FORT WAYNE — It’s a chance to go from Fort Wayne to Chicago quicker.
The Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association wants to build a passenger rail line that would have stations in Warsaw, Plymouth and Valparaiso.
The plans are still early on but they have some locations in mind.
The old train station in Plymouth that could be the site of a new station, but it’s not set in stone.
That’s what tonight’s (Wednesday) meeting was all about: getting input on what people in the four cities along the line want to see.
Getting from Warsaw to Chicago without driving? There are not as many options as you might think.
“It provides a very competitive travel time with autos,” said Caron Kloser. “It provides an option for people who choose not to drive or can’t drive.”
Project manager Caron Kloser says adding a high-speed passenger train would help bring in more people to the area.
“Many of these communities see this project as a catalyst for their ongoing economic development,” said Kloser.
She says it’s still very early in the planning.
Tim Smith is all for the train coming to Warsaw.
“It’s a great idea,” said Smith. “South Bend is the nearest option, so for us, driving is horrible. It makes perfect sense.”
The project would use some old tracks but would need to build new infrastructure to share the lines with freight trains.
“New track, new sidings and other infrastructure that allows the movements to operate more efficiently and effectively,” said Kloser.
Right now, there are three options for the train: two round trips a day at 79mph, four round trips at 79mph or four round trips at 110mph
The price to build the line would run between $900 million to $1.2 billion, depending on which option is picked.
NIPRA President Richard Juram says the four-round trip at 79mph makes the most sense.
“If you were taking a trip to Denver or California or something, you want to go 110 if you can,” said Juram. “Here, it’s such a short corridor, so 79 is fine. You save money on investment and can use that money to maybe even provide more trips. Maybe you can go to six round trips.”
“I’d love to see the 110,” said Smith. “Speed is great, so I’d like to see a shortened trip.”
Looking at the numbers, if you were to leave here in Plymouth and go to Chicago, it would take about an hour and a half to make all the stops going 79 mph.
That would be 20 mins faster for the 110 mph option but would cost another $300,000.
It’ll be up to the public and project managers to see if that is worth saving 20 minutes while they continue looking for federal, state and local funding.