Posts Tagged ‘South Shore commuter service’

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.

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.

South Shore to Realign Track in East Chicago

March 22, 2021

The South Shore Line has launched a project to realign the tracks at its East Chicago, Indiana, station in a bid to shave nearly two minutes off the running time between Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana.

The $2 million project also involved upgrading signals and computerized train control.

Most of the funding is coming from federal funds with other money coming from the South Shore’s annual capital improvement budget.

Officials said that during the work midday trains could be delayed for 10 to 15 minutes.

Trains are at present restricted to a top speed of 15 miles per hour at the East Chicago station.

South Shore Substitutes Buses for Trains

February 14, 2021

Buses are substituting for trains this weekend on parts of the South Shore Commuter line in Northern Indiana due to extreme cold weather.

The substitution is occurring between South Bend and the Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City, Indiana.

It is the second consecutive weekend that buses have replaced trains on that segment of the South Shore.

The substitution began on Saturday and was expected to continue through Sunday. The buses will not serve the Hudson Lake station.

Buses Replace Trains on South Shore Due to Weather

February 7, 2021

Severe winter weather has prompted the South Shore Line to substitute buses for trains between South Bend, Indiana, and the Michigan City Carroll Avenue station.

The bus substitution began Saturday night and was to last through at least Sunday and Monday due to forecasts of freezing rain, snow, and extreme low temperatures.

Service to the Hudson Lake station east of Michigan City is suspended while the bus substitution is in effect.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which oversees the South Shore, said it will evaluate weather conditions on Monday before determining if the bus substitution will continue into Tuesday.

South Shore Projects Timeline Shown

January 29, 2021

Construction contracts for the double-tracking project of the South Shore commuter rail line in Indiana are expected to be awarded this spring with work starting in mid-to-late summer.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District, which oversees the South Shore, recently awarded a $17 million construction management contract to WSP USA to oversee the project.

The $491 million project involves building a second mainline track between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

Also included in the project is construction of four new bridges and three high-level station platforms.

NICTD head Michael Noland said that construction should get underway this fall for the West Lake Corridor project, which will create a 7.8-mile extension of the South Shore from Hammond to Dyer, Indiana.

The NICTD Board recently approved a $1 million contract with A&K Railroad Materials for the acquisition of rail.

The West Lake Corridor project is projected to cost $944.9 million with service starting in late summer or early fall 2023.

Design Firm Named for South Shore Extension

January 15, 2021

The Dallas engineering firm Jacobs has been announced as the designer of record for the West Lake Commuter Rail Corridor project in Northwest Indiana.

The 8-mile line will be build by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District between Dyer and Hammond, connecting at the latter with the South Shore Commuter line between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.

F.H. Paschen and Ragmar Benson Joint Venture are overseeing the $935 million project, which has achieved full funding.

The line is expected to be completed in 2024 and include four new stations.

Once open the travel time between Munster/Dyer Main Street and Chicago will be 47 minutes.

Work to Begin Soon on South Shore Project

January 9, 2021

Construction on the double-track project of the South Shore Line is expected to begin soon now that the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has received a $173 million federal grant.

The project will add a 26.6-mile second mainline for South Shore trains between between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

Total cost of the project is expected to be $491 million. The work will include construction of a new station in Michigan City and ending the street running there.

“Reduced travel time and more frequent service options have been top priorities for those who rely on South Shore Line service,” said NICTD President Mike Noland in a statement.

NS Trail Derails in Gary, Indiana

December 26, 2020

No injuries were reported and no hazardous material was spilled in the derailment on Wednesday of Norfolk Southern train 12N in Gary, Indiana.

The derailment of 20 cars occurred at about 11:30 a.m. near milepost 490 and adjacent to the tracks of the South Shore commuter railroad.

The NS wreckage did not foul the South Shore tracks, but trains on that line were operating at reduced speed past the derailment site.

News reports indicated that some cars in the 132-car NS train had placards indicating they were carrying hazardous materials, but none of them spilled their contents.

The derailment occurred 84 cars deep into the consist. The train had originated in Chicago and was bound for Elkhart, Indiana.

The derailment blocked Amtrak service to Michigan with the westbound Wolverine Service train from Detroit (Pontiac) to Chicago being turned back at Michigan City.

Passengers on the affected trains were provided alternative transportation.