Posts Tagged ‘South Shore double tracking’

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.

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.

NICTD OKs Contract for South Shore Track Work

November 26, 2021

A $304.8 million contract has been approved for the double tracking of the South Shore Line in Indiana.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District governing board approved the pact with a joint venture of the Walsh and Herzog constructions companies.

The project involves creating a second main track over 26.6 miles between Gary and Michigan City.

Once the work is completed, South Shore trains will no longer run in the street in Michigan City.

NITCD officials have said the running times to downtown Chicago will be reduced once the project is completed in 2024.

An earlier request for proposals for the project resulted in bids that came in far higher than agency officials had expected.

Consequently, NITCD’s board directed agency staff to rework the project to lower its cost.

This included breaking up the work into separate deals and buying raw materials needed so that the bidders would not have to factor the cost of those materials into their bids.

Some elements of the project were made optional and will depend on how much federal funding the agency is awarded.

During the time when the second track is being built, train service will be suspended on some South Shore segments and replaced by bus service.

NICTD Moves to Cut Costs of Track Project

July 29, 2021

The parent agency of the South Shore Line has taken a step toward lowering the cost of double tracking the commuter railroad between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has approved the purchase of materials for the project including $6.2 million in rail, $380,000 for diamond crossings, and more than $700,000 for Alstom signal equipment. Those purchases will remove potential price volatility for any contractor selected for the project.

The agency is still considering which components of the project can be labeled as optional if funding for them doesn’t materialize.

“I’m feeling confident between the actions we’re taking and the new funding available, we’ll be able to give a notice to proceed,” NICTD President Michael Noland said.

Last May NICTD rejected the only two bids it received for track construction because they far exceeded the $228.6 million budgeted for the project.

NICTD plans to put the track out for bid in the next few weeks.

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.

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.

FTA Awards Grant for South Shore Project

December 21, 2020

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has been awarded a $49.4 million federal grant to help pay to double track the South Shore Commuter line.

The grant came from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants program.

It was one of seven grants totaling $544.3 million that were awarded last week by the agency.

The CIG program provides funding for major transit infrastructure capital investments nationwide that help improve transit access.

The NICTD grant will be used on a project to install a second track for 26.6 miles between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The project is in the engineering phase of the CIG program.

Indiana City Eyes Property Acquisition for South Shore Double Tracking Project

December 15, 2020

The Michigan City (Indiana) city council may institute eminent domain proceedings to complete the land acquisition needed for the South Shore Line’s double track project.

The project will change the existing single-track street running of the South Shore in Michigan City.

The city is eying undertaking legal action to acquire two parcels of property that will be used to construct a station and parking garage.

The city attorney said legal action is likely to be needed because one property owner has set an asking price that is well beyond the assessed value of the property.

The other property owner has not responded to any inquiries about selling the property.

The project envisions creating two ballasted tracks on land adjacent to the current street running on 10th Street and closing 21 grade crossing.

Work will include adding 16.9 miles of second track between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

South Shore Track Project Gets Favorable Rating

February 13, 2020

The Federal Transit Administration has given a favorable rating to the South Shore Line plan to add double track in Indiana between Gary and Michigan City.

The project received a medium high ranking, which will allow it to move to the final engineering phase, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said.

NITCD officials are hoping that federal funds will pay for 38 percent of the project’s estimated $416 capital cost.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Double Track Northwest Indiana project has reached this critical milestone in the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program,” said NICTD President and CEO Michael Noland in a statement

Noland said the rating is “the FTA’s way of saying you’ve got a great project that we want to fund.”

The project involves 26 miles of a second mainline track, improvements at five stations, expansion of parking lots for over 1,300 new parking spaces and construction of nine new platforms.

It will particularly affect Michigan City, where the tracks will be separated from the roadway and 21 at-grade crossings will be closed.

NICTD expects that faster travel times east of Gary will lead to a doubling of existing South Shore Line ridership.