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Amtrak to take over train line between Indianapolis, Chicago

Amtrack Train 822 arrives at the Amtrak station in Dyer, Indiana, in October 2014. | Sun-Times file photo

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Amtrak is expected to take over the Hoosier State train, which runs between Indianapolis and Chicago, on March 1.

The Indiana Department of Transportation announced on Monday its contract with Iowa Pacific Holdings would remain in effect only through February, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.

Iowa Pacific wrote on Facebook that it wasn’t able to provide equipment and services under the terms of its existing contract. Transportation department spokesman Will Wingfield said Iowa Pacific’s monetary needs were beyond what the department had budgeted.

“It should be said we signed contracts in good faith with Iowa Pacific that was through the end of June, and then they came to us and said they were unable to continue under those contracts,” Wingfield said.

The contract also included the option of a four-year extension.

Iowa Pacific has operated the Hoosier State train since July 2015. It increased ridership on the line by introducing a host of amenities, including an on-board chef, Wi-Fi and dome-car seating. But on numerous occasions, the train arrived at its destination hours late, and sometimes not at all.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the biggest change is that Amtrak’s equipment will run on the Hoosier State line, not Iowa Pacific’s.

“We want it to be seamless, and we don’t want any disruptions in operations,” he said.

The Hoosier State runs four days per week with stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer. Amtrak’s long-distance Cardinal train makes those stops the other three days per week.