It was a full house in the at the Allen County Public Library as roughly 200 people attended a presentation put on by Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association, or NIPRA, which has been pushing for passenger rail through Fort Wayne for years, as they continue to make progress, consulting firm HNTB is helping them work towards receiving federal funding. Geoff Paddock, Councilman of Fort Wayne’s 5th District, adds, “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.”
The proposed route would stretch from Columbus to Chicago with several stops in Indiana, including Fort Wayne, where efforts would be made to put Baker Street Station back into service. The overall goal is to offer an alternative to travel in the region, and offer connections to 100 other cities in the Midwest.
This would also help bring people to Fort Wayne something that Fort Wayne Resident Scott Pressler is happy about, “It’s just another thing that’s positive that’s happening especially in the downtown area, that would bring people to the city and allow us to travel in the Midwest, especially to Chicago, in a different way that might be easier for us and I’m excited about it.”
The passenger rail would travel at a maximum speed of 79 mph, with other Indiana stops in Warsaw, Valparaiso and Gary. Caron Kloser, the project manager with HNTB, thinks that this offers a realistic option for those traveling within the region, “Right now people are very auto dependent, there’s really not a lot of options besides auto, limited bus service and limited air service. So the train would provide an alternative, that is very viable and competitive to with auto travel”
They are currently near the the midway point in the process, but right now if everything else goes smoothly there could be passenger rail service back in Fort Wayne between 2026 and 2030.
You can find more information about the future of passenger rail in Fort Wayne by clicking here.