A feasibility study completed last year for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association concluded that around 2.1 million riders would use the route in 2020, with that number growing to more than 3 million in 2040.
One of the objectives of the MOA is to secure funding for an environmental impact study (EIS) to be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration. The EIS would examine preliminary engineering, technical analysis, service planning and environmental impacts along several routes in order to determine the preferred route for the service. This study could begin in late 2014 and would take 18 months to complete.
"This is a big step forward in the effort to bring passenger rail back to our community," says the mayor of Fort Wayne, Mr Tom Henry. "The Chicago - Fort Wayne - Columbus corridor will increase transportation alternatives and help boost economic development and tourism."
A service of up to 12 trains per day is envisaged, with an express service linking Chicago with Columbus in less than four hours.