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Ticket revenue increases for train from Chicago to Indianapolis

Revenue is up in the year since a deal was reached for a private company to operate Amtrak's Hoosier State rail line between Chicago and Indianpolis. Amtrak still operates the Cardinal long-distance train along the same route, continuing to Washington, D.C. | Sun-Times file photo

INDIANAPOLIS — Ticket sale revenues have increased by 14 percent in the year since the Hoosier State passenger train from Indianapolis to Chicago changed ownership and management a year ago.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Wednesday is the first anniversary of the line’s three-year partnership among Amtrak, Iowa Pacific Holdings, the Indiana Department of Transportation and cities along the route.

With the agreement, Iowa Pacific provides and maintains the train cars, Amtrak operates them, and the cities and the transportation department chip in on annual funding.

Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis says the increase in ticket sales revenue comes despite a 12-percent decline in the number of passengers because of earlier uncertainty about the service’s viability. Revenue is up despite the dip in passengers, he said, because many travelers are choosing more expensive business class tickets and that coach tickets are slightly more expensive than they used to be. He noted that business class was not available until October.

A one-way coach ticket is $38; the $77 one-way business class ticket includes table seating and comes with food and beverages, including alcohol.

The Hoosier State operates between Chicago and Indianapolis, with four other Indiana stops en route. It leaves Chicago at 5:45 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Northbound trains from Indianapolis arrive at 10:05 a.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

On the days the Hoosier State does not run, a long-distance train, the Cardinal, runs the same route, continuing on to Washington, D.C., and New York. That train is still operated by Amtrak.

The recent rise in Hoosier State ticket sales includes a more than 65-percent increase in June from the prior year and 63 percent in July.

The Hoosier State line has added white-tablecloth dining service. | Iowa Pacific Holdings photo

The Hoosier State line has added white-tablecloth dining service. | Iowa Pacific Holdings photo