The Indiana Department of Transportation has selected Corridor Capital LLC as the preferred vendor to manage and operate a passenger rail route between Chicago and Indianapolis.
The Chicago-based passenger rail development company would take over the service on Oct. 1. Currently, Amtrak operates the quad-weekly Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State over the route along with the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal. The trains do not operate between Chicago and Indianapolis on the same days.
Last fall the Indiana Department of Transportation along with local governments based in communities served by the Hoosier State agreed to provide funding to keep the train rolling for another year.
Earlier this year, InDOT issued a request for proposals to take over the service. INDOT officials said that proposals were submitted by Corridor Capital, Herzog Transit Services and Passenger Transportation Specialists, Iowa Pacific Holdings, and Railmark Holdings. Amtrak also submitted a proposal.
Corridor Capital is now in discussions with InDOT and the online communities about taking over the Hoosier State. Once Corridor Capital takes over, the train is expected to continue to operate with Amtrak conductors and engineers. Corridor Capital will provide equipment and maintenance.
Still being negotiated are such details as costs, ticket pricing, café car service, and business class amenities. The Hoosier State would use some of the 50 former Santa Fe Hi-Level equipment owned or controlled by Corridor Capital.
“We’re working together to open this up to competition to hopefully develop a plan and seek out innovations that will allow this service to improve and be more financially self sustaining,” said InDOT spokesman Will Wingfield.
Trains magazine reported that Corridor Capital plans to hire Railplan International, a Baltimore-based designer of modular interiors, to retrofit luggage towers and modular bathrooms “to make them fit for daily intercity operation and be responsible for maintenance.”
Railplan holds maintenance contracts for commuter services Virginia Railway Express and MARC in the Washington, D.C., area, and recently took over maintenance of North Carolina’s intercity passenger trains.
Founded in 2005, on its website, 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.
“The company owns uniform passenger rolling stock and commands the professional skills of several dozen veteran passenger-train professionals, including civil and mechanical engineers, passenger-car and locomotive builders, station and terminal managers, locomotive and car maintenance specialists, planners, financiers, information technologists, travel-marketing and ticketing specialists and contractors providing on-board food, beverage and hospitality services.
“At Corridor Capital, the train-and-travel package once delivered by a multitude of individual railroad companies has been reinvented and reassembled by a professional passenger-rail development company. Just as a real-estate developer brings architects, engineers, planners, lawyers and financiers together to create a new office, residential or commercial project, Corridor Capital brings its own agile cadre of specialists together to create the ‘project’ America is waiting for: successful passenger trains.”
More information about Corridor Capital is available at its website at http://ccrail.com