Monday, June 30, 2014

Indiana taps vendor for Hoosier State

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Indiana's Department of Transportation has selected Corridor Capital, LLC as its "preferred vendor" to manage and operate Amtrak's Hoosier State between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Indiana DOT and Corridor Capital "are now in discussions towards an agreement for a changeover in operations commencing October 1, 2014," a statement released by Corridor Capital said.

On its website, Chicago-based Corridor Capital describes itself as "a passenger-rail development company that assembles and integrates the multiple elements needed to provide a successful intercity passenger-train service."

Among those elements, the company asserts, “Corridor Capital owns or controls 50 of the finest railroad passenger cars ever built—a mix of double-deck stainless-steel coaches, dining cars and lounge cars built by the legendary Budd Co. of Philadelphia for the Santa Fe Railway’s finest passenger trains during the 1950s and 1960s.” But a spokesman for Corridor Capital told Railway Age late Monday, "The Hoosier State will run with typical streamliner-type single-level coaches that already are rebuilt and certified to run in Amtrak trains at speeds up to 110 mph.  These coaches will be leased from other owners."

Corridor Capital is an Associate Member of the Association of American Railroads, and also a partner of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission.

Amtrak's Hoosier State, which operates daily, is considered by many to be a poor performer within the national passenger rail network, with some blaming Amtrak for the train's weak showing, while others blame the state of Indiana for its lack of support, reflecting a state indifference to passenger rail in general.

The state became responsible for funding the Hoosier State at the start of federal fiscal year 2014, which began Oct. 2, 2013. Indiana was the last state in the nation to arrive at a deal to save the service on Oct. 15, 2013.  Had the train been terminated, residual tri-weekly service between Indianapolis and Chicago would have remained through Amtrak’s Cardinal, a long-distance train linking Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Indiana DOT named its "preferred vendor" June 24 from among four companies submitting to its Request for Proposals. Others included Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, Herzog Transit Services, Inc., and Travel Train Holdings, Inc.