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INDOT chooses Chicago firm for Amtrak line

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The Indiana Department of Transportation said Monday that it selected Corridor Capital LLC of Chicago to run the endangered Hoosier State passenger rail line from Indianapolis to Chicago.

Corridor Capital beat out proposals made earlier this year from three other companies.

It remains to be seen, however, what difference the firm will make in service and at what cost. INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said the state would not share the details of Corridor Capital's proposal until a contract is in place.

The contract is pending approval by communities along the Hoosier State route that pitched in last fall to keep the service going for another year. The communities, which include Indianapolis and Lafayette, would have to continue supporting the service.

Corridor Capital Chairman James Coston did not return a message seeking comment. The firm compares itself to a real estate developer because it assembles the necessary talent and resources for passenger service projects.

Under the state’s request for proposals, Corridor Capital would pick up where Amtrak left off with the Hoosier State, operating four times a week, but at an improved level of service, possibly with wi-fi access, food service and on-time performance.

Corridor beat out Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC, Herzog Transit Inc. and Travel Train Holdings Inc.

INDOT treated the selection process the same as if it were hiring a consultant, so it was not based on the lowest bid, Wingfield said. According to the scoring sheets released by INDOT, Corridor ranked high on its knowledge of passenger rail service; realistic nature of plans for improvement; realistic financing plan; plan to work with Amtrak, which did not respond to the RFP; and ability to work with freight railroads on rerouting the Hoosier State through the Chicago area.

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  • Focus on what's important
    Is there anyone other than me that would forgo wi-fi and food for more frequent service and trip time of 3 hours at the most? They're honing in on passenger rail amenities without even telling us how they're going to give passenger rail basics. For the business travelers, I get that wi-fi is necessary. But being able to leave Chicago at 8 am to reach a business luncheon in Indy on time at 12:30 pm is probably more important. I'm glad they found someone to take over the line. Now if someone would be willing to take over Indianapolis Union Station and I don't know, maybe turn it back into the union station it used to be when it was servicing frequent trains, then we'd have a lot more to be excited about.
  • High Speed Rail Already
    This should be part of a regionally integrated high speed rail line, but it's not. The rest of the world seems to be moving Rail into the 21st Century except the United States. If you look into the origins of the expansion of Highways and Auto-domination in the mid 20th Century you will see the movement essentially killed passenger rail travel. It wasn't economics as much as it was a methodical gutting of a very viable system and we are looking at it's skeleton. High Speed Rail should be on the table. Chicago / Indy / Cincy / Louisville / Detroit / St Louis / Cleveland / Columbus all connected by a Main Line or offshoots. The Main Line connected to an East Coast system for starters and then branching to the South and South Central Regions. The rail bed/map is there, but the politics and lobbyists will be a major obstacle for years to come.

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