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Plans underway to bring Amtrak back to Louisville and Southern Indiana

A visual announcing Lousvilel on Track: Funding Successfully secured to begiin exploration of the Louisville-Indy-Chicago Amtrak Line.
Louisville Metro Government
Louisville could eventually connect to Chicago, via Indianapolis, if Amtrak service returns.

The Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency, known as KIPDA, has secured $500,000 to fund research into launching an Amtrak passenger rail line connecting Louisville, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Mayor Craig Greenberg announced Friday the grant will be the first step in bringing a passenger rail service back to the region. The grant will fund research into the viability of creating the 115-mile corridor between Louisville and Indianapolis.

The potential track would include new stops in the Indianapolis International Airport, Jeffersonville and Columbus. The Indiana Department of Transportation also received $500,000 through the grant to improve the existing line between Indianapolis and Chicago.

According to Amtrak, Louisville Metro is the fourth largest metropolitan area without Amtrak service after it discontinued in 2003.

“We are so excited to begin the process to potentially bring Amtrak back to Louisville, which would provide travelers new and efficient ways to get to and from Indianapolis, Chicago, and beyond,” said Greenberg. “We’ve heard from so many Louisvillians eager to take advantage of this service and we can’t wait to get to work on developing a plan to make it a reality.”

Clarksville Planning Director Neal Turpin said exploring the possibility of creating the rail line requires research into construction costs for new stations, ridership estimates, and safety upgrades for older train lines.

He said Clarksville has worked in partnership with Louisville Metro and KIPDA to secure the funding since 2021. He said he is excited for the tourism the new passenger rail service would bring to the region.

“People can take the train to Derby, they can take the train down to Thunder [Over Louisville], to see some state parks, and to do all kinds of stuff that Louisville and Southern Indiana have to offer,” he said.

Turpin said the Amtrak line would include a stop at the future regional conference center in Clarksville. He said this would also create new opportunities for the town, which is undergoing major redevelopment including a new downtown area and the planned 430-acre Origin Park.

“We're excited about how this is going to sit in and what it's going to do to really increase growth and make that a more viable and successful community,” Turpin said.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.