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City Board Learns of High-Speed Passenger Rail through Plymouth

January 15, 2014

  01/15/14 Members of the Plymouth Board of Public Works and Safety heard from the President of the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, Fred Lanahan.  Currently there are 15 members in the association representing many of the communities along the route from Chicago to Columbus. 

The high-speed rail which runs 110 m.p.h. starts in Chicago and goes through Gary,  Valparaiso, Plymouth, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Lima, Ohio and a couple other communities in Ohio before getting to Columbus.   Currently the association is raising funds for a tier 1environmental study.

Lanahan told the City Council it costs $.34a mile to ride the train. A ticket from Plymouth to Chicago in Business Class would cost $29.00 while the Economy class ticket is a 20% reduction at $23.00. 

Rich Davis, consultant for the association spoke about potential users and the economic impact the high speed rail will have. There are several Fortune 500 companies within a short distance of a stop on the route.  There are also 141 institutions of higher education within 25 miles of the rail heads along the route. 

Davis said Indiana needs to be positioned and prepared to do whatever is necessary to make passenger rail service a reality.  He continued Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio are well ahead of Indiana in this process and “now” is the time to make Indiana, especially northeast Indiana a leader in passenger rail development. 

The high speed rail would use existing railroad right-of-way using the ole Pennsylvania Rail line which runs right through town.  

Brent Martin asked about the daily number of train. He learned that the association projects 10 trains daily going each direction for a total of 20 trains.  It is anticipated that half of those trains would stop in Plymouth daily. 

The Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association projects 2 million passengers a year will use the rail system.   

3 Responses to “ City Board Learns of High-Speed Passenger Rail through Plymouth ”

  1. Thor on January 16, 2014 at 9:13 am

    If the estimated construction cost comes in on time (2020+) and budget (rarely ever happens as these things are sold with pie is the sky estimates)construction cost would be an optimistic $3B. That number does not take into account many associated costs.

    The county and state highway departments would be expected to provide the upgraded crossings. That would include new gates and their maintenance at every county road that crosses the tracks, the X-RR crossing signs won’t work for high speed rail. The likelihood is that there is no way local communities could afford this and many roads would just terminate at the tracks like they do for new highway construction.

    Their executive summary states that cost matching from local communities and investments by local businesses would be required.

    What this company is trying to sell right now is an Environmental Study for $2M, this initial investment provides no product just paper. They’ve already made $100k putting together a feasibility study and building some briefings. Good work if you can get it I suppose.

    The real fundraising remains in the future and according to some of the state politicians from other communities involved – there is, and will be, no money. NIPRA representatives have stated in a past meeting in Warsaw that “it’s going to be creative financing”.

    One of the other things that has been left up to future consideration is who is going to maintain and operate this once it’s been built. And that answer was that it would be up for bid, which also means those costs are not being represented.

    I’m sure the local economic impact and its ridership will rival that of AMTRAC. As will it’s achieved speeds once maintenance of the lines falls off. Most people don’t realize we could achieve 100mph with coal fired engines. The problem is generating enough revenue to justify maintaining the actual lines to those standards.

  2. Andrew on January 16, 2014 at 4:52 am


    That fast in Germany as well, but one important difference. The track configuration for those trains requires that section has a cement base (about 10″ thick) that the rails are embedded on (no wooden ties!)–and welded together, otherwise at that speed the trains derail. The cars themselves have also special hardware that adjusts the suspension automatically for curves so that they can be taken faster. However there is no such train here that does this via diesel — all electric, which could raise other issues. 100Mph is another matter however.

    The other important detail on those trains here is that there is usually an acoustic wall on both sides of the track in cities, which I am sure people would balk at. However if the train will stop in Plymouth, I am sure this won’t be needed.

    I would be skeptical if they could maintain that speed all the way through to Chicago given that I am certain sections of the track would need serious remediation.

  3. MikeB on January 15, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Sign me up for business class but, come on, trains in Japan travel T 200 mph!