Well, well, well, what do we have here? A passenger rail connecting Chicago and Columbus?
In addition to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission working to sway Virgin HyperLoop One into a route that would get you from Columbus to Chicago in under 30 minutes and to Pittsburgh in under 20, the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA) is pushing for a passenger rail from Chicago to Fort Wayne to Columbus.
The 79 mph train route would stretch from Columbus to Chicago with several stops in Indiana, including Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Valparaiso, and Gary.
The idea would be to put Baker Street Station, an old whistle stop in Fort Wayne that closed in the 90s and is now being used as a banquet hall, back into service.
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Eventually, the initiative aims to link nine states with a passenger rail network.
The project’s website lists a host of potential benefits including fare revenues of $116 million per year by 2020, 26,800 full-time jobs for 30 years, decreased energy consumption, reduced accidents, less traffic congestion and time wasted among many others.
NIPRA has been jockeying for federal funding to help get this project off the ground and on the tracks for years.
“We are doing all the necessary things, all the steps that are required by the federal government to say, let’s make the upgrades now, from Chicago to Fort Wayne to Columbus, so that 1/3rd of the population of Indiana can enjoy passenger train service,” said Geoff Paddock, Councilman of Fort Wayne’s 5th District, according to wane.com.
If the project stays on track (pun intended), there could be a passenger rail service between 2026 and 2030.
You can find more information about the future of passenger rail in Fort Wayne by clicking here.