Members of the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation will begin riding the Hoosier State on Nov. 27 and providing commentary about the territory served by the Chicago-Indianapolis train.
In a statement, APRH said it has worked with Amtrak and the NPS in providing interpretive services on Amtrak long-distance trains serving Illinois, Iowa and Missouri between 2012 and 2015.
APRHS has also provided commentary aboard private trains in six states.
“We are really excited to partner with both Iowa Pacific and the Indiana Department of Transportation to provide our services for passengers,” said APRHF Rail Rangers Executive Director Robert Tabern. “In addition to some light narration about the towns we pass through, our interpretive guides are going to have free route handout sheets for everyone and maps of Downtown Chicago.”
The Rail Rangers will board the Hoosier State in Lafayette, Indiana, and provide interpretive services until the train arrives in Chicago.
The Hilton Garden Inn and the Campus Inn in West Lafayette are providing lodging for the APRHF members.
Iowa Pacific Holdings President Ed Ellis became interested in working APRHF after experiencing commentary by its members during a June 2016 private rail excursion in Illinois.
As part of an agreement with Iowa Pacific, the APRHF Rail Rangers are releasing a 110-page route guidebook for the Chicago-Indianapolis route titled Riding the Hoosier Rails: A Route Guide From Indianapolis to Chicago.
The book includes information about communities along the Hoosier State route, the Monon and the equipment used by IP. Much of the route uses former Monon rails now owned by CSX.
Tabern said the Rail Rangers program is expected to operate at least twice a month for a trial period through March 26.