Signature Drive Seeks Amtrak's Return To Fort Wayne

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

April 11, 2011 Updated Apr 11, 2011 at 6:15 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A group crusading for high-speed rail in Fort Wayne is now making an appeal for a restoration of passenger rail service in the city.

Fort Wayne had its AMTRAK service taken away in the 1990’s, but a board member with the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association is asking the state Department of Transportation to bring it back.

It could be a first step toward the goal of securing high-speed rail.

Right now, if you want to catch a passenger train in this area, you need to go to Waterloo, about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne.

The local passenger rail association has been pushing for high-speed rail service, holding rallies in 2009 and 2010.

Monday, board member Geoff Paddock turned over 150 signatures at an INDOT open house, in support of regular passenger train service.

Paddock believes if this happens, Fort Wayne could see hundreds of new jobs created.

Geoff Paddock/N.E. Ind. Passenger Rail Association: " We think this is important, not only for ridership and what this could do to move passengers and folks across Indiana to Chicago, but also for economic development, because with passenger rail service, the stops along the way, come business, industry, economic development."

If normal passenger trains start running in Fort Wayne again, and people use the service, it could help advocates make the case for high-speed rail service to follow.

INDOT is seeking public input from across the state on a new 25-year transportation plan.

The agency hopes that plan will get approval sometime in July.

It’s unclear if funding support for passenger rail service in Fort Wayne will be included.

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