INDOT, FRA Reportedly Reach Agreement

Trains magazine columnist Fred Frailey reported that the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration have reached an agreement that will end the standoff over whether the state should be treated as a “railroad” that must ensure adherence to federal passenger safety standards.

Frailey wrote that the two sides have agreed to create a memorandum of understanding that will spell out each party’s role in safely operating the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State.

The FRA wants an impermeable chain of responsibility for its rail-safety regulations — someone to ultimately answer for all the bits and pieces of a train’s operation. INDOT doesn’t want to be ruled to be a railroad.

The dispute has threatened to derail the quad-weekly Hoosier State, which INDOT and several communities served by the train have been funding since Oct. 1, 2013.

The Hoosier State operates on days that the Chicago-New York Cardinal does not operate and has intermediate stops in Indiana at Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer.

News reports have indicated that Amtrak will continue to provide operating personnel for the Hoosier State, but Iowa Pacific Holdings will provide equipment and marketing support.

INDOT had earlier said the Hoosier State would makes its last trips on April 1, then extended that to April 30, saying that the FRA would review its regulations and how they affect the state.

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