Chicago-Fort Wayne-Lima-Columbus Passenger Rail Study

December 21, 2016

The effort to return service to the Chicago-Fort Wayne-Lima-Columbus corridor took an important step forward on Monday. Local officials gathered at Baker Street Station in Fort Wayne to announce the next phase of planning.

The local communities have invested $350,000 to begin the Alternative Analysis and Public Input Process. This study will begin in early January 2017 and include preliminary engineering, service planning and measuring environmental impacts.

The Chicago-Fort Wayne-Lima-Columbus corridor would connect the diverse communities along the line with the rest of the Midwest network. The initial proposal is calling for service between 70-80 mph with a future upgrade to 110 mph.

This line is well positioned to be a high frequency trunk line with additional branches to places like Toledo, Dayton and Cleveland. If these tracks are upgraded for passenger rail service there is enough room to connect hundreds of communities to Chicago and the rest of the Midwest network.

Fast, frequent and dependable trains on this corridor would strengthen the region’s economic ties, promote growth and provide better access to international markets. A 2013 Business Plan estimated that 10 trains/day along this corridor would serve as many as 2 million annual travelers by 2020. The demand for this service is there and it is important that we push for the speeds and frequencies needed for the corridor to reach its’ full potential.

It is apparent that the communities along the line see the value of passenger rail service. They should be applauded for funding the study themselves in the absence of congressional leadership providing federal funding as they do for highways and airports. We are looking forward to working closely with the communities to build a coalition to gain federal funding for this and other critical Midwest corridors.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

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Last Week at MHSRA:

Our Executive Director Rick Harnish was in Fort Wayne for the press conference on Monday. It was great to see so much enthusiasm for passenger rail from representatives of the communities along the Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Passenger Line to Chicago Closer to Reality
"Ultimately, the service could link 100 Midwest cities with comfortable, dependable train service through a network of rail lines now being envisioned at the federal level."

CAHSRA Board Approves Plans to Unlock Billions in Bonds
"The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s board took a 'momentous' step Tuesday toward unlocking billions of dollars in state bond funds that it needs to continue construction in the San Joaquin Valley and on the San Francisco Peninsula."

USDOT Releases a Plain-Language Toolkit to Help Citizens Weigh in on Projects
“Think of this as everything you wanted to know about transportation planning, but were afraid to ask.”

Amtrak’s ‘Liberty’ will be the Latest of Alstom’s High-Speed Avelia Trains
See why the new Avelia Liberty trains will improve travel times on the NEC even before track upgrades are complete.

$43 Million New Niagara Falls Train Station Opens
"The station is a blend of new and old and contains the original 1863 Custom House. It has room for retail space and is looking for a vendor to run some food services."

FRA Recommends $120bn Investment in Northeast Corridor
"A 30-year programme of route modernisation, including four-tracking and some new alignment, has been recommended by the Federal Railroad Administration under its proposal to develop the Northeast Corridor linking Boston, New York and Washington DC.

Upcoming Events:

2017 MHSRA Annual Meeting

When: Saturday April 1, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:00pm (Check in will start at 8:30am)

Where: Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654

Cost: Single Ticket: $60.00
    Student Ticket: $20.00
    *Cost includes lunch

Register Here

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625