Posts Tagged ‘South Shore double tracking’

South Shore Double Tracking on Schedule

February 1, 2023

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District was told this week that work remains on schedule on the double-tracking project on the South Shore Line in northwest Indiana.

The report said the project is expected to finish in about 16 months.

NICTD President Michael Noland said trains should resume operation between Michigan City and Dune Park this summer.

Laying of track is expected to be completed between Gary and Michigan City by November. South Shore personnel will then conduct testing of the line with the goal of starting revenue service in May 2024.

Nolan also said work on the 8-mile West Lake Corridor is 15 to 20 percent complete. That line will connect Dyer and intermediate stops with the South Shore mainline in Hammond.

During the meeting of the NICTD governing board, South Shore officials said ridership of the commuter service between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, remains less than half of pre-COVID 19 pandemic levels.

However, South Shore management expects ridership to soon reach 55 percent of what it was in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic began.

South Shore Receives Federal Loan for Track Project

December 24, 2022

The South Shore Line commuter railroad will receive a $27.5 million federal loan to be used to help fund its double tracking project in Northwest Indiana.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said the loan will come from its Build America Bureau.

The South Shore, which is overseen by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, is undertaking a $649 million project to install double track on a 26.6-mile segment between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The project includes installation of 18 miles of new track, eliminating street running in Michigan City, renovating five stations, eliminating 13 at-grade roadway/track crossings, and adding 1,475 parking spaces at stations.

A USDOT news release said the the remaining grade crossings will be upgraded with automatic warning devices including flashers, gates and bells.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2024. The South Shore provides commuter service between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. A separate company provides freight service on the route and is not part of NICTD.

NICTD  earlier received a $203.3 million loan to be used in the construction of the 8-mile West Lake Corridor Project to create a South Shore spur route from Hammond to Dyer, Indiana.

That loan was provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program.

South Shore’s Michigan City Double Track Project Expected to be Completed by Thanksgiving

October 26, 2022

The South Shore commuter railroad expects to complete its double tracking project in Michigan City, Indiana, by Thanksgiving.

During a meeting of the trustees of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, management said the double-tracking work in total is more than a third done.

Management also told the trustees the West Lake Corridor project is about 10 percent completed.

The latter involves building a new line between Hammond and Dyer on a former Monon Railroad right of way.

“It’s significant, the amount of investment that’s coming out of the ground on both projects,” NICTD President Michael Noland said. “Both projects remain on track to finish up and open up on time.”

The double tracking project is expected to finish in spring 2024 while the West Lake Corridor is projected to begin service in spring 2025.

To prepare for the West Lake Corridor inauguration, the South Shore is overhauling 32 rail cars. That work is about one-quarter complete.

NITCD also plans to lease 26 rail cars from Chicago commuter rail operator Metra.

Aside from work within Michigan City, work is underway on the double-tracking project between Michigan City and the Miller station in Gary.

Noland also reported management hopes to select an engineer next month to do engineering and environmental work for a move of the South Bend International Airport station from the east side of the airport terminal to the west side.

That project would eliminate 20 highway grade crossings and reduce the travel time between Chicago and South Bend.

Funding for the project, however, has not been secured beyond the preliminary engineering work.

South Shore Expands Bus Bridge Service

August 9, 2022

The South Shore Line changed its bus bridge operations on Aug. 6 as work continues to double track the commuter line between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

Bus service is now replacing train service between Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City and Gary Metro station.

South Shore trains continue to operate between Gary and downtown Chicago, and between Carroll Avenue and South Bend, Indiana.

Buses will make intermediate stops at Dune Park, Portage/Ogden Dunes, and Miller. Loop bus service will operate between the Beverly Shores and 11th Street stations.

The bus service in lieu of trains will continue through spring 2023.

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.