Posts Tagged ‘Michigan City train station’

South Shore Freights Detouring to Avoid Michigan City Street Construction Zone

March 17, 2022

Some freight trains of the Chicago South Shore & South Bend have been detouring via Canadian National to avoid the street running in Michigan City, Indiana, which is now a construction zone.

Railfan & Railroad magazine reported on its website that some South Shore freights have been detouring during daylight hours on a CN line between Chicago and Stillwell, Indiana, where it connects with the South Shore.

South Shore freights are allowed to use the street running during nighttime hours when construction is halted for the day.

The R&R report said detour moves have been made using South Shore’s own locomotives.

South Shore Line passengers are riding a bus bridge between Michigan City’s Carroll Avenue station and the Dune Park station.

South Shore commuter trains continue to operate between Chicago and Dune Park, and between Carroll Avenue and South Bend.

The bus bridge began Feb. 28 when a multimillion project got underway to double track the South Shore through Michigan City and end the street running on 11th and 10th streets that has existed since 1908.

The project involves construction of 26.6 miles of double track between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana, and the construction of a new station in downtown Michigan City on 11th Street.

Once completed, the station complex will be a four-story mixed use commercial and residential complex.

The previous South Shore station on 11th Street was razed on Jan. 31, but its terra cotta façade was saved and will be incorporated into the new facility.

The 11th Street station had opened in 1927 and closed in 1987. However, South Shore trains had continued to stop there until April 20, 2021, with passengers boarding in the middle of the street and the station being a bus shelter-type structure in a parking lot.

Memorial Day Weekend in Indiana: Part 2

June 19, 2018

Memorial Day would be a day of passenger trains during our holiday weekend trek to northern Indiana, at least for the morning and early afternoon hours.

It dawned much like Sunday had, sunny and warm.

Temperatures today would again top 90 degrees, but without a great deal of humidity. The sky was blue and not glazed over like you get on many a hot summer day.

After our free breakfast we were heading north on U.S. 421 toward Lake Michigan.

The Chicago South Shore & South Bend runs down the middle of 11th Street in downtown Michigan City. Its downtown station is about a half block east of U.S. 421 on 11th Street

As we approached, the first morning westbound went past on its way to Chicago. There will be plenty more.

The next train on our list was the morning Wolverine (Amtrak No. 350) to Detroit. We set up at the road crossing to the east of the turn bridge over Trail Creek and waited for it to show.

It was a couple of minutes behind schedule, which was not a problem because we had a little time before the next South Shore train.

We parked on 11th Street at the S curve by the church and waited. A few minutes later our quarry was heard approaching.

The S curve is a nice shot because of the uniqueness of the shot. Street running on a curve is not too common.

South Shore trains today were carrying seven to nine cars. They must have expected some large crowds this holiday.

The next move was another South Shore, this time westbound. It and a westbound Amtrak Wolverine were due about the same time. Would we get lucky and get both?

The South Shore showed up on time and made its station stop on 11th Street in front of the old passenger station.

As they departed, we quickly headed west hoping to catch Amtrak near the diamonds where the Amtrak Michigan Line crosses the South Shore.

We were too late. Amtrak was on time and rolled past. But, this meant the South Shore train had to stop for just long enough that we were able to get ahead on the other side of the diamond.

On the west side of the diamonds, they run down the center of 10th Street. This neighborhood is a lot rougher than on 11th Street, although not by much.

We set up a shot with only a few seconds to spare; the train was in my rear view mirror.

With that flurry out of the way, it was back to the Amtrak station to kill some time before the next Amtrak was due.

We passed the time watching boats leaving the small harbor that is located where Trail Creek hits the lake. A good number of sail boats were going out on the water today. It was a bit windy, so they should have good sailing.

The siren sounded on the swing bridge over Trail Creek that takes the Amtrak Line over that waterway. The bridge was closing; a train was getting close.

This move was for the Blue Water from Port Huron, Michigan. It doesn’t stop here, so it blasted past at track speed, about 40 mph I would say, not the 110 mph that Detroit-bound trains do once they get into Michigan.

I was surprised to see a locomotive on both ends of the train. They must not wye the train at Port. Huron anymore.

It was now approaching noon, so it was off to lunch at Jimmy John’s right across the street from the Super 8 where we stayed.

Back to trackside after lunch, we were again staking out the South Shore for one each way.

When we left the shot at the east end of the swing bridge earlier in the day, I thought it might be possible to shoot from the adjacent U.S. 12 bridge and get a broadside of an Amtrak on the swing bridge.

We parked near the road bridge and walked up on the sidewalk. From directly above the creek, you can get the entire Amtrak train in the photo.

An interesting scene, it would have been more interesting if we would have had some boats or kayaks in the water at train time.

Plenty of them were around before the Amtraker got there.

The Wolverine rolled by a few minutes later than we expected. The South Shore had an eastbound due in just a few minutes.

We headed south after shooting Amtrak and the South Shore train was pulling into the station. We turned down 9th Street and went down a couple of blocks and then swung down to 11th Street.

They whistled off just as I parked the Jeep. We had only seconds to get our shot lined up, but we got it.

We now had a decision to make. It would be several hours before any more passenger trains were due. So do we stay or start heading back, stopping somewhere along the way to catch more action?

Robert had been monitoring the progress, or lack thereof, of the Penn Central heritage unit all weekend.

It came through Cleveland about the time we left for Indiana, but seemed to disappear somewhere near Toledo.

It was on a loaded coal train heading from the former Monongahela to Wisconsin Electric Power.

It was finally on the move west again and had been spotted in South Bend just a few minutes ago.

If we headed south to Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line, we might get it. So we were off to see the train, using U.S. 35 to U.S. 20 out of Michigan City.

We were in Rolling Prairie in just a few minutes. We had our sights on the new elevator at New Carlisle. This elevator sets up well for photos of afternoon westbounds.

Just after passing over the tracks in Rolling Prairie, we heard the PC, on train 552, call the signal at MP 452.

We didn’t understand what indication he said he had, but the train was close. Rolling Prairie is at about MP 455.

I turned down the first road back to the tracks after hearing the radio transmission. We came up on a crossing that we had visited last Labor Day weekend.

The tracks are elevated about the rolling farmland, which is where the town of Rolling Prairie got its name.

The signal we could see to the west at MP 453 was all red. Something may have just gone by. Something did; it was westbound mixed freight 35E. The 552 with the PC had caught up to it and was stopped at MP 452.

As we stood and waited, we could hear locomotives rumbling to the east. The 552 was moving west at restricted speed.

We watched as the signal at MP 453 went from restricting to approach, to advance approach to clear by the time the 552 got to us.

Not bad; the PC was in perfect light at a neat location. But we’re greedy, so we went for two.

Back to U.S. 20 we went, retracing our steps to the overpass at Rolling Prairie. We lensed the train again, which by this time was back up to track speed.

Not to be out done, the 552 with the PC passed the 16G between MP 453 and Rolling Prairie; the 16G was lead by the Virginian H unit.

After our brief but successful chase, we finally made it to New Carlisle. Much to our chagrin, nothing else was moving west at this time.

We finally threw in the towel and began the long trek back home to Cleveland.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Tale of 2 Michigan City Railroad Stations

December 26, 2015

The former Michigan Central station in Michigan City, Indiana, sits next to a route that sees eight Amtrak trains a day.

The former Michigan Central station in Michigan City, Indiana, sits next to a route that sees eight Amtrak trains a day.

This is the about the extent of the Amtrak station in Michigan City. At least the parking is free and plentiful.

This is about the extent of the Amtrak station in Michigan City. At least the parking is free and plentiful.

Amtrak stations across America are a mixed bag. In some places, the station was built decades ago by a railroad that no longer exists.

In a few communities, the station is a modern multi-purpose facility created to serve trains, intercity buses and local transit operations.

And in some unfortunate towns the station is a glorified shelter that offers little protection from inclement weather.

It must amaze some Amtrak passengers that they have to wait in a bus-stop shelter when a train station sits nearby.

Such is the case in Michigan City, Indiana, where the Amtrak stop is right in front of a former Michigan Central station.

The latter was until recently a restaurant. There is still a sign for it and I even found a website for it.

Although eight Amtrak trains a day pass through Michigan City, only three of them stop there. Most people who want to travel to and from Chicago ride the South Shore Line, which offers a higher level of service than does Amtrak.

When I was in Michigan City earlier this year, the ex-MC station was vacant. The depot appeared to be in good condition.

It would make a nice multi-purpose facility serving Amtrak and buses. Rail passengers could continue to use the existing platform.

Will that happen? Probably not, but it would be a viable option. In the meantime, Amtrak passengers will continue to wait outside in the snow and the rain, the heat and the cold, and wonder why they can’t use the nearby train station.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders