LAFAYETTE – Could 15 minutes buy another two years for Amtrak’s Hoosier State, a passenger rail line that comes through Lafayette four days a week?

With time running out at the Indiana Statehouse, where in $3 million in annual state funding for the Hoosier State was stripped from the next two-year budget bill, Amtrak announced Thursday it had found a way to cut 15 minutes from what is now advertised as a five-hour route from Indianapolis to Chicago.

Starting in April, the Hoosier State will depart roughly 15 minutes earlier than its 7:36 a.m. time in downtown Lafayette and get back to the Big Four Depot about 15 minutes earlier than the 9:42 p.m. schedule now, Marc Magliari, Amtrak’s spokesman, said Thursday. The exact schedule for stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer was still being finalized, he said.

Magliari said the time savings, meant to draw riders, came through negotiations with CSX, the freight rail company that owns the tracks on the Hoosier State route in Indiana. He said Amtrak was having similar conversations regarding the Cardinal line, which makes the same stops between Indianapolis and Chicago on the days the Hoosier State doesn’t run.

“We wanted to show that there’s improvement that’s possible,” Magliari said. “And there’s more improvement that’s possible. But there has to train to improve for it to be improved.”

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