Located south of historic Union Station, a grand 1888 Romanesque Revival structure, the modern intermodal center is shared by Amtrak and intercity bus operators.
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2023): 18,466
- Facility Ownership: Consolidated City of Indianapolis
- Parking Lot Ownership: N/A
- Platform Ownership: Consolidated City of Indianapolis
- Track Ownership: Consolidated City of Indianapolis
The modern intermodal Indianapolis station sits to the south of the 1888 Indianapolis Union Station, under a 1979 concrete train shed which was moved as part of a rail relocation effort. The entrance opens onto the tunnel that South Illinois Street makes under the rail structure, its wooden benches on the terrazzo floor punctuated by painted steel pillars. The ceiling is made of uncovered painted girders. The platforms are accessed by stairs and an elevator. The station is shared with Greyhound.
The red brick Indianapolis Union Station at 39 Jackson Place replaced a smaller 1853 structure and was one of the first urban efforts to unite passenger and freight lines into a single, convenient downtown terminal. The headhouse, with its barrel-vaulted Main Waiting Room and its rose window, are among the best surviving examples of the Romanesque Revival style. Its skillful use of brick and granite in combination has been called “one of the finest large-scale public spaces in the city.” A larger concrete shed, built between 1919 and 1922, replaced the original iron train shed due to the increasing confusion of surface traffic in the area, and offered 12 through-passenger and two stub freight and express tracks; this shed survives today, sheltering the current Amtrak station.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the station suffered the same deferred maintenance and decline common across the nation’s rail structures, and had become an urban eyesore by 1979. In an effort at redevelopment, the actual station stop was moved and Woolen Molzan & Partners opened the Union Station as a festival marketplace, including a collection of restaurants and a model train store, as well as a Crowne Plaza hotel. While this festival mall failed with the development of the nearby Circle Center—a much larger mall—the Crowne Plaza has remained, and non-rail, non-retail offices take up much of the space now. The grand Main Waiting Room sits idle except for special events.
Indianapolis was founded as a site for the Indiana state capitol in 1820 by an act of the Indiana General Assembly. Very little settlement stood there prior to moving the capitol from Corydon on January 10, 1825. This site on the banks of the White River had been selected on the incorrect assumption that the river would provide an avenue for trade: the waterway proved too sandy to use for such. Upon moving the capitol, the state commissioned Alexander Ralston to design the new city. Ralston had been an apprentice to Pierre L’Enfant, whom he had assisted in planning Washington, D.C. His plan created the One-Mile-Square, with the Governor’s Circle at the center, the intended site of the Governor’s mansion. Today, the bronze Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, dedicated in 1902, stands where the Governor’s mansion stood for a short time, and the location has thereafter been called Monument Circle.
The city has been a transportation nexus since its inception. Through the mid 1800s, horse-drawn barges brought trade into the city, and its first railroad line, the Madison and Indianapolis, began operation on October 1, 1847. The automobile has had a greater impact on Indianapolis, however. In 1886, a huge natural gas deposit was discovered in east-central Indiana, the Trenton Field. The state of Indiana offered a free supply of natural gas to industries locating there, and this led to a sharp increase in industrial development, particularly glass and automobiles. Before Detroit, at the turn of the 20th century, there was Indianapolis: automobile manufacturers such as Duesenberg, Marmon, National, and Stutz located there. Roads led out from Indianapolis to Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and St. Louis, and it is still a major trucking center today. The internationally renowned auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) are a residual from that early automotive manufacturing era. Built in 1909, the 2.5 mile oval track is today the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, and regularly hosts the NASCAR Brickyard 400.
Rapid suburbanization in the 20th century, together with the same unrest that the rest of the nation knew in mid-century, led to urban decay in the downtown area. However, revitalization began in the 1990s, and has accelerated with the opening of the Circle Center. What was once a mainly industrial and governmental city has reinvented itself by diversifying its economy, contributing to the fields of education, health care and finance, along with a significant number of cultural events. The Indianapolis metropolitan area is today home to ten universities.
Indianapolis is also the home of many national organizations and events, ranging from the Bands of America, a nationwide organization of high school marching, concert, and jazz bands, to Gen Con, the largest role-playing game convention in North America—record attendance having been in excess of 30,000. The Kiwanis International, a business and service organization, has had its headquarters in Indianapolis since 1982. Indianapolis is the national headquarters for 26 college fraternities and sororities.
Indianapolis has also hosted the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball championships, the Professional Golfers Association Championships, and the World Gymnastics Championship.
- ATM not available
- No elevator
- No payphones
- No Quik-Trak kiosks
- No Restrooms
- Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
- No vending machines
- No WiFi
- Arrive at least minutes prior to departure
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- No bag storage
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- No payphones
- No accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- No accessible waiting room
- No accessible water fountain
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- No wheelchair lift