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
Status Operating
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, UP, BRC Metra, NS
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. The Iowa Pacific Railway furnishes rolling stock and on-board service personnel. Operation of the train is subsidized by Indiana.

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][page needed] 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][page needed]

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] 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.[4]

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.

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.[5][6] At a length of 196 miles (315 km), the Hoosier State is one of the routes affected by this provision of PRIIA. 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.[7][8]

Indiana sought alternatives to Amtrak operation and on June 24, 2014 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.[9] Amtrak continued to operate the train service under short-term contract extensions while the state considers alternative vendors.

On March 6, 2015, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced that the Hoosier State would discontinue service on April 1, 2015. The decision was made due to regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration that would require the state of Indiana to act as a rail carrier, despite the state owning no tracks or trains; that requirement would, according to INDOT, increase the cost to Indiana taxpayers for no additional benefit.[10][11] After Indiana appealed to the FRA, the train's operation was extended to April 30.[12] Amtrak continued to operate the Hoosier State under a short-term agreement while negotiations continued.[13] On August 2, 2015, the Hoosier State began running with Iowa Pacific equipment and on-board service personnel. The train is operated by Amtrak personnel and Amtrak provides ticketing.[14] Both companies are under contract to the INDOT.[15]

Route details[edit]

The Hoosier State operates over Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad, Metra, and Norfolk Southern trackage:

Train consist[edit]

The Hoosier State generally operates with Iowa Pacfic owned ex-Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Big Dome Summit View and two passenger cars, with power provided by a fleet of three ex-NJT GP40FH-2 diesel locomotives.[16] Prior to Iowa Pacific providing rolling stock, the Hoosier State operated with two coaches, generally Horizon equipment, but occasionally supplemented by Amfleet cars. Power was a General Electric Genesis P42DC locomotive. There were no food-service cars, and the train offered only coach-class service.[17]

Station stops[edit]

State/Province Town/City Station Connections
Indiana[18] 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[18] 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 1991
  3. ^ Sanders 2006, p. 215
  4. ^ Sanders 2006, p. 220
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Governor Pence Announces Agreement with Amtrak". State of Indiana, Department of Transportation (INDOT). 15 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Vizza, Chris Morrise (10 November 2014). "State ends negotiations with Amtrak alternative". Journal & Courier. 
  10. ^ "Amtrak's Hoosier State Line to end service April 1". WTHR. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Tuohy, John (6 March 2015). "State to end Amtrak's Hoosier State line". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Wilkins, Ron (13 March 2015). "Hoosier State line gets 30-day extension". Journal & Courier. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  13. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-amtrak-chicago-indianapolis-20150406-story.html
  14. ^ Johnston, Bob (31 July 2015). "'Hoosier State' Iowa Pacific Holdings takeover tentatively set for Aug. 2". Trains. Retrieved 14 August 2015.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ Vizza, Chris Morisse (2 August 2015). "Amtrak, state agreement on rail service pending". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  16. ^ Johnston, Bob (6 March 2015). "Indiana may challenge FRA decision; Iowa Pacific reveals planned ‘Hoosier State’ equipment". Trains. Retrieved 7 March 2015.  (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Cardinal / Hoosier State". Amtrak. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  18. ^ a b Cardinal and Hoosier State; New York and Chicago route Schedule; 2008


External links[edit]