Posts Tagged ‘Michael Noland’

South Shore Rail Project Bids Come in Higher Than Expected

May 6, 2021

The South Shore commuter railroad may reject the bids it received for a double-track project after they came in higher than expected.

The railroad’s parent agency, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, could also elect to accept the lowest bid.

Rejecting all of the bids would be the first step toward attempting to achieve a lower price.

NICTD President Michael Noland the agency had expected four bids but received just two of $400 million and $425 million.

The budget for the double-tracking project between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana, has been estimated at $491 million.

In an unrelated development, NICTD approved two contracts: $16.7 million for a new 11th Street Station in Michigan City, and $4.1 million for a new Gary Miller station.

The existing 11th Street Station closed Saturday and service at 11th Street will not resume until the conclusion of the station project.

New South Bend South Shore Station on Hold

March 24, 2021

Efforts to build a new South Shore Line station in South Bend, Indiana, have stalled.

Michael Nolan, president of South Shore parent organization Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said the railroad’s current top priority is completing the double tracking project between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

NITCD also is overseeing construction of a line to Dyer, Indiana, which will link with the mainline between Chicago and South Bend.

Nolan said he hopes that in time one of two competing ideas for a new South Bend station will gain widespread support.

One proposal is to establish a station in downtown South Bend.

That concept has the city’s support but would cost between $112 million to $200 million and involve significant property acquisitions for a new right-of-way, relocation of the city’s Amtrak stop, and demolition of buildings at a public housing complex.

St. Joseph County favors a plan for a new station near the South Bend airport.

That proposal would cost at least $50 million and require the demolition of 40 homes.

It would also need approval of the Federal Aviation Administration because it would require construction of tracks and overhead catenary through a clear zone off one of the airport’s runways.

The advantage of that plan, though, is that it would eliminate a long, indirect looping route to reach the current airport station.

Quarantine Order Not Expected to Affect South Shore

October 16, 2020

The City of Chicago has added Indiana to its COVID-19 quarantine list, but rail commuter operator South Shore Line doesn’t expect that to affect its operations between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.

Michael Noland, president of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates the South Shore commuter trains, said its commuter schedule won’t change.

Although South Shore ridership has been down about 20 percent, Noland doesn’t expect ridership to be affected by the order.

 “Our riders . . . probably already fit into the exceptions that are contained in the Chicago travel ban,” Noland said.

The order requires travelers to quarantine for 14 days when entering the city, if they are coming from states where the rate of new COVID-19 cases is higher than 15 per 100,000 residents.

Indiana’s rate places it among 25 states on the quarantine list, but the order makes exception for essential workers, those requiring medical care, and several other reasons.

South Shore Operating Mask Optional Car

September 25, 2020

Faced with a significant number of passengers who refuse to wear face masks, Indiana-based commuter railroad South Shore Line has begun offering a mask optional car.

During the CVOID-19 pandemic, the South Shore has required passengers to wear face coverings but the railroad soon experienced difficulty enforcing the order.

South Shore President Michael Noland said that there wasn’t much the railroad could do in cases in which passengers refused to adhere to the policy.

Rather than have passengers arrested, Noland said the South Shore went to a mask optional car.

Noland said having a mask optional car has led to 100 percent compliance with mask wearing in other cars on trains.

South Shore Line Resumes Normal Schedules

June 10, 2020

The South Shore Line resumed normal service on Monday after operating reduced schedules since March 23.

The commuter carrier that operates between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, said it will continue to continue to seek to protect the health of passengers and employees by requiring passengers to wear masks on train cars and at stations, asking them to practice social distancing when possible, and encouraging them to use hand sanitizer stations in each car.

However, the South Shore said one car on each train will allow passengers to forgo wearing a mask if they so choose.

“We want everybody to be safe,” said Michael Noland, the South Shore Line’s president.

South Shore has also resumed its Bikes on Trains program with bike racks available in select cars on designated trains.

Noland said South Shore ridership dipped to a low of 5 percent of normal at the depth of the pandemic and of late has been averaging 10 percent of normal.

“It’s going to be lean for a while,” he said. “It’s not like turning on a light switch.”

Most passengers who have ridden during the pandemic have been health-care workers and people going to Chicago for medical appointments.