The Indiana Department of Transportation has received four proposals to provide services for the Hoosier State Amtrak route between Chicago and Indianapolis, the agency announced Monday.
Bidders include Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc., which operates specialty passenger railroads including the Pullman Rail Journeys between Chicago and New Orleans, The Times of Muster reported.
The other bidders were Corridor Capital LLC of Los Angeles; Railmark Holdings Inc. of Wixom, Mich.; and a partnership between Herzog Transit Services Inc. of Irving, Texas, and Passenger Transportation Specialists Inc. of Oklahoma City, Okla.
Amtrak previously submitted its own proposal for 2014-2015, INDOT said.
INDOT hopes to select a finalist by this summer and begin negotiations that could lead to a public-private partnership, agency spokesman Will Wingfield said. The state transportation department asked last month for proposals for services including operating the train route in its entirety or providing services such as Wi-Fi or food and beverage. The agency did not divulge the contents of the proposals.
The Hoosier State operates four days each week. Another Amtrak train operates on the same route three days per week and proceeds on from Indianapolis.
INDOT and seven local governments, including Indianapolis, are paying a $2.7 million subsidy to Amtrak to keep the Hoosier State running through this fall. That subsidy came about after the federal government ended support of Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles.
A group called the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance lobbied the Indiana Department of Transportation to support Amtrak’s Hoosier State line and continues to push for improvement of the state’s rail network, which they believe will boost ridership and in turn make trains a reliable means of transportation.