INDIANAPOLIS — Proposals have been made to extend an Indiana rail line into downtown Indianapolis, which at least one affected county said would be expensive and complicated.

Four proposals were submitted this week to the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority for expanded service along the Nickel Plate rail line, the Indianapolis Star ( ) reported. The 37-mile line runs through Marion and Hamilton counties.

Three of those proposals suggest running trains from Tipton to downtown Indianapolis. Those plans come from the Indianapolis Transportation Museum, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Railway Co. of Indianapolis, and the Hoosier Heritage Railroad Inc. of Fishers.

The fourth proposal, from Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad of Arcadia, seeks to run train operations from Noblesville to Tipton.

The port authority sought applications from potential operators of the rail after failing to reach an agreement with the transportation museum about track repairs and maintenance. The port authority ended its relationship with the museum last year, but allowed it to reapply. The museum had run its trains on the tracks for about 30 years.

The museum proposed investing $1.5 million over five years for track repairs and maintenance if it was awarded a long-term contract. Museum officials weren’t able to provide an estimated cost for the expanded service.

Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman said running tracks into downtown Indianapolis would be expensive and complicated. She said similar plans have been proposed before, and that a planning board study 10 years ago found the project too daunting.

The port authority will rank the bids by July 1, though there is no deadline for a final choice.

Information from: The Indianapolis Star,

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