LAFAYETTE -- As he approaches one year in charge of the Hoosier State rail line, Iowa Pacific Holdings CEO Ed Ellis is announcing an ambitious goal for how many trains a day he’d like to see between Indianapolis and Chicago.
In May, for the first time since Iowa Pacific took the train over last August, ridership showed a year-over-year increase. Revenue is up, too, but the train is still a long way from profitability. But that didn’t stop Ellis from setting a high bar for what he hopes to accomplish.
“And everybody here is working together to try to figure out with Amtrak, with CSX, with the other railroads, with INDOT, and with Iowa Pacific, how to take the train that we have parked out here on this track – that beautiful brown and orange train – and replicate that about 15 times a day,” Ellis said.
A special train carried dignitaries from Indianapolis to Lafayette Thursday, including Ellis, Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson.
Hendrickson said ongoing funding for the train will be “part of the discussion” when INDOT makes its budget request next year, but she wouldn’t commit to seeking more money from the legislature for the train.