Hoosier State (train)

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Hoosier State
Amtrak's friday Hoosier State.jpg
The Hoosier State northbound in Indiana in 2011.
Service type Inter-city rail
First service 1 October 1980
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Ridership 119 per train
37,249 total (FY11)[1]
Start Chicago
Stops 4
End Indianapolis
Distance travelled 196 miles (315 km)
Service frequency Quad-weekly
Train number(s) 850/851
Track owner(s) CSXT, CN, UP, Metra
Route map
0 mi Chicago
Illinois/Indiana border
29 mi 
47 km 
75 mi 
121 km 
122 mi 
196 km 
149 mi 
240 km 
196 mi 
315 km 

The Hoosier State is an Amtrak passenger train that provides service on a 196-mile (315 km) route from Chicago to Indianapolis. It runs on the four days each week that the Cardinal does not run (departs Chicago Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; departs Indianapolis Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday). This gives the Chicago-to-Indianapolis market daily rail service.

During fiscal year (FY) 2011, the Hoosier State carried approximately 37,000 passengers, a 10.9% increase over FY2010. During FY2011, the train had a total revenue of $836,057, an increase of 5% over FY2010.[1]


Prior to Amtrak, the Chicago-Indianapolis market was served by several daily trains, the Pennsylvania Railroad's South Wind and Kentuckian, and the New York Central's James Whitcomb Riley, Indianapolis Special, and Sycamore. With the creation of Amtrak, riders between the Hoosier State's capital and the Windy City were served by the South Wind and the George Washington/James Whitcomb Riley.[2] However, with Penn Central's financial instability, track maintenance was rare, and Amtrak shifted both trains to other routes through Indiana, leaving Indianapolis to be served by the National Limited, which ran between New York and Kansas City.

The National Limited's discontinuance in 1979 severed Indianapolis from the national rail network, and isolated Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops in the Indianapolis suburb of Beech Grove. The passenger carrier had been using the National Limited to ferry railroad cars to and from its shops; it was forced to run special trains to Indianapolis instead.[2]

The Hoosier State entered service on October 1, 1980. On April 27, 1986, the Cardinal was rerouted to use the same tracks as the Hoosier State between Chicago and Indianapolis, and began running on days the Cardinal did not operate. The Hoosier State was restored to daily operation on a separate schedule from the Cardinal on October 25, 1987.[3]:215 But funding cuts led to its discontinuance on September 8, 1995 while the Cardinal continued tri-weekly operation between Chicago, Indianapolis and the East Coast. Amtrak restored the Hoosier State on July 19, 1998, as a tri-, later quad-weekly train.[3]:220

From December 17, 1999, to July 4, 2003, the Hoosier State was extended south from Indianapolis to Louisville, Kentucky, and renamed the Kentucky Cardinal. After the discontinuance of the Kentucky Cardinal the Hoosier State returned to operating four days a week in tandem with the Cardinal.

Potential discontinuance[edit]

On October 16, 2008, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) was signed into law which required the operating and capital costs of providing intercity rail passenger service on Amtrak routes of not more than 750 miles, be born by the affected state or states within five years.[4][5] At a length of 196 miles (315 km), the Hoosier State is one of the routes affected by this provision of PRIIA.

In May 2013, the Indiana legislature handed funding responsibility of the train to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). INDOT funded a cost benefit analysis to analyze the impacts of discontinuing the service, maintaining the service, or improving the service that was released in September 2013. Indiana Governor Mike Pence authorized the agency to begin negotiations with local partners in mid-September 2013.[6]

Communities along the route, as well as other Indiana communities benefiting from Amtrak service, formed a coalition using social media called Hoosiers for the Hoosier State to advocate for saving the train and potentially growing the service, supported by the National Association of Railroad Passengers.[7][8]

The State of Indiana became responsible for funding the Hoosier State beginning on October 1, 2013. Faced with termination of a service that would have left Chicago to Indianapolis with tri-weekly train service, state and local officials arrived at a deal to share the US$3,000,000 annual cost of the service, becoming the last state in the nation to arrive at a deal to save its short-distance train line on October 15, 2013.[9][10]

On June 24, 2014, the Indiana Department of Transportation selected Corridor Capitol, a Chicago-based rail passenger services development company, as its preferred vendor to manage and operate the service. Planning was underway for the company to take over the service as early as October 1, 2014, however Corridor Capitol did not meet that deadline and Indiana DOT discontinued negotiations with the company in November 2014.[11] Amtrak continues to operate the train service under short-term contract extensions while the state considers alternative vendors.

Route details[edit]

The Hoosier State operates over Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Canadian National Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Metra trackage:

Train consist[edit]

The Hoosier State generally operates with two coaches, generally Horizon equipment, but occasionally supplemented by Amfleet cars. Power is a General Electric Genesis P42DC locomotive. There are no food-service cars because the train offers only coach-class service.[12][13] However, the train often carries cars to and from Amtrak's repair facility at Beech Grove.

Station stops[edit]

State/Province Town/City Station Connections
Indiana[14] Indianapolis Indianapolis Amtrak: Thruway Motorcoach to Champaign, Illinois, Danville, Illinois, Davenport, Iowa, Galesburg, Illinois, Greater Peoria Regional Airport in Peoria, Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Moline, Illinois, and Normal, Illinois
Crawfordsville Crawfordsville none
Lafayette Lafayette Greyhound
CityBus: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3B, 4A, 4B, 6A, 6B, 7
Rensselaer Rensselaer none
Dyer Dyer none
Illinois[14] Chicago Chicago Union Station Amtrak: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illini, Illinois Zephyr, Lake Shore Limited, Lincoln Service, Pere Marquette, Saluki, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine, Thruway Motorcoach to Louisville, Kentucky, Madison, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois
CTA: 14, 19, 20, X20, 38, 56, 60, 120, 122, 124, 127, 129, 157
Metra: BNSF Railway, HC, MD-N, MD-W, NCS, SWS


  1. ^ a b "Amtrak Ridership Rolls Up Best-Ever Records" (PDF). Amtrak. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Schafer, Mike (1991). All Aboard Amtrak. Piscataway, NJ: Railpace Publishing.
  3. ^ a b Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34705-X. OCLC 61499942. 
  4. ^ "Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (P. L. 110-432, Division B) 122 Stat. 4907". Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. 16 October 2008. p. 122. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Federal Railroad Administration Overview, Highlights and Summary of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA)" (PDF). Federal Railroad Administration. 10 March 2009. p. 2. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Amtrak Hoosier State". State of Indiana, Department of Transportation. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Hoosiers for the Hoosier State Train" (PDF). National Association of Passenger Rail. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Save the Hoosier State, retrieved 19 October 2013 
  9. ^ Ryckaert, Vic (24 September 2013). "State hashing out plan to save daily Amtrak trains from Indianapolis to Chicago". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Governor Pence Announces Agreement with Amtrak". State of Indiana, Department of Transportation (INDOT). 15 October 2013. 
  11. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/news/local/indiana/2014/11/08/indot-ends-amtrak-negotiations/18734111/
  12. ^ "HOOSIER STATE". TrainWeb. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Cardinal / Hoosier State". Amtrak. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Cardinal and Hoosier State; New York and Chicago route Schedule; 2008

External links[edit]