Amtrak’s Hoosier State Line made one final round trip between Indianapolis and Chicago Sunday before discontinuing service. For some on board, it was an emotional day.
“So sadly some people will be, have to relocate, on my workforce here in Indianapolis … and it’s one of the saddest parts of this change with the Hoosier State,” says conductor Kevin Burns on the final intercom announcement before the train pulled into Indianapolis’ Union Station.
With his 60th birthday that day, former conductor Phillip Streby was also on board the train during its final run. He says the number of passenger rail trips has been reduced all over the country and the Hoosier State is just the latest to fall.
“It’s a skeletal system at best, and this train it means that the skeleton got reduced even worse than it currently is,” says Streby.
This spring Gov. Eric Holcomb and lawmakers passed a new two-year state budget that removed the $3 million the state had paid to keep the service running. That budget went into effect July 1. Officials from cities along the line said they wanted the passenger rail service line to continue, but couldn’t pay for the service on their own.
In response to the line being removed from the budget, Amtrak announced back in April that ticket sales for the Hoosier State Line after June 30 would cease.
For some who had trips planned before the last day of operations was announced, they’re now left figuring out how to return home. Lafayette resident Janet Mayor has been riding the Hoosier State Line for about a decade. She purchased her ticket before it was certain the line would be discontinued.
Now she’ll have to find a new way home, including shortening her family visit and having her husband drive to pick her up from another station further away. Mayor worries losing the train also means losing some of her ability to travel.
“As I get older, my flexibility of going where I want to, when I want to, is curtailed and no senior likes to think of their life collapsing on them,” says Mayor.
She fears cancelling the Hoosier State line could negatively impact Purdue University, because the line stops in Lafayette.
“I think we’ll find that there’s gonna have to be; it could impact us economically,” says Mayor. “As we try and grow Lafayette into a more industrial, having more industry and so forth, those connections are gonna make a difference.”
Amtrak’s Cardinal will continue to run trains through Indiana three times a week on its route between New York City to Chicago.