LAFAYETTE – From a perch on the walkway that connects Riehle Plaza with the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge, Joe Krause knows the sound of Amtrak’s Hoosier State pulling into downtown Lafayette.

A whistle at a Shadeland crossing five miles from the Big Four Depot will be followed shortly in Tuesday’s dawn by one on Wabash Avenue, just a mile away.

“I used to carry a radio, but it got too heavy,” said Krause, a retired West Lafayette High School teacher who has been greeting Amtrak trains, including the Hoosier State line on its way from Indianapolis to Chicago, as a volunteer most mornings since 2000. “The whistle tells me what I need to know.”

From Krause’s vantage point on the pedestrian overpass, he can see Julius Walker, a retired postal carrier and fellow Amtrak volunteer for the past five years, who has ushered 26 passengers from a depot lobby to the platform on the other side of the tracks in time for the Hoosier State to pull in. (“OK, everybody,” Walker said holding the door, “let’s go catch a train.”)

Krause says his station, up high, gives him a clear view of the Myers Pedestrian Bridge, the depot parking lot and the corner of Second and Main streets, all of which could produce what he calls “runners” trying to make in on board by the 7:36 a.m. departure. He’s got two runners on this Tuesday morning.

“You’ve got four minutes,” Walker hollered up to Krause, as the rest of the passengers boarded. “They’re going to be fine.”

"And they were,” Krause said, as the train pulled out of the station, on its way to Rensselaer, Dyer and then to Chicago.

How much longer, though?

That’s a ripe question for Krause, who has been watching that Indiana General Assembly closely in recent weeks, after Gov. Eric Holcomb said in January he was ready to pull a $3 million a year from the state’s next two-year budget for the four-day-a-week Hoosier State line.

The Indiana House budget that followed didn’t include money for the Hoosier State. (That includes a specific rejection of an amendment offered in February by state Rep. Chris Campbell, D-West Lafayette, to fund the Hoosier State.) And, so far, there have been no signs that Indiana Senate budget-makers are ready to feed that $6 million to the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Hoosier State line item, either.

Without that cash, the Hoosier State is scheduled to stop June 30.

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