Posts Tagged ‘South Shore commuter service’

Loan to Help Finance West Lake Corridor

June 20, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation has provided a $203.3 million Rehabilitation and Improvement Program loan to help fund the West Lake Corridor Project in Northwest Indiana.

The agency is building an 8-mile extension of the South Shore Line from Hammond to Dyer, Indiana.

The loan will be used to pay for about a third of the the $852 million in eligible project costs. It was issued by USDOT’s Build America Bureau to the Indiana Finance Authority on behalf of South Shore parent agency the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The West Lake Corridor is being built on and along a former Monon Railroad right of way and is slated to open in 2025. It will have four new stations.

Other federal funding of the project includes a $354.6 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

South Shore Project to Begin June 1

May 26, 2022

Work is expected to get underway soon on construction of the West Lake Corridor commuter rail corridor in Northwest Indiana.

The eight-mile corridor will expand South Shore Line service from Hammond, Indiana, to Dyer, Indiana.

Michael Noland, president of the Northern Indiana Transportation Commuter District, told the agency’s board of directors that construction of the West Lake Corridor will begin June 1.

The $6.6 million project is expected to be completed within three years after construction begins.

As part of the project, workers will need to build bridges over the Grand Calumet River and various freight railroad lines in the region.

The corridor will have an intermediate station in Munster. The route uses right of way of the former Monon Railroad.

When completed, the South Shore trains will operate between Dyer and Chicago.

During the board meeting, Nolan also provided an update on the double tracking project of the main South Shore line between Michigan City and Gary.

He said work is on scheduled to be completed between Michigan City and Dune Park in Porter by the end of the year. The project will eliminate street running in Michigan City.

In the meantime, the South Shore is using buses to transport riders between the Michigan City Carroll Avenue station and Dune Park. Nolan said the bus bridge operation has carried 23,000 passengers since late February.

The next phase of the double-tracking project will involve the Dune Park-Gary segment where passengers there will rides buses as construction progresses.

The double track project is expected to be finished in 2024.

Glad I Got it When I Did

March 5, 2022

With the demise of the South Shore commuter trains on the Michigan City, Indiana, street running last weekend, I’m glad I have a few documented memories. These images were mde during a July 3, 1994, visit with Marty and Robert Surdyk. I know I have video footage also.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

South Shore Street Running 1969 Style

March 5, 2022

Running in the middle of 11th Street in Michigan City, Indiana, has been a hallmark of South Shore commuter train operations for decades.

But that has now ended. The last full day of revenue service commuter trains operating on 11th and 10th streets was Sunday, Feb. 27.

To be historically accurate, the last revenue run down those streets was Train 106 on Monday, Feb. 28 at 5:45 a.m. headed to Chicago. Two other trains preceded it in the pre-dawn hours.

But after No. 106 departed Michigan City’s Carroll Avenue station, buses took over ferrying passengers between there and the Dune Park station. Trains continue to run between South Bend and Carroll Avenue, and between Chicago and Dune Park.

Even before the final days of the street running, preparations were underway for the construction project that will transform the South Shore into a two-track operation between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

The trains will still run on 11th Street but parallel to the street not in it. Also, 11th Street will become one way.

The neighborhood will also change. Several houses have been purchased and are set to be razed to make room for the double track and the rebuilt street.

Chicago South Shore & South Bend freight trains will continue to operate in the street for now, but will do so at night. Also moving at night will be ferry non-revenue moves of South Shore passenger equipment from Dune Park to the shops near Carroll Avenue.

Back on March 30, 1969, though, no one could have imagined the end of street running in Michigan City.

Shown above is a South Shore train using equipment that has long since been replaced. Car 101 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in the early 1940s and modernized by 1950.

These cars were painted orange and replaced by Nippon Sharyo equipment starting in 1982.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Last Day of Scheduled Street Running

February 27, 2022

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, was the final day that scheduled South Shore Line commuter trains would be running down 11th Street in Michigan City, Indiana. The following day buses were to replace trains between the Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City and the Dune Park station. This arrangement will continue into the fall of 2022. In the meantime, workers will be laying double track and reconfiguring 11th Street. When the project is completed the street running will be gone.

Shown is an eastbound on Sunday afternoon. South Shore freight trains and South Shore Line ferry moves will continue to use these rails but only at night.

Michigan City Street Running End Draws Near

February 23, 2022

The near end of street running on 11th Street in Michigan City, Indiana, is set to unfold next week.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said that starting Feb. 28 buses would replace trains between South Shore Line stations at Carroll Avenue in Michigan City and Dune Park in Porter, Indiana.

South Shore freight service will continue operating in the street, but only at night. Also operating at night will be ferrying of South Shore equipment between Dune Park and Carrollton Avenue where the South Shore has its maintenance shop.

The bus-for-trains arrangement is expected to continue through fall 2022 and affects all scheduled trains seven days a week.

NICTD is undertaking a 25-mile $491 million double-tracking project between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

The project involves realigning tracks in Michigan City to eliminate street running. The double-tracking project is expected to be completed in 2024.

Officials have said double tracking will cut the running time between Chicago and Michigan City by 33 minutes.

South Shore Depot in Michigan City Razed

February 2, 2022

A Chicago-bound South Shore train passes the former Michigan City station on March 21, 2015.
An architect’s rendering of what the new Michigan City South Shore station will look

Workers in Michigan City, Indiana, recently razed the former South Shore commuter rail line station.

The demolition was part of the project to remove street running on 11th Street in downtown Michigan City. The project also involves adding a second mainline track between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

The MC station had been closed since 1987. It was built in 1927 and featured a terra cotta façade.

Officials at the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which oversees South Shore commuter operations, said the facade was saved and will be incorporated into a new Michigan City station that will be constructed on the site of the old depot.

The new station will have high-level boarding platforms and be a two-level structure.

The South Shore continued to stop at the 11th Street station until May 2021 with passengers using a bus shelter-type facility in an adjacent parking lot.

Land Transfer To Enable South Shore Track Project

January 8, 2022

A land transfer agreement completed in late December has enabled an Indiana commuter railroad to clear another hurdle in the South Shore double tracking project.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and Chicago, South Shore & South Bend completed a transaction with Northern Indiana Public Service Company that will enable double tracking of 17 miles of the South Shore between Gary and Michigan City to proceed.

In a news release, The CSS&SB said the double tracking will also boost its freight service.

NICTD oversees the South Shore Line commuter service between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, while the CSS&SB is a freight railroad owned by Anacostia Rail Holdings.

The $300 million double-tracking project is expected to be completed by April 2024.

Currently the line has eight miles of double-track between Gary and Michigan City.

Funding for the project is coming from a variety of federal, state and private funds.

In a news release, Anacostia  said trains face a congestion at Burns Harbor where CSS&SB and NICTD trains share a single-track main line.

The release said once double tracking is completed, freight switching will be conducted north of the main line.

“This will allow CSS&SB to use some of NIPSCO’s now idle Bailly Generation Station  property to foster business development in Northwest Indiana,” the news release said.

South Shore Resumes Educational Programs

June 23, 2021

The South Shore Commuter line has resumed providing onboard educational programs by the Midwest Rail Rangers.

The programs are offered two to three times per month on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Upcoming dates featuring the programs are July 1, and 25; Aug. 12, 21, and 29; and Sept. 2 and 19. Additional dates through November are listed at the Rail Rangers website.

Thursday programs are provided on eastbound train No. 7, departing Chicago’s Millennium Station at 8:45 a.m., with westbound programs on train No. 18, departing South Bend’s Airport station at 12:49 p.m.

On Saturdays and Sundays, eastbound programs are given on train No. 504, departing Chicago at 8:40 a.m., and westbound train No. 506, departing South Bend at 1:05 p.m.

The programs are offered in one car near the center of the train designated by yellow signs.

There is no additional cost to ticketed passengers to hear the programs and seating in the Rail Rangers car is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The programs are presented in partnership with the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District and Indiana Dunes State Park.

NICTD Seeks to Lower Track Project Cost

May 26, 2021

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will seek ways to lower the cost of adding a second main track between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The agency, which oversees the South Shore commuter rail service, recently rejected the two bids it received for the project after they came in higher than expected.

Those bids were in the $400 million range whereas NICTD had expected the project to cost $228 million.

South Shore President President Michael Noland said during a NICTD board meeting the original plan for the double tracking was “a giant miss.”

However, he expressed confidence the project scope can be revised and additional funding can be found.

Among the possible changes NICTD might make are using single station platforms rather than two, using existing storage tracks rather than adding new ones; and buying such materials as rail and ties ahead of time rather than having project contractors buy them as part of their work.