianapolis and Chicago, Wingfield said.

The service will transition to Amtrak rail cars, locomotives and onboard services starting March 1. Amtrak crews will continue to operate the service, Wingfield said. He told the Lafayette Journal & Courier that Iowa Pacific wanted more money than was budgeted under the contract.

"We are certainly grateful to INDOT for providing the opportunity to demonstrate that service enhancements can drive improvements in customer satisfaction, revenue and ridership, and we wish INDOT well as they transition to a different service model," said Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis in a prepared statement.

Iowa Pacific chose to end its involvement in the Hoosier State service because the company is "reducing marginal business units to focus on its core business," Ellis said in a subsequent email.

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More News from 1/31/2017