LAFAYETTE – The Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA) and the Rail Users’ Network (RUN), are hosting an all day meeting to discuss the public-private partnership that operates the Hoosier State railroad on Saturday, October 8, at the Big 4 Depot in Lafayette.
“Come and learn more about the nation’s only public-private partnership currently running intercity passenger rail service,” says Richard Rudolph, PhD and RUN chair. The meeting, which is free and open to the general public, begins at 9 a.m. at the Amtrak railroad station (200 North Street), next to the Wabash River and one block from the courthouse square, in downtown Lafayette.
This event supports RUN’s mission of working with local advocacy groups, and will give rail passengers and members of the general public an opportunity to learn more about the exciting partnership between Amtrak, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Iowa Pacific Holdings, and the cities of Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer, and West Lafayette plus Tippecanoe Co., Dr. Rudolph explained.
Funded by INDOT, the above four mentioned communities, and Tippecanoe Co., the 196-mile Hoosier State operates four times a week on days the Chicago-to-New York Cardinal does not operate. Amtrak provides the engineers, conductors, track access and sells and collects ticket revenue, while Iowa Pacific provides its own equipment, including locomotives, coaches and onboard service crews, while also marketing the train in Indiana and Illinois, continued Dr. Rudolph.
“Those who attend could ride an on-time Cardinal to and from the East that day. Attendees who will be driving will find free parking in the county garage at the corner of 2nd Street and Columbia,” said Phillip Streby, a member of both organizations who is the official local meeting host.
Traffic congestion will be lighter than normal for a fall Saturday, as neighboring Purdue University’s football team will be competing out-of-town, added Streby, who is arranging for a light continental breakfast of assorted pastries, fresh fruit, juices, and coffee.
Mayors from 12 Indiana communities have been invited to the event. Passenger rail advocates from Michigan and Ohio are expected to join a diverse group of RUN board members who live and work throughout the United States and Canada, Streby said.
Speakers are Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings; INDOT’s Will Wingfield; Arvid Olson, transportation chair of the Greater Lafayette Commerce, and IPRA President Steve Coxhead.
“The forum will provide Hoosiers with the chance to learn about their popular railroad as well as what is being done to improve passenger rail service across the country,” Dr. Rudolph said.
Indiana’s state-funded railroad is gaining acclaim across the nation. Ridership is up over a year ago August, when the partnership was launched. Revenues are also up by 14 percent. Hot meals are provided to business-class customers in the dome car and are available for purchase by coach passengers, he added.
For more information about the event, email Streby at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (765) 473-6561.